5 ways to lower your blood sugar levels

High blood sugar levels are harmful in many ways. Learn why.

Young diabetic woman doing a finger prick to check her blood sugar levels

Updated on May 9, 2024.

Diabetes a lasting health condition that affects how your body uses food for energy.  

The food you eat is broken down by the body. Some of this food is turned into sugar. Sugar is also known as glucose. This sugar enters your blood. The body moves it from the blood into cells where it can be used as energy. Diabetes occurs when too much sugar builds up in the blood. It has trouble getting into cells.  

Why does this happen? This happens because your body is not using a chemical called insulin properly. Insulin is made by one of the organs in the body called the pancreas. Insulin is what carries sugar from the blood into the body’s cells. 

If your body isn’t producing enough insulin or isn’t using it properly, the amount of sugar in your blood will increase. This can cause damage throughout your body.  

Untreated diabetes can lead to many serious health problems over time, including: 

  • Heart disease 
  • Kidney problems 
  • Loss of vision 
  • Loss of hearing 
  • Damage to your nerves. Your hands or feet may tingle or feel numb. This can also cause you to digest your food more slowly. It could also cause your digestion to stop. 
  • Skin infections 
  • Dry and itchy skin 
  • Problems with your teeth or gums 
  • Problems having sex 

How can you lower your blood sugar levels? 
There are several ways you can reduce the amount of sugar in your blood, including: 

  1. Making some changes to what you eat and when. Some things that can help:  

  • Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, like chicken and fish. 
  • Eating less salt, sugar, red meat, and other unhealthy fats like butter.  
  • Eating your meals around the same time each day. 
  1. Try to be more active each day. Exercise can lower your blood sugar level for up to one day. 

  1. Lose extra weight. Being overweight can make your body less able to use insulin. But losing even a few extra pounds can help. 

  2. Take medication. Your healthcare provider (HCP) may tell you take medicine to control your blood sugar levels. It is important to always take your medicine exactly as your HCP tells you to.  

  3. Check your blood sugar level regularly. Your HCP may also tell you to check your blood sugar levels each day. Your HCP can tell you how to do this and how often to check. 

Article sources open article sources

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Insulin Resistance & Prediabetes. Last Reviewed May 2018.
American Diabetes Association. Life doesn’t end with type 2 diabetes, Skin Complications, Peripheral Neuropathy, Foot Complications, Complications.
Joslin Diabetes. Diabetes Learning Center.
Mayo Clinic. Diabetic Neuropathy. March 3, 2020.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Candidiasis. Page last reviewed: October 30, 2020.
J Casqueiro, J Casqueiro, & C Alves. Infections in patients with diabetes mellitus: A review of pathogenesis. Indian journal of endocrinology and metabolism. 16 Suppl 1(Suppl1), S27–S36. 2012.

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