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How To Reduce Blood Sugar Levels Immediately (In Case Of Emergency)

HealthcareOnTime Team 2024-06-05 2024-06-06 3 Min Read
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    If you or someone you know has diabetes, it's crucial to understand how to manage blood sugar levels effectively, especially in urgent situations. To lower your blood sugar quickly during an emergency at home, take an injection of rapid-acting insulin. 

    Apart from this, there's a lot that you can do to reduce your blood sugar levels. We'll explore that in detail in this article.

    Do You Know?

    • In 2019, approximately 77 million people in India were found to have diabetes. The most alarming fact is that these numbers are expected to increase by more than 134 million before 2045.
    • Among these (77 million diabetics), almost 57% of cases remain undiagnosed because of a lack of awareness. 
    • Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in India and a leading cause of diabetes-related complications.1

    How To Lower Blood Sugar Quickly Immediately At Home

    Wondering about what to do when blood sugar is high? Well, Taking fast-acting insulin, doing vigorous exercise, and drinking plenty of water are among the quickest ways to lower blood sugar during an emergency at home. 

    Apart from these, stress management techniques and quality sleep are also great for reducing blood sugar levels. While these might not help to decrease sugar levels immediately, they are best for the long-term management of diabetes. 

    Below, we have mentioned in detail how these methods work excellently well in controlling sugar levels immediately

    1. Take Fast-Acting Insulin 

    The best way to lower blood sugar quickly in an emergency at home is to take rapid-acting insulin. A rapid-acting insulin is also called fast-acting insulin. 

    The main reason why it is considered the best method to decrease sugar levels immediately is that it starts showing its effect in less than 30 minutes. 

    The key features of fast-acting insulin include the following:

    • It starts working within 2.5 to 20 minutes after injection. 2
    • It reaches its peak effectiveness between 1 and 3 hours and continues to work for up to 5 hours after injection.

    During an emergency, fast-acting insulin should only be taken after having a meal to lower blood sugar quickly at home. So, you must eat something either immediately after taking the insulin or within a few minutes of it to get sugar out of your system immediately. 3

    However, it is important to note that there are many varieties of insulin available. Each of these varieties has a different duration of stay and a different way of functioning in your body. 

    All in all, the time for which the insulin produces its positive effects, as well as the time after which you need to reinject it, is different according to the particular insulin type. 

    Here is an example–

    • Rapid-acting insulin controls high sugar levels immediately, but the effects are only visible for a few hours. 
    • On the other hand, ultra-long-acting insulin is another type that takes almost 6 hours to start producing results. However, in this case, the blood sugar levels remain controlled for almost 36 hours or even more. 4

    2. Keep Your Body Physically Active 

    Regardless of whether you are a diabetic or not, regular exercising is always one of the best lifestyle tips for leading a healthy life. 

    But how does exercising lower blood sugar quickly during an emergency at home? It's simple. When you exercise, your insulin sensitivity increases. This means that your body's cells become more capable of absorbing and using glucose to make energy. When this happens, blood sugar levels immediately decrease for a short duration. 

    In the long run, daily physical activity can help to bring down blood glucose levels, which can be seen in a person's glycosylated haemoglobin test results. Also called the A1C test, for people who are diabetic or at risk of diabetes, a low score on this test means that your blood sugar levels are under control.

    That is why exercising is a highly beneficial activity that you must do when your blood sugar is high. The best time to exercise is after at least 1 hour of having your last meal. One major benefit of regularly exercising is that it can keep your blood sugar levels reduced for as much as 24 hours. 

    At the same time, if somebody has already taken insulin, then they might experience low blood sugar levels after about 6 to 12 hours of exercise. Therefore, it is best to take the advice of your physician before undertaking any vigorous exercise if you are diabetic.

    3. Drink Enough Water 

    Proper hydration is important for people of all ages, regardless of whether they have low blood sugar or not. 

    When your body does not have as much water as it requires to function properly, you become dehydrated. In a state of dehydration, blood sugar levels become high. That is why more fluid intake helps to reduce blood sugar levels immediately. 

    Drinking more water, therefore, is one of the easiest ways to lower blood sugar quickly during an emergency at home. 

    While you can keep your body hydrated by drinking any kind of fluid, such as sodas and fruit juices, water works best when you're trying to control blood sugar levels. 

