... As most people know, blood sugar levels rise after eating. In imperfectly controlled diabetes, the blood sugar levels often rise higher and longer than in people without diabetes, or than in patients with well-controlled diabetes. For example, normal people without diabetes might peak at 140 mg/dL about 60 minutes after a meal, whereas someone with moderately-well controlled diabetes might peak at 200 mg/dL about 90 minutes after a meal. This is because the beta cells of the pancreas are unable to provide enough insulin to keep the blood sugar levels in the normal range.
When people with diabetes find their blood sugar level to be unexpectedly high, they might call it a "spike". This typically happens after eating a rich meal or a sequence of rich meals. by rich I mean high in starch and/or sugar plus animal fat. The starch/sugar raise the blood sugar, and the fat helps keep the sugar levels high by blocking the insulin from working efficiently. Pizza, ice cream, pasta with butter, etc.
Note that the timing of the blood sugar testing will have much to do with one's perception of whether the blood sugar has "spiked".
In my view, a "spike" is just a snapshot view of a chronic problem. The realy problem is not the "spike"--it is a reminder that eating right and exercise are a daily priority, and spikes will be common whenever these priorities are not addressed.
Use the A1c level to make decisions (with your health care providers) about diabetes management because it reflects the overall glucose control. The frequency or peak of glucose spikes can add supplemental information, but I do not believe that lifestyle goals and habits should be based on treating individual spikes.
To use an analogy--some might say the best way to invest in the stock market is not to react to spikes in the price of a certain stock but to make decisions based on long-term trends and a the big picture. See the forest without getting too distracted by individual trees.
This answer should not be considered medical advice...This answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.
Thanks for your feedback.
457 of 736 found this helpful