Hypoglycemia – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Hypoglycemia, often called low blood sugar, occurs when your blood sugar drops below normal levels. Even with strict diabetes management, low blood sugar can occur on occasion. While most instances are fairly mild, the condition can be worse or get worse if not treated promptly.

The typical treatment is to eat some glucose rich food, candy or drink, helping the blood sugar level rise.


hypoglycemiaSymptoms include:

  • Shakiness
  • Sweating
  • Hunger
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Pale Skin color
  • Tingling Sensation Around the Mouth
  • Clumsy or Jerking Movement
  • Sudden Moodiness or Behavioral Swings
  • Seizure
  • Inattention or Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Weakness
  • Sleepiness
  • Difficulty speaking

Low blood sugar can have different symptoms if it occurs during sleep:

  • Nightmare or Crying Out
  • Damp pajamas or sheet from perspiration
  • Feeling tired, confused or irritable upon waking up

If left untreated, low blood sugar can get significantly worse, causing clumsiness, confusion or fainting. Severe cases can progress to seizures, coma or death. So, be aware of your body’s symptoms and treat accordingly.


There are a variety of low blood sugar causes.

  • Meals or Snacks that are skipped, delayed or too small
  • Excessive Physical Activity
  • Alcohol

Even if appropriate meals and exercise regimes are followed, certain medications or medication combinations can cause hypoglycemia. For example, the following medications typically do not cause the condition, but when taken with insulin or other medications that increase insulin production, low blood sugar can occur:

  • Acarbose (Precose)
  • Metformin (Glucophage)
  • Miglitol (Glyset)
  • Pioglitazone (Actos)
  • Rosiglitazone (Avandia)

In contrast, the following drugs or drug combinations are known to have low blood sugar as a side effect:

  • chlorpropamide (Diabinese)
  • glimepiride (Amaryl)
  • glipizide (Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL)
  • glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase, Microns
  • nateglinide (Starlix)
  • repaglinide (Prandin)
  • sitagliptin (Januvia)
  • tolazamide
  • tolbutamide
  • glipizide and metformin (Metaglip)
  • glyburide and metformin (Glucovance)
  • pioglitazone and glimepiride (Duetact)
  • rosiglitazone and glimepiride (Avandaryl)
  • sitagliptin and metformin (Janumet)


There are two main components to preventing the condition. The first is consulting with your health care team to determine the right diabetes management program for you, especially your physician and nutritionist. Consulting with your doctor is also important if you are taking any diabetes related medications. It is important to learn how the drugs work, how they can cause hypoglycemia and how to best take them to avoid this.

Second, strictly following your diabetes management program is critical. These include:

  • Proper Diet
  • Proper Exercise
  • Monitoring Blood Glucose Levels
  • Limiting or eliminating Alcohol


Despite all your best efforts, unfortunately low blood sugar may still occur. So, how do you treat it? For mild cases, the blood glucose level should be checked. If it is below 70 mg/dL, the easiest and quickest way to raise the level is to eat something with sugar in it:

  • 3-4 glucose tablets
  • Serving of glucose gel
  • 4 ounces of fruit juice
  • 8 ounces of milk
  • 5-6 pieces of hard candy
  • 4 ounces of regular soda (no diet soda!)
  • Tablespoon of sugar or honey

Please note that small children will have smaller portions. Please see the individual treating physician for recommendations.

Within 15 minutes, recheck the blood sugar level. If still below 70mg/dL, then try another serving of the items listed above. Repeat if necessary, until the level returns to normal (i.e., above 70 mg/dL). If the next meal is over an hour away, a quick snack should be eaten.

Severe hypoglycemia cases are treated a little different. The problem may be that the person is passed out. It is helpful to educate family, friends and work (or school if applicable) on how to help. If possible, a glucagon injection should be given. Additionally, a call to 911 is always safer than sorry. Hopefully, this does not occur, but consult your physician about any other or different course of action they recommend.


National Institute of Health, Publication 09-3926, Hypoglycemia, October 2008 (Accessed December 2008).
American Diabetes Association, diabetes.org, Hypoglycemia (Accessed December 2008).

What is the Liver’s Role and Blood Sugar Management?

liver's role in blood sugar control

liver's role in blood sugar controlThe link between the liver and blood sugar management actually has a lot to do with your mother. Did your mother ever tell you: “Don’t drink (alcohol) on an empty stomach.” While there may be a variety of reasons for this advice, your liver and how it processes glucose is a key part of it.

