6 Causes of Blood Sugar Swings

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 compounds that individuals should examine to see how they influence their own blood sugar levels. For example, blood sugar levels can rise due to the presence of caffeine in coffee, black tea, and some energy drinks. Many ingredients, environmental factors, and illnesses may alter blood glucose levels. Being aware of these influencers will help you make wiser choices that can determine how you feel throughout your day.

Being Sick or Dehydrated

Dehydration can elevate your blood sugar, so it is wise to stay well-hydrated. If you have diarrhea and/or vomiting for more than two hours or illness longer than a few days, your blood sugar may be altered. Also, blood sugar rises as your body tries to fight any type of illness. Make a conscious effort to be aware of your body’s needs and stay hydrated to improve your health and energy. Set a timer on your phone, carry a water bottle wherever you go, keep water by your nightstand, and get hydrating IV therapy weekly or monthly. Do whatever you need to do to stay hydrated and you will help your blood sugar levels throughout the day!

Woman is suffering eyestrain and headache

Stress Overload

Stress is an epidemic in our busy modern society. The word “stress” is no longer used only for our careers but a term related to everything. People “stress” about things that are supposed to help combat stress – fun and joyful things like friends, family, vacations, and taking care of our bodies and health! Many have associated being busy with being stressed and let me tell you, everyone is “busy!” Many things that once gave us joy have been added to the “to-do” list.

It may seem harmless, but always being “stressed” causes your body to release hormones that increase your blood sugar. Although this is more common in people with type-2 diabetes, it is common in people without diabetes as well. Not to mention the other negative side effects it has on your heart, brain, and body! It is important to practice relaxation techniques with deep breathing and exercise to reduce stress.

Common Cold and Flu Medications

Cold medicines often contain the decongestants pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine; as well as sugar and/or alcohol. These components may raise your blood sugar levels. Antihistamines don’t cause a problem with blood sugar levels. If you purchase over-the-counter cold medicines, ask your pharmacist about possible effects on your blood glucose levels. Check your blood sugar levels during special situations so you can help determine how your body will react to illnesses and treatments.

Antibiotics can also have this effect on the body. If you have to be on an antibiotic for 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.

Birth Control Pills

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

“Healthy” Sports Drinks

Although sports drinks are designed to help individuals replenish fluids quickly, many 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 drinks would be best.

Drinking Alcohol

This has the same “roller coaster” effect of both high and low blood sugar as with exercise. Glucose levels may rise at first but can fall and remain low for up to 12 hours after drinking alcohol. The “roller coaster” effect is reduced by eating food when drinking alcohol. Alcoholic drinks can also contain a lot of carbohydrates. The ADA suggests women drink no more than one alcoholic beverage per day (if they are going to drink), and 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 if you have diabetes or are looking to regulate your blood sugar, it would be wise to stay clear of alcohol.

A smiling African woman pours wine into her goblet

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

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