    4. Manage Your Stress Levels 

    Stress is directly responsible for causing high blood sugar levels. This is because when a person is undergoing any kind of physical disturbance or tension, certain hormones are released. These hormones cause problems with the normal functioning of insulin. As a result, chronic stress, whether it is due to a physical illness or emotional turbulence, leads to high blood sugar. 5

    Here are some ways in which you can reduce blood sugar levels when you are stressed:

    • Get regular physical activity
    • Keep track of your blood sugar levels by taking an online blood test at home
    • Do not skip your meals and take a balanced diet
    • Drink enough water
    • Have enough sleep

    5. Get Quality Sleep 

    Your lifestyle habits have a great influence on your blood sugar levels.  

    Having a balanced diet and managing your weight are two of the most important steps you can take to control high sugar levels. 

    In addition to these factors, your sleeping habits significantly impact how your body's cells process and use insulin.

    Adequate sleep is crucial, as it helps maintain insulin sensitivity and reduces the risk of diabetes. You should get at least 6 hours of sleep daily to control your blood sugar levels. Quality sleep also helps prevent the risk of complications associated with diabetes. 

    At the same time, sleeping too much (more than 9 hours) every night might raise a person's chances of developing diabetes. Henceforth, while getting enough sleep is essential to control your sugar levels, too much of it can be harmful. 6

    6. Try Herbal Extracts 

    Herbal supplements might not be the best method to lower blood sugar quickly during an emergency at home. Still, they can help to decrease blood sugar levels to some extent.

    Some herbal supplements which might help you control your blood sugar levels include 7:

    • Turmeric (Haldi)
    • Cinnamon (Dalchini)
    • Fenugreek (Methi)
    • Bitter Melon (Karela)
    • Ashwagandha
    • Ginseng
    • Certain Teas

    However, these supplements might react oppositely to the medicines you're already taking. Hence, you must talk to your doctor before adding any herbal supplements to your routine. 

    What Foods Lower Blood Sugar Immediately? 

    Even though most people believe since diabetes is hereditary, there's not much they can do about it. In reality, that's far from true. The best starting step could be your diet, which has a strong impact on your blood sugar.

    Choosing the right kind of food items is, therefore, one of the most crucial steps towards controlling your sugar levels. Below, we have mentioned some food-related changes that can help you reduce your blood sugar level immediately as well as in the long run. 

    1. Low Carbohydrate Diet 

    Not all foods affect blood sugar equally. While your body can break down various foods for sugar, carbohydrates have the most significant impact on raising blood sugar levels. That is why you must choose the right kind of carbohydrates to control your blood sugar levels. 

    Carbohydrates are broken down into two categories:

    • Sugars (Simple Carbohydrates): Simple carbohydrates have only one sugar type that can easily be broken down by your body. As a result, the sugar gets rapidly absorbed, leading to an instant high blood sugar. 
    • Starches (Complex Carbohydrates): Complex carbohydrates contain 3 or more sugar types. Since these are complex sugars, they take some time to break down and get absorbed into your bloodstream. Therefore, when you eat foods that contain complex carbohydrates (starches), your blood sugar does not rise suddenly and immediately. 

    So, here is a list of high-carb food items that you must avoid to reduce blood sugar level immediately:

    • White Rice
    • Bread
    • Sugary Drinks
    • Soda
    • Juices
    • Sports Drinks
    • Coffee
    • Fried Foods
    • Honey
    • Maple Syrup
    • Highly Processed Foods
    • Baked Goods

    2. Low Glycemic Index Diet

    A glycemic index, or GI, is a parameter that ranks different types of foods based on how quickly they can increase blood sugar. 

    Henceforth, a low glycemic index diet requires monitoring the amount of sugar consumed daily. 

    You can do this by keeping track of what types of food and beverages you consume regularly. A score that does not exceed the 55 mark on the glycemic index is considered to be a positive sign for controlling blood sugar levels. 

    Below is a list of glycemic fruits to eat and avoid by diabetic patients

    Glycemic fruits to eat:

    • Cherries
    • Grapefruit
    • Apricots
    • Pears
    • Apples
    • Oranges
    • Plums
    • Strawberries
    • Peaches
    • Grapes 8

    Glycemic fruits to avoid:

    • Dried Fruits (the ones that have added sugars)
    • Watermelon
    • Lychee
    • Pineapple
    • Pawpaw
    • Rockmelon
    • Canned Fruits with Added Sugars

    Other food items that can help to decrease your sugar level (according to the low GI diet) include— 

    • Shakarkandi (Sweet potatoes)
    • Dals and Pulses (Legumes)
    • Toned Milk (Low-fat milk)
    • Leafy green vegetables
    • Vegetables that don't contain starch
    • Dry fruits (Nuts) and seeds
    • Meat and fish
    • Quinoa 

    3. High Fibre Foods

    Fibre is the third type of carbohydrate that does not lead to high blood sugar. That is why food items that are rich in fibre are also a great way to reduce blood sugar quickly. 

