Diabetes type 2: Fluctuating insulin levels can trigger the Somogyi effect – what is it?

This Morning: Type 2 diabetes can be 'devastating' says expert

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Rising blood sugars can play have on a diabetic’s body. Foods or medication before bed may bring on the Somogyi effect.

The Somogyi phenomenon describes a rebound high blood glucose level in response to low blood glucose.

It may take the form of high blood sugar in the morning due to an excess amount of insulin during the night.

Having prolonged levels of untreated hypoglycaemia could lead to stress (due to low blood sugar) and a high blood sugar levels rebound.

This is a defensive response by the body as it released endocrine hormone glucagon, backed up by the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine.

While you sleep, your body doesn’t need as much energy. But when you’re about to wake up, it gets ready to burn more fuel, explained WebMD.

The health site continued: “It tells your liver to start releasing more glucose into your blood.

“That should trigger your body to release more insulin to handle more blood sugar.

“If you have diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin to do that. That leaves too much sugar in your blood, a problem called hyperglycaemia.”

The Cleveland Clinic advises methods to reduce the risk by:

Decreasing the dose of diabetes medications that are causing overnight lows

Adding a bedtime snack that includes carbs

Doing evening exercise earlier

If you take insulin, switching to an insulin pump and programming it to release less insulin overnight

The dawn phenomenon

The dawn phenomenon experience is similar to the Somogyi effect, but the causes are different.

Everyone experiences the dawn phenomenon to some extent. It’s your body’s natural reaction to hormones (cortisol, growth hormone, and catecholamine) that are released as morning approaches. These hormones trigger the release of glucose from your liver.

In most people, the release of glucose is tempered by the release of insulin. But when you have diabetes, you don’t produce enough insulin to lessen the release of glucose, and that causes your blood sugar levels rise.

To combat the dawn phenomenon, experts recommend eating a high-fibre, low-fat snack before bed.

Whole-wheat crackers with cheese or an apple with peanut butter are two good choices.

Such foods will keep blood sugar levels steady and prevent the liver from releasing too much glucose.
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