However, most people are not even aware that this link exists. Let’s take a look at how this works.

As you may know, we get our energy from food. The energy from the food is absorbed into the blood as glucose (blood sugar).

The glucose travels through the blood to the body’s individual cells and is converted to energy.

Sometimes we eat more food (energy) than we need, so the extra glucose is stored in muscle, the liver and fat as a substance called glycogen.

Between meals our blood glucose (sugar) drops and our body needs access to some of this stored energy. Glucogen, a hormone made in the pancreas, signals the liver to break down or convert some glycogen into glucose for the needed energy.
Liver and Blood Sugar Management

Pretty straight forward. However, one problem for diabetics is the effect of alcohol on this process.

Alcohol is treated by the body as a poison and seeks to rid itself of the alcohol as quickly as possible. The liver is responsible for cleansing alcohol from our system and prioritizes this function almost over all other functions, including the release of stored glucose into the blood.

Thus, diabetics can develop hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) because the liver is not releasing enough of the stored blood glucose.

So, what is the moral of the liver and blood glucose story?

Listen to your mother and “don’t drink alcohol on an empty stomach”. Better yet, maybe don’t drink alcohol at all? I’ll leave that between you and your mom.


National Institute of Health, nih.gov, Hypoglycemia, NIH Publication No. 093926 October 2008.
By Erich Schultz – Last Reviewed December 2012.

What is the Treatment for Hyperinsulinism?

hyperinsulinism treatment

The treatment for hyperinsulinism will vary based on the severity of the condition. Hyperinsulinism is when there is a large amount of insulin in the blood typically caused by excessive insulin secretion by the pancreas. It can also be caused by an excessive insulin dose. Hyperinsulinism usually results in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

However, extreme cases may result in insulin shock. The response to these conditions will vary from person to person and may also depend upon what medications you are taking, if any.


Symptoms can include hunger, shakiness, nervousness, sweating, headache, dizziness, confusion, weakness, and emotional instability. In severe cases, there may be unconsciousness, convulsions, coma, and even death.


hyperinsulinism treatmentThe normal hypoglycemia treatment is to check your blood glucose level. If the level is below 70 mg/dL, eating some glucose rich food or drink is appropriate. For example, adults would consume one of the following:

  • 4 ounces of fruit juice or regular soda
  • 8 ounces of milk
  • 5-6 pieces of hard candy
  • 1 tablespoon of honey or sugar
  • 3-4 glucose tablets

Check the blood glucose level again in 15 minutes. If still too low, consume another fix of the glucose rich food or drink. Repeat until glucose level returns to a normal level. If a meal is an hour or more away after the fixes have raised the glucose level, then a snack should be eaten.

If the hyperinsulinism results in insulin shock, you may even pass out. A shot of glucagon is often given to try and raise the glucose level.

The best treatment for hyperinsulinism is to be proactive and consult with your physician about the best response. Because the condition can result in unconsciousness, your doctor will often counsel you on how to work with your family, friends, employer and/or school to treat you if this occurs. Hypoglycemia can be preventable, learn how.


National Institute of Health, Publication 09-3926, Hypoglycemia, October 2008 (Accessed December 2008).
Online Medical Dictionary, Cancer Web UK
By Erich Schultz – Last Reviewed February 2012.

Achieving Normal Blood Sugar Levels

normal glucose levels

normal glucose levelsEveryone wants normal blood sugar levels. In fact, managing your blood sugar levels (also known as glucose levels) is the core focus of your diabetes self management plan. It doesn’t matter if you are focused on your diet, exercise, insulin or medications, all of these components are geared towards managing your sugar levels.

The tricky part about all of this, is that every person is different. You might need more exercise than me. Alternatively, I might respond to a low carb diet, while you may prefer a vegan diet.

This uniqueness is what keeps healthcare professionals from proclaiming a “one size fits all” treatment approach to diabetes.

But before we get to how to control blood glucose levels, we must determine what exactly are normal blood sugar levels? It’s not as easy as you think. Again, what might be normal for you, may not be right for others. Below, you will find some guidelines concerning what your normal fasting blood glucose level should be.

Balance your blood sugar naturally.

