Your blood sugar level is in constant flux, depending on what you've eaten, when you ate it, and what you did afterwards. A finger-prick blood test can ascertain your level at any moment in the day, but the symptoms below are also indicators of a blood sugar imbalance.
1. Constant Tiredness
Feeling exhausted despite getting regular, quality sleep is one of the most common symptoms of unbalanced blood sugar, especially if you feel more so, soon after eating. When your body isn’t processing insulin (the hormone that enables us to use glucose for energy) properly, or it doesn’t have sufficient amounts of insulin, sugar stays in your blood rather than getting into cells to be used for energy.
2. Blurry Vision
High blood sugar levels can lead to swollen lenses in your eye due to fluid leaking in, changing the shape of the lens and making it tricky to focus properly. This symptom is often paired with frequent headaches and migraines.
3. Unusual Thirstiness
A more subtle sign of high blood sugar is feeling insatiably thirst and needing to drink more than most others. Excess sugar in the blood can also cause frequent urination – if your kidneys can’t keep up with the amount of glucose they need to process, excess sugar is excreted in your urine.
4. Difficulty Sleeping
Fluctuating blood sugar levels can wreak havoc on the body and make it tricky to fall asleep. And if you do fall asleep but tend to wake up around 3am, then this could be an indicator of a dip in blood sugar – nightmares or other nightly issues, such as sleepwalking could also be pointing to this.
5. Weight In Your Midsection
Insulin resistance is a common cause of weight gain in the stomach area. An increase in insulin levels, due to the inability to process carbohydrates, can lead to the creation of excess fat. Worth noting if your waist is equal to, or larger than your hips.
6. Craving Carbs And Sweets
The odd sweet treat is part of a balanced diet, but a constant hankering for sugar isn’t normal – the body craves it in response to a drop in glucose levels, which can be an early warning sign of type 2 diabetes.
7. You're Prone To Getting Hangry
If your diet is high in refined carbs, you’ll likely be hangry quicker than someone with balanced blood sugar. When blood glucose levels crash a few hours after a sugar-laden meal, a cascade of stress hormones start to rush around the body, leaving you irritable, cranky, anxious, even jittery or sweaty in some extreme cases.
Insulin resistance and fluctuating blood sugar levels can seriously affect your mood. Not only do they cause irritability, they can also trigger symptoms of anxiety and depression longer term.
What can you do about it?
Food. Diet-wise, pack in the protein, avoid high sugar fruits like bananas and grapes, and don’t forget the healthy fats to buffer sugar spikes.
Sleep. Try getting more sleep, aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night and adopt stress-busting habits such as exercise, meditation or yoga.
Exercise regularly. Your muscles need blood glucose for fuel, which means that when you hit the gym, you’re helping to move blood sugar from the bloodstream into your muscles, where it’s burned up.
One step Wonder. Countless studies have suggested cinnamon lowers blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity or making insulin more efficient at moving glucose into cells. Try sprinkling on porridge or into low-sugar smoothies.
If you strongly suspect your blood sugar levels are off, it's best to see a doctor, who can help you get to the root of the problem.