FAQ with Dr. Jean Chen: Blood Sugar Spikes

Did you know that things like stress, illness, and food can affect your blood sugar levels? Small spikes in your blood sugar can be normal, but if you also have insulin resistance, then blood sugar levels can be significantly higher.

One of our board certified endocrinologists, Dr. Jean Chen, answers some important questions about blood sugar spikes here:

What is a blood sugar spike and why does it happen

A blood sugar spike is where there is a rapid rise in blood sugar in a short amount of time. There are numerous reasons why a blood sugar spike can occur. It can occur if a person is acutely stressed, ill or on certain medications, like steroids. However, the most common reason is due to the body’s response to foods that are high in carbohydrates or sugar. Small spikes in blood sugar after eating carbohydrates can be normal, but if someone also has insulin resistance, then blood sugar levels can be significantly higher. When we intake food that is high in carbohydrates or sugar, our body must produce insulin to signal to our muscles and organs to absorb that sugar from the bloodstream. When there is insulin resistance, the body does not respond to insulin as quickly as it should. Sugar remains in circulation longer, leading elevations in blood sugar.

Why do regular blood sugar spikes matter? What is the impact on your health?

Everyone needs a certain amount of sugar to produce enough energy for our body to work appropriately. However, if blood sugars elevate too high or stay elevated for too long, it has the reverse effect and can cause dysregulation in our body.  This can lead to several complications, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol and kidney disease.

Are there signs/symptoms of a blood sugar spike? If so, what are they?

Sometimes there are no symptoms or signs when blood sugars spike. If blood sugars reach a severe level and stay elevated, then people can have fatigue, increased thirst, increased urination and even weight loss.

What about a subsequent blood sugar crash? Are there signs/symptoms associated with that? Why does blood sugar crash following a spike?

If blood sugar starts to drop after a spike, it is most likely due to high amounts of insulin the body has released in response to either insulin resistance or foods that are high in sugar or carbohydrates. Therefore, people tend to feel these drops more after a large meal that is high in carbohydrates, especially carbohydrates that are low in fiber. People can start feeling more sluggish or tired. If blood sugars reach a critically low level, then symptoms of sweating, tremors, nervousness, fast heart rate and hunger may occur.

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Rising Stars

Join us in giving a big congratulations to our 2022 Super Doctors! Rising Stars are physicians that have been active and fully-licensed to practice for 10 years or less, and they are selected by peer recognition and their professional achievements. We’re so proud to have Dr. Harrison, Dr. Chaicha-Brom, Dr. Chen, and Dr. Pandit on the list!

Detecting Fatty Liver Disease with Fibroscan

Did you know that nearly one in four adults have an abnormal buildup of fat in the liver? Your liver works to clean toxins from your blood and processes nutrients, so it’s important to make sure it’s functioning properly. Read on to learn what you need to know about fatty liver disease and how it can be detecte

What is Fatty Liver Disease?

Fatty liver disease happens when there is a buildup of fat in your liver, also known as hepatic steatosis. Too much fat in your liver can cause inflammation and, in severe cases, lead to liver failure.

What Causes Fatty Liver Disease?

There are two main forms of fatty liver disease – alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). AFLD is caused by excessive drinking, while NAFLD does not have an exact cause.

NAFLD affects up to 25 to 30 million people in the United States and Europe. While the cause is still unclear, factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and a family history of liver disease can increase your risk.

How is Fatty Liver Disease Detected?

Fatty liver disease can develop without symptoms until it reaches advanced stages.  It can be missed in routine medical care, so it’s important to be proactive in detecting it. FibroScan is a non-invasive test that helps assess the health of your liver and identify issues that might impact the quality of liver function – like fatty liver disease. Texas Diabetes & Endocrinology is one of the first endocrinology clinics in the Austin area to provide this innovative procedure!

Conducted with ultrasound-based imaging, this cutting-edge diagnostic test gauges the amount of fat in the liver and allows specialists to assess the degree of stiffness in the liver tissue. FibroScans are not painful, and no sedation is needed. The scan only takes about 15 minutes to complete and the results will be ready for your doctor to review with you during your appointment.

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There is a newer, silent epidemic striking one in four adults known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Find out if you’re at risk and about a painless, rapid test that we do here at Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology to detect it.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle on Your Next Vacation

‘Tis the season for vacations! Summer is just around the corner so while you’re planning the perfect trip and researching all the great destinations to visit, you may wonder how a vacation will fit in with your health goals. If that sounds like you, we’ve got some tips to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle on your next vacation!

Plan Ahead

When you make your travel arrangements, include plans for meals and snacks to stay on track with your goals. Research the menus of restaurants you want to eat so you can spend less time on vacation worrying about how your meals will fit into your healthy lifestyle.

Before you leave on your trip, consider beginning a weight loss program to help you with your plan. Our NextStepMD Weight Loss Program is designed to help you lose weight, maintain weight loss, and gain better control of your health. We offer one-on-one sessions and work closely with our patients to recommend the methods that offer the greatest opportunities of success. We’ll educate, motivate and support you through your weight loss journey, which includes establishing new eating habits to incorporate throughout your expected – and unexpected – travels.

Pack Snacks

Whether you’re planning a road trip or flying across the country (or world!), stock up on non-perishable snacks so that you have healthy food options ready. If you’re flying, remember to make sure they are TSA-approved! Having healthy snacks prepared will allow you to eat small, frequent meals throughout your trip – which helps to keep you feeling satisfied and helps keep your metabolism stoked.

One of the exclusive weight loss methods that we use is our NextStepMD supplements & meal plans. The unique NextStepMD meal plans are an easy-to-follow three-phase program and provide lots of variety and choice, so you will never feel deprived. Our NextStepMD health and wellness coaches will work with you to make sure you have planned snacks that are both sensible and sustainable on your next vacation.

Stay Active

Search for opportunities to explore your new location by being active! There are a variety of ways to incorporate exercise while on vacation. Look for opportunities like biking tours, take advantage of a hotel pool, or do some of your sightseeing on foot.

If you’re not sure if the location will have many opportunities to get active, take a few minutes each morning to do a short workout. You could walk up a flight of stairs, complete a hotel-room workout, or take a quick walk. Whether you’re taking a walk on the beach or hiking through the mountains, make sure your vacation includes plenty of exercise.

Whether you’re independently on a healthy lifestyle journey or are a participant in a weight loss program to help guide your choices, with a little planning your vacation can fit in with your health goals.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check back with us each month as we provide you helpful wellness and health information.

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