Glucose Testing

controlling glucoseInitially, you should understand that there are a number of ways to test blood sugar levels. Some tests can be done at home, while others need to be done at your doctor’s office. Depending upon which test you are taking will depend on what a “normal blood sugar level” is.

Normal Fasting Blood Glucose Test: This test is done at your doctor’s office or laboratory and is only accurate if you fast for a pre-set period of time before having your blood drawn.

A normal (non-diabetic) level is between 70 mg/dL and 100 mg/dL. The test is administered in the morning prior to eating, as the test requires a “fast” of at least 8 hours, otherwise the results will be skewed.

A blood glucose level above 126mg/dL is considered a diabetes diagnosis (subject to a confirmatory test).

A level between 101 mg/dL and 125 mg/dL is considered “pre-diabetes”.

If you have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association has established the following blood sugar target levels:

Before Meals (Preprandial) – Between 70 to 130 mg/dL

One – Two hours after the start of a meal (Postprandial) – Below 180 mg/dL

  • A1c Testing: This test is also widely utilized. The A1C test is a very accurate indicator of how well you are self managing your diabetes. The test is actually able to measure your glucose levels over a three month period of time. As of 2010, the ADA also began recommending the A1C test as a screening tool for diabetes diagnosis.
    At a minimum, the American Diabetes Association recommends that this test is done semi-annually, but it can be done quarterly or even more frequently if warranted. A result that is 6.5% or above is considered a diabetes diagnosis.
  • Home Glucose Testing: Good self management requires you to self monitor blood glucose levels daily, often multiple times a day. This is usually done at home with a personal glucose meter. Glucose meters have come a long way in the past several decades, but they are still not as accurate as testing by the doctor.
    We have an extensive number of worth checking out. Our reviews page also has links to articles occurring concerning meter accuracy concerns and even a section on how to get a free meter! Check it out for a wealth of information.

Highs, Lows and Complications

  • hyperglycemia small
    Hyperglycemia: Unfortunately, trying to maintain normal blood sugar levels can result in hitting extremes. Hyperglycemia is when your blood sugar is too high. This means your body is not processing the glucose properly and it is dangerously building up in your system.
    Fortunately, there are signs and symptoms that you can recognize when this occurs. But, you must be aware that they are occurring or you can pass out and be faced with a serious medical emergency.
  • Hypoglycemia: By comparison, this condition is when your glucose levels get too low. This can be caused by a variety of situations including too much exercise, too much medication, etc. Just like with hyperglycemia, there are a number of symptoms to be aware of to make sure you don’t develop a more serious medical problem.
  • Complications: The bottom line is that regardless of which test you use or what precautions you take, the objective is to normalize your blood sugar levels to avoid developing diabetes related complications. If you are curious about what the end game can be with poorly controlled glucose levels, take a look at this section of our site.

Diet and Exercise

  • Exercise: There are two cornerstones of controlling your glucose levels. One of them is making sure you get some exercise. Interestingly enough, some exercise are better than others. I take a look at some of the better choices such as yoga, weight lifting and even kettlebell training.
  • diabetes-diet-choices-100
    Diet Advice: Good nutrition is the other cornerstone. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know this. But, the problem with diabetes and choosing the right diet is that there is so may choices it’s hard to figure out what is the best solution. On this page, we take a look at the many different choices including choices offered by the ADA, commercial choices, such as NutriSystem and the South Beach Diet.
  • book-blood-sugar-solution-100
    The Blood Sugar Solution: From time to time, I review books by nutritional thought leaders. This is a great book on how what we eat leads to huge health problems, not just diabetes. However, I found its message very informative and the discussion on how to choose the right foods was very helpful.
  • vegan-diet-and-diabetes-100
    Whole Food Plant Based Diet: I wrote this article because I personally believe this is the best diet for people to follow regardless of their physical condition. The resources listed in this article are extensive and thought provoking. Please take a look at this style of eating and discuss with your doctor or nutritionist if you want to learn more.

