Causes of High Blood Glucose Levels in the Morning
Glucose level refers to the amount of glucose found in a person’s blood. The bloodstream is the means of transportation of glucose to the cells around a person’s body where it is the primary source of energy. Normal blood sugar levels are at about 90mg/100ml. Assuming that an average adult has a blood volume of about 5 liters, the total amount of glucose circulating in the blood would be about 3.3 to 7 grams. The exact amount actually fluctuates in the course of the day, with lower blood glucose in the morning before breakfast, and temporarily rising by a few grams for an hour or two after meals. Eating a diet of foods rich in sugar definitely causes of high blood sugar but it can also occur naturally when a person’s body has a difficulty in producing insulin or is resistant to the effects of insulin.
There are two causes of high blood sugar in the morning – the dawn effect and the Somogyi effect or chronic Somogyi rebound.
The dawn effect describes the rising of the body’s blood sugar levels in the morning due to body changes happening during sleep that causes insulin levels to drop. It may also be caused by the release of growth hormones, which usually happens early in the morning. A person’s blood sugar level is naturally controlled by insulin but for people suffering from diabetes glucose levels are consciously managed by taking insulin, diabetes medication, and following a strict meal plan. Not following this would lead to the high blood sugar in the morning known as the Somogyi effect. For example, if one took insulin too early in the evening or did not have enough to eat in the evening prior to bedtime, blood sugar may drop in the middle of the night triggering the body to release hormones that raise sugar levels. This low blood glucose level occurring in a diabetic is called hypoglycemia. Taking insufficient dosage of insulin at bedtime will also lead to high blood sugar in the morning.
To be able to differentiate which of the two causes of high blood sugar is the culprit, the doctor will require blood glucose monitoring for several nights between two and three in the morning. If blood sugar is normal or high during this time, the dawn phenomenon is the cause of morning high glucose levels. If blood sugar is low during this period, the Somogyi effect is the culprit. In order to better control blood sugar levels, the following measures are to be taken by the patient:
– Frequently monitoring one’s blood glucose levels
– Changing the type of insulin taken in the evening (long-acting or short-acting)
– Taking extra insulin in the evening
– Increasing the dosage of insulin in the morning
– Using an insulin pump programmed to release insulin in the required dosages at the appropriate times
– Eating a lighter breakfast
– Following one’s diet strictly throughout the day
– Adjusting one’s medication in the event that food not included in the diet were eaten
– Getting enough exercise