    One classic example of such food items is whole grains 9. Research has shown that people who consume more whole grains are at a lower risk of prediabetes, especially type 2 diabetes. 

    A balanced way to consume whole grains is to eat them with other nutritious companions such as:

    • Fruits
    • Vegetables
    • Proteins

    Other products that contain plenty of whole grains include:

    • Brown rice 
    • Pasta (made of whole wheat)
    • Oatmeal
    • Cereals (whole grain)
    • Whole grain breads 
    • Whole grain crackers
    • Quinoa 

    High Blood Sugar Chart: When to Take Actions Immediately 

    Common low blood sugar symptoms include sweating, extreme hunger, a faster heart rate, confusion, a lack of focus, and dizziness. 10 

    On the other hand, if the blood sugar is high, it gives rise to symptoms like frequent urination, increased thirst, blurred vision, increased tiredness, and bodily weakness. 11

    In the table below, we have listed dangerously high blood sugar levels, their symptoms, and what to do when it happens to reduce sugar levels immediately. 

    Blood Sugar Level


    Actions to Take

    200 mg/dL or higher

    Being very thirsty

    Being very tired

    Having blurry vision

    Having to urinate often

    Check blood glucose every 4 hours

    Drink water or sugar-free liquids

    Consider taking an extra dose of insulin (consult the diabetes team)

    500 mg/dL or higher

    Blurry vision

    Decreased appetite

    Dry mouth, eyes, or skin

    Fast breathing

    Feeling confused or irritable

    Feeling very weak or tired

    Fruity-smelling breath

    Stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting

    Go to the emergency department immediately for treatment with insulin and fluids through an IV

    15 mmol/L or higher

    Ketones present in blood or urine

    Increase insulin dose or give an extra dose (consult diabetes team)

     Drink sugar-free fluids to prevent dehydration

    Long-Term Solutions: What To Do When Your Blood Sugar Is High Every Now and Then? 

    While it is possible to decrease sugar levels immediately, using the above-mentioned home remedies and fast-acting insulin injections is still good, as long-term solutions for overall improved health are still needed. 

    Here are the steps that you can take for the long-term management of high blood sugar: 

    • Plan your meals carefully
    • Take your medicines consistently (unless advised otherwise by your doctor) 
    • Regularly check your blood sugar levels
    • If you're opting for exercise, then consult your healthcare provider regarding how to proceed with it

    Risk Factors And Possible Complications If Not Taken Action Immediately 

    The urgency to urinate more often, increased hunger and thirst, sudden weight loss (due to no observable reason), extreme tiredness, and fatigue are the common warning signs and symptoms of diabetes. 12

    If treatment is not provided at the right time, then these can develop into further complications, including: 

    • Heart disease
    • Kidney and nerve damage 
    • Bone and joint issues
    • Partial vision loss can even cause complete blindness
    • Skin infections and ulcerations in feet
    • Infections related to teeth and gums

    So, if you're wondering what level of blood sugar is dangerous, then here is what you need to know. Blood sugar levels, whether high (hyperglycemia) or low (hypoglycemia), are both equally dangerous. That is why, to eliminate any underlying risk, you can book sugar test at home

    Following the test results, you can take the right steps to control your blood sugar levels immediately, whether high (or low). 

    Apart from this, there is a long list of lab tests for diabetes patients that can help you understand your health better and take the right steps accordingly.


    Ref Links: 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the five worst foods for blood sugar?

    Food items that contain a lot of carbohydrates are the worst foods for blood sugar. Examples of such foods include highly processed food items, beverages that contain a lot of added sugars, white rice, bread, coffee, fried foods, and baked goods.

    How can I flush my sugar in one day?

    You can take a fast-acting insulin injection to flush out your sugar in one day. It is the best way to lower blood sugar quickly during an emergency at home. The main reason why it is the best solution is that it starts acting in less than 15 minutes in the body to get rid of all excess sugars.


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