Do you have Type 2 diabetes? Do have trouble sleeping in the early hours of the morning? Have you heard of the term “dawn phenomenon”?
Dawn phenomenon is a term that describes the tendency of the blood sugar level to increase between the hours of four and eight in the morning. It is typically seen as a sudden rise in the blood sugar by more than 10mg/dL (0.56 mmol/L) in the early hours. However, it can also be manifested as a 20% increase in the usual insulin requirement during these hours.
According to John Hopkins Point of Care-Information Technology (POC-IT), approximately sixty to eighty-nine percent of people with Type 2 diabetes experience this problem. This may be caused by a decreased sensitivity of the muscles and the liver to insulin in the face of the nocturnal growth hormone secretion. So, diabetics who happen to be growth hormone deficient do not experience this phenomenon. As mentioned by John Hopkins POC-IT source, the poorer the blood sugar control is, the worse the manifestation of the dawn phenomenon.
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What are the symptoms of dawn phenomenon?
1. Frequent urination during the early hours of the morning. Increase blood sugar level leads to hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia results in increased frequency of urination.
2. Trouble sleeping during the early hours of the morning. According to a study conducted in Rambam Medical Center and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel and published in the Journal of Pediatrics in 2003, the rapid increase in blood sugar can result in awakening from a restful sleep. And so, if you happen to experience this kind of symptom, best check your blood sugar level during the early morning hours. Chances are you may be experiencing the dawn phenomenon.
3. Increased thirst. Feeling thirsty during the early hours of the morning? Hyperglycemia leads to increased thirst. And if you are experiencing this early in the morning, you may be experiencing this reaction.
How do you diagnose the dawn phenomenon?
To diagnose this condition correctly, this is what you have to do:
- check your blood sugar level before going to bed at around ten to eleven in the evening,
- check it again at 2am, 4 am and 8am. An abrupt increase in the blood sugar level at 4 am to 8am indicates the dawn phenomenon.
How do you manage this?
- learn to adjust your carbohydrate intake and your evening meal time,
- before you go to sleep, your blood sugar level should only be 70 to 110 mg/dL (3.9 to 6.1 mmol/L).
If dietary modifications are not enough, consult your doctor. Your doctor might advise you to take insulin injections before you go to sleep to ensure better sugar control during your sleeping hours.
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