Insulin and Your Glucose Levels

  • highest-blood-sugar-reading-100
    What is the Highest Blood Sugar Reading Recorded? Okay, this article is one of the most popular on the site. Would you believe we have well over 100 comments, and rising, regarding what peoples’ highest glucose reading are?
    While some of the consequences have been serious, this article will suck you in and won’t let you go until you have read at least a few of the experiences that are detailed here.
  • insulin-treatment-guide-100
    Insulin Guide is the hormone that helps transfer glucose (sugar) from the blood to the cells. When insulin is either not produced or there is a resistance to insulin, then a person’s blood sugar cannot be properly managed.
    This guide is your first stop for getting a quick overview of insulin, how it works and how it affects your diabetes health.
  • Scientific analysis
    How is Synthetic Insulin Made: If you are under 50, or even 60, you may not be aware that insulin shots used to be made with insulin derived from animals. I wasn’t until the 1970’s when scientists discovered how to make a more stable and effective insulin not derived from animals.
  • Boost - Blue Button
    How to Boost Your Body’s Insulin Production: Before researching this article I didn’t even know this was possible! While some of the tips or methods are somewhat obvious, others aren’t.
  • liver-100
    What is the Role of the Liver and Blood Sugar Management?: One of the things about diabetes is that habits that you previously never gave any thought to become more significant. This article looks at how your liver, and what you do to it, play an important part in your overall diabetes health. Absolutely a worthwhile couple of minutes to spend learning how you need to treat your liver better!
  • hyperinsulinism-100
    What Is The Treatment For Hyperinsulinism? Most people with diabetes worry about not having enough insulin, but from this article you should also be aware of the opposite situation: Too Much Insulin!

Medications To Help Achieve Normal Blood Sugar Levels

  • diabetes-medications-100
    Type 2 Medications: Ever wonder what all the different diabetes medications are? The chart in this article let’s you know what all of them, are, who makes them, and what the generic equivalent is. I also go into the details of how each category of medication works.

    Some of these medications assist with stimulating insulin production, increasing insulin sensitivity, lowering glucose output, and assisting with carbohydrate absorption. Wow! Until there is a cure, you are stuck with the medications, so take a look to see what all the choices are.

  • glyset-100
    Glyset: It’s All About Control: Here is a quick look at one particularly popular diabetes medication. Are you taking it? Should you be? Read the article and discuss with your doctor if you have any questions.

By Erich Schultz – Last Reviewed May 2013.

Glyset and Diabetes: It’s All About Control

glyset pill bottle

glyset pill bottleSo you have a problem with control. Controlling your blood sugar levels, that is. Glyset, from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, is a drug that may be helpful to you if your diabetes is non-insulin dependent.

Like others on the market, the medication delays the digestion of carbohydrates after meals. Essentially, you can avoid spikes in blood sugar after meals. The advantages of this mechanism are clear.

Over the short term, you can reduce the immediate possible danger of hyperglycemia. Over the long term, reducing blood sugar spikes can lower your chance of developing diabetes complications.

Despite the obvious advantages, this drug is not for everyone.

Who Should Avoid It

The warning label states that children and pregnant and nursing women should avoid the medication. There is no evidence a pregnant woman or her fetus can be harmed, but animal tests are inconclusive. Read: It is better to be safe than sorry.

The medication is found in breast milk, albeit in minute amounts. Nonetheless, nursing women, as well as children are cautioned against taking the medication.

Other people restricted from taking glyset include those with colon ulcers, bowl, intestinal or kidney disease or conditions. Alcohol should also be avoided when being treated with the drug.

Lastly, if you are taking sulfonylurea agents, it is recommended that you avoid the drug. Sulfonylurea agents also work to lower your blood sugar. While there is no evidence that the combination will lower your blood sugar to dangerous levels, it is recommended that they not be taken in conjunction with one another.

What This Drug is Not

Glyset is not a panacea. Even Pfizer strongly warns that it is not meant as a substitute for shoddy habits. You need to exercise and eat properly. Eating right includes making sure you eat the right foods and watch your portion size.

What are the Side Effects?

Initial side effects include stomach pain, gas, rash and diarrhea.

So, Who Should Take the Medication?

If you do not fall into one of the above danger zones, then it is worth talking with your doctor about whether the medication can help you control your blood sugar. The drug can help lower A1c levels and smooth out spikes in blood sugar after meals.

By Erich Schultz – Last Reviewed February 2012.

How to Boost Insulin Production

boost insulin production

boost insulin productionTrying to boost insulin production is a common concern for type 2 diabetics. As the diabetic pancreas begins to emit less insulin, researchers have worked on ways to increase this production. There has also been a push to discover if certain ancient natural or herbal remedies can assist in boosting insulin.

