6 Causes of Blood Sugar Fluctuations

There are many ways that blood sugar (blood glucose levels) can affect people with or without diabetes. Each person reacts differently to various elements that influence blood sugar levels. There are compounds that individuals should look into to see how they influence their own blood sugar levels. For example, blood sugar can rise due to the caffeine in coffee, black tea, and some energy drinks. Many ingredients, environmental factors, and diseases can alter blood sugar levels. Being aware of these influencers will help you make smarter choices that can determine how you feel throughout your day.

Being sick or dehydrated

Dehydration can raise your blood sugar, so it’s wise to stay well hydrated. If you have diarrhea and/or vomiting for more than two hours or if you are sick for more than a few days, your blood sugar levels may be altered. Also, blood sugar rises when your body is trying to fight off any type of disease. 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, take a bottle of water with you wherever you go, keep water by your bedside table, and get intravenous hydrating therapy weekly or monthly. Do whatever you need to do to stay hydrated and you’ll help your blood sugar throughout the day!

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 with stress – fun and joyful things like friends, family, vacations and taking care of our bodies and our health! Many have associated being busy with stress 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 sound harmless, but being “stressed” all the time causes your body to release hormones that raise your blood sugar. Although it is more common in people with type 2 diabetes, it is also common in people without diabetes. 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 exercises to reduce stress.

Common cold and flu medications

Cold medicines often contain pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine decongestants; as well as sugar and/or alcohol. These components can raise your blood sugar levels. Antihistamines do not cause blood sugar problems. If you buy over-the-counter cold medicines, ask your pharmacist about the possible effects on your blood sugar. Check your blood sugar during specific situations so you can determine how your body will react to illnesses and treatments.

Antibiotics can also have this effect on the body. If you need to take an antibiotic for an infection, it’s important to finish the dose to prevent resistance, but it’s important to keep in mind that it can also affect your blood sugar.

birth control pills

The estrogen in birth control pills can affect how a person with diabetes responds to insulin. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) advises women with diabetes to use birth control pills that contain norgestimate and synthetic estrogen. The ADA suggests that