6 Causes of Swings in Blood Sugar

There are many ways blood sugar (glucose levels in the blood) can affect people both with and without diabetes. Each person reacts differently to various items that influence blood sugars. There are some compounds that individuals may want to examine to see how they influence their own blood sugar levels. For example, blood sugar levels can rise after drinking coffee, black tea, and some energy drinks due to the presence of caffeine. There are many ingredients, environmental factors, and illnesses that may alter blood glucose levels, and being aware of these helps us make wiser choices that can determine how we feel throughout our day.

Being Sick or Dehydrated

Dehydration can elevate your blood sugar, so it is wise to stay well-hydrated. If you are sick and have diarrhea and vomiting for more than two hours, or illness longer than a few days, this may alter your blood sugar. Also, blood sugar rises as your body tries to fight any type of illness. Make sure you are making hydration a conscious decision every day! Being well-hydrated rarely just happens, it is more of a conscious effort to improve your health and energy by being aware of the body’s needs! Set a timer on your phone, carry a water bottle wherever you go, keep water by your nightstand, and get a hydrating IV weekly or monthly (offered at Peak Medical Clinic). Do whatever you need to do to stay hydrated and you will help your blood sugar levels throughout the day!

Stress Overload

Stress is an epidemic in our busy modern society. It seems that stress is no longer a word used for our careers but a term more often starting to relate to everything. Many people “stress” about the things that are supposed to help combat stress – fun and joyful things like friends, family, holidays, and taking care of our bodies and health! Many have associated being busy with being stressed and let me tell you: everyone is “busy” in the world today! Many things that once gave us joy have been added to the “to-do” list as just another thing to take care of. Although it may seem harmless to always be in the “stressed” mindset it causes your body to release hormones that can cause increases in your blood sugar. Although this is more common in people with type-2 diabetes, it is very common in people without diabetes as well. Not to mention all the other negative side effects it has on our heart, brains, and body! It is so important to practice relaxation techniques with deep breathing and exercise, if possible, to reduce stress.

Common Cold and Flu Medications

Cold medicines often contain the decongestants pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine; they also may contain sugar and/or alcohol. These components may raise your blood sugar levels. Antihistamines don’t cause a problem with blood sugar levels. If you decide to purchase over-the-counter cold medicines, ask the pharmacist about the possible effects it may have on your blood glucose levels. One may think it is harmless to reach for OTC Medications like decongestants and other drugs to feel better but knowledge is key! Check your blood sugar levels during these intermittent special situations so you can help determine how your body will react to these illnesses and treatments. Antibiotics can also have this effect on the body. If you have to be on an antibiotic for an infection it is important to finish the dose to prevent resistance, but knowing it also can have an effect on your blood sugar is important to keep in mind!

Certain Types of Birth Control Pills

Estrogen in birth control pills can affect the way a person with diabetes may respond to insulin. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) advises women with diabetes to use a birth control pill containing norgestimate and a synthetic estrogen. The ADA also suggests birth control injections and implants are safe for women with diabetes, but that they still have some effects on blood sugars levels. Women should monitor their blood sugar levels if they elect to use these birth control methods, especially for several weeks after these agents are first administered. Women with diabetes should discuss their birth control options with their doctor.

“Healthy” Sports Drinks

Although the main design for sports drinks is to help individuals replenish fluids quickly, many of them contain large amounts of sugar. For moderate workouts of less than an hour, plain water should be enough to replenish your fluids. A sports drink may be appropriate for more intense workouts, but people with diabetes should check with their doctor to see which sports drinks would be best for them to use.

Drinking Alcohol

This has the same “roller coaster” effect of both high and low blood sugar as that which occurs with exercise. Glucose levels may rise at first, but then they can fall and remain low for up to 12 hours after drinking. The “roller coaster” effect can be reduced if the person eats food when drinking alcohol. Alcoholic drinks can also contain a lot of carbohydrates. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests a woman should drink a limit of one alcoholic beverage per day (if they are going to drink), and limit of two per day for men. One alcoholic drink is equal to 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of liquor (whiskey or vodka). Regardless of if you have diabetes or are looking to be a little healthier and regulate your blood sugar more, it would be wise to stay clear of alcohol.

We hope you enjoyed learning a little more on some sneaky culprits that can alter your blood sugar! At Peak Medical Clinic, we offer primary care services as well as testing for pre-diabetes and diabetes. We also have nutrition specialists to help guide you on your path to wellness if you are looking to better your overall health and wellness! Thanks for reading!

-Peak Medical Clinic

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