First, let’s take a look at current medications that have been found to help increase insulin production. There are two broad classifications called Sulfonylure and Maglitinide.

Both of these medications signal the pancreas to increase the insulin production. The difference is that they both go about this process in a different chemical manner.

Sulfonylure‘s are the most common diabetes medications that boost insulin production. Here are several generic examples of this medication classification with its brand name in parenthesis: Glimepiride (Amaryl®), Glipizide (Glucotrol®), Glyburide (Micronase®, PreTab®, Glynase®, Diabeta®).

Meglitinide‘s are the less common type. Here are several generic examples of meglitinide’s with their brand name equivalent in parentheses: Repaglinide (Prandin®), Nateglinide (Starlix®).

Obviously, you will want to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about possible side effects with these medications. Nonetheless, please be aware that they can be too effective! They can cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. If you are exercising hard, changing your diet, skip a meal, etc., please be on the look out for signs of hypoglycemia.

Natural Ways to Boost Insulin

Switching gears, lets take a look at some more natural ways to increase insulin.

Herbal or natural remedies that are said to increase insulin production, including American ginseng and Yoga.

Ginseng is an interesting herb. Studies have shown that it can be effective for helping increase both the secretion and production of insulin. The result is a lowering of blood sugar after consuming meals. Incorporating a little ginseng into your diet to help naturally lower your glucose levels and raise insulin production would be a great alternative to popping more pills.

I also find that the possibility of using yoga to stimulate the effectiveness of internal processes to be fascinating.

There are numerous studies that really offer some promising results for developing a regular yoga practice. The other good thing about yoga is that it is exercise, as opposed to just popping a pill. If it doesn’t work to increase your insulin production, it still offers the exercise benefit.

There are also some recent studies done by Japanese scientist using gene therapy to increase insulin production in mice. Further study is ongoing to see if these results can be replicated in humans.


American Ginseng Stimulates Insulin Production
Evid. Based Complement Alternative Med. 2006 September; 3(3): 365–372. (accessed March 2013)

By Erich Schultz – Last Reviewed March 2013.

What is Your A1C Test Telling You?

testing equipment

a1c Everyone talks about their A1c test results. Why? Well, monitoring blood glucose levels is the cornerstone of good diabetes management. While daily monitoring is both necessary and good, it does not necessarily provide an accurate measure of how successful you are in controlling your blood sugar.

The A1c blood test, sometimes called the bgb A1c or hemoglobin A1c, provides a more accurate measure of your blood sugar management over time.

How does it do that? The test measures your glucose levels over a three month period. Daily monitoring, on the other hand, only test your glucose level at that given moment in time. Let’s look at how the test works, then compare your results to our hemoglobin A1c chart to see how you are doing.

How the A1c Test Works

The test measures the amount of glycated hemoglobin in the blood. Glycated hemoglobin is a combination of hemoglobin (red blood cells) and sugar (glucose). Red blood cells live for approximately 3 months. Thus, the A1c test allows doctors to determine how much sugar has been in the body for the preceding 3 months by measuring the amount of glycated hemoglobin that is in the blood. This longer period helps doctors see the “big picture” of how you are doing.

The higher the percentage the worse your diabetes management is. The normal result for most diabetics is above 6 percent. A number below 6 percent, will generally correspond with a person who doesn’t have diabetes.

Most doctors have traditionally been comfortable if the result is below 7 percent. However, new research suggests that a result between 6 percent and 7 percent may be too high. Regardless, a result above 7 percent is a clear indication of poor diabetes management and that you are at a greater risk of developing diabetes complications.

UPDATE 2010 – A1C Test is New Diabetes Diagnosis Tool

At the beginning of 2010, the Americans Diabetes Association (ADA) decided that the A1c test is now appropriate for diagnosing diabetes. The new guidelines were issued in the Clinical Practice Recommendations for 2010. The hope is that more people will be diagnosed because the A1c does not require a fast before taking.

It is thought that many people avoid the other diagnostic tests because they require a fast. It is estimated that up to 25 percent of all diabetics are undiagnosed.

The guidelines state that people without diabetes will normally have a reading around 5 percent. People with pre-diabetes will have a reading between 5.7 and 6.4 percent. Lastly, a reading of 6.5 percent or higher will be diagnosed as having diabetes.

Hemoglobin A1c Chart

Human nature is such that we want to compare things. We want to compare our A1c results against our fellow diabetic. Alternatively, we are curious about how our A1c result compares to the results we see from our glucose meter. The following A1c chart, or hemoglobin A1c chart, provides a rough comparison between the two measures.

However, as stated above, keep in mind that each test measures two different things (short term versus long term results). Here is the chart:

A1C Level Plasma Level
12 345
11 310
10 275
9 240
8 205
7 170
6 135

Home A1C Blood Test Now Available


The Bayer A1C Now SelfCheck System is the first at home A1C test kit. Results can be found within 5 minutes with “lab accurate” readings.

This test is not inexpensive, however. The link here is for ONE test. If you purchase 10 tests at one time, you can reduce your per test cost significantly. Click here for the A1CNOW SELFCHECK 2 TEST 1EA CHEK DIAGNOSTICS (DIABETES).

There you have it. Hopefully, this will get you started understanding the A1c blood test and your A1c results and how well you are doing managing your diabetes.


ADA Clinical Practice Recommendations 2012 (Accessed January 2012)

National Institute of Health, Medline Plus, Medical Encyclopedia, HbA1c (accessed December 2008).

By Erich Schultz, Last Reviewed April 2013.

Hyperglycemia – Causes, Symptoms And Treatments

Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, occurs when the blood has too much sugar in it. This usually happens when there is too little or not enough insulin.

The condition typically occurs in type 1 diabetics, but can occur in type 2 as well such as when the insulin is not used properly. A blood glucose level over 180 mg/dL is considered too high.


hyperglycemiaThe condition can be caused in a variety of ways:

  • Inadequate Insulin Injection (type 1 diabetes)
  • Insulin Resistance – Meaning your body is not able to use your insulin well (type 2 diabetes)
  • Over eating
  • Under Exercising
  • Stress from Illness
  • Stress from Life (family, work, social)
  • Dawn Phenomenon – Occurs in the early morning, when your hormones can spike up

signs and symptoms

Often, someone will not know they have high blood sugar until they check. Other symptoms or signs include excessive thirst, fatigue, blurry vision, frequent urination and an upset stomach (if very high).

If the condition is not treated promptly, the sugar can build up, ultimately leading to a coma. This coma is known as diabetic ketoacidosis, requiring immediate emergency medical care.

Symptoms warning that ketoacidosis may be imminent are shortness of breath, fruity smelling breath, nausea, vomiting, and a very dry mouth.


Treating high blood sugar is very individualized and people should consult with their physician in advance to establish a game plan if the condition develops.

While rare, this condition can be quite serious. The American Diabetes Association recommends first checking your urine for ketones. The trigger for this check is if you have a blood glucose level above 240 mg/dL.

Ketones are a waste product of the body that is produced when there is not enough insulin. The presence of ketones could signify that you have ketoacidosis, a very serious condition that can lead to a coma and possibly death.

If you find ketones, you should contact your doctor. Ketoacidosis is most common in type 1 diabetics.

Assuming there are no ketones, some lifestyle changes are all that is needed to lower the sugar levels. Exercise is a great way to lower blood sugar. Lowering the amount of food you eat and/or making changes in your diet is also very beneficial. A dietician can be helpful in retooling your eating habits.

Exercise can help, but only if there are no ketones in the urine, otherwise it can do more harm.


American Diabetes Association, diabete.org, Hyperglycemia (Accessed February 2013).

National Institute of Health, nih.gov, When Your Blood Glucose is Too High or Too Low (Accessed December 2008).

The Blood Sugar Solution – Book Review

blood sugar solution book coverThe Blood Sugar Solution is the latest New York Times best selling book from Dr. Mark Hyman. This book is Mark’s fifth NYT bestseller. Curiously, I read a lot in the health and wellness area, but had not yet heard of Dr. Hyman.

After reading this book, I am blown away by the content and have begun to implement much of his advice into my daily routine. I have even bought several copies and given them to family members.

Why is the book so good? This is a great question because much of what he has to say about diet, exercise and nutritional supplements isn’t really new information. In one form or another, I have read a lot of it elsewhere.

However, Dr. Hyman does two things better than the vast majority of health gurus. Let’s get into the review and see that these two things are.


The above heading is Part 1 of the Blood Sugar Solution. The statistical tidbits that Dr. Hyman uses in this section are so powerful, they may make you angry. This is the first thing he does better than most diabetes authors (or any health and wellness author).

Dr. Hyman paints a grim picture of how we have come to the point where 10 percent of Americans have diabetes and this number is scheduled to rise to 30 percent within the decade. He also tackles the overweight or obesity problem (often but not always the precursor to developing diabetes). He coins the term “diabesity” to describe the rise in diabetes and increasing waistline of America and the world.

However, even more disturbingly in Part 1, Dr. Hyman goes on to describe the current corruption of the food industry and the government’s role in fostering and advancing this problem. Here are but just a few examples he provides:

  •  $13 billion a year spent on marketing junk food to children.
  • Annually, the average child watches 10,000 junk food commercials
  • 2010 Farm Bill spends $42 billion on subsidizing sugar and fat foods. Money spent on developing healthy food choices? $0
  • USA taxpayers spend $4 billion a year on soda for poor Americans through the USDA food stamp program


Once you are sufficiently horrified with the rise of diabetes and obesity, he then presents the 7 step solution to the problem. The Seven Steps are:

  • Step One: Boost Your Nutrition
  • Step Two: Regulate Your Hormones
  • Step Three: Reduce Inflammation
  • Step Four: Improve Your Digestion
  • Step Five: Maximize Detoxification
  • Step Six: Enhance Energy Metabolism
  • Step Seven: Soothe Your Mind

Each step is presented with an example of someone who benefited from implementing the solution he advocates and a healthy dose of data supporting his conclusions. The presentation of the steps was easy to follow and worth reading.


After reading extensively on the problem and solutions presented in the first two sections of the book, the rest of the Blood Sugar Solution was a little more difficult to follow.

Part III discusses the need for developing a community-based approach to implementing better health. I did not find this section particularly helpful. I understand that if people work together, then they can often accomplish more than an individual. However, this just doesn’t seem feasible for most people.

Part IV
discusses his 6 Week Action Plan to starting his health transformation. This section goes into even more detail of the seen steps outlined above. Quite frankly, Part II and Part IV should have been combined.
The problem is that Part II is a lot of theory and Part IV is part theory and part implementation. Unfortunately, the implementation components are still not a clear road map of what to do. He almost lost me in this section, because implementation was little difficult to follow.

However, then comes Chapter 26. Chapter 26 is where you get weekly checklists for what to do, step-by-step, day-by-day. These checklists are EXCELLENT. Now, you can use the checklist to implement the information previously provided.


While the book gets a little bogged down in the middle, I think that the information is excellent if you persevere through to the end. I have already noticed a difference in my energy levels and overall feeling of well being just by implementing a few of the suggestions made in the book, and I am just getting started. Do yourself a favor and get the book.

What Is the Highest Blood Sugar Reading Recorded?

highest blood sugar readingIf only we could open the Guinness Book of World Records and get the answer to “What is the highest blood sugar reading recorded?” The true answer probably comes down to two answers. First, we probably will never know. No one really seems to keep track of this kind of stuff, except for unconfirmed reports on various internet bulletin boards.

Some boards have people claiming to have 2000 or even higher. (BUT, leave your highest treading below in the comments to compare!) I am not sure you would even be alive if they were that high! Nonetheless, most blood glucose meters stop reading at 600 mg/L, so this tends to be the outer fringe of home tested high glucose levels.

Second, the answer depends on the test. There are two tests that are typically done. It should also be noted that each individual will have a different “normal” level. What is a high reading for one person may be normal for another. Only your doctor can really tell you what is the “right” number for you.

warning-signBut first, let’s see what different blood sugar readings mean and how they are tested. One test is the A1C and it is done at your doctor’s office. This test measures a person’s blood glucose levels for the last three months. A good reading is 6 or below, an acceptable reading is 7 or below, while a poor reading (a must get help reading!) is anything above 7. A detailed description of the A1C test can be found here.

The second test is self testing. This is often done by the individual multiple times per day using a blood glucose monitor. The monitors measure either the plasma or whole blood levels. The following are the recommend readings for each test:

Recommended Plasma Test Results

Before Meals90-130
1-2 Hours After a MealLess than 180

Recommended Whole Blood Test Results

Before Meals80-120
1-2 Hours After a MealLess than 170

A rough comparison chart for A1C versus Plasma readings is below:
11 310
10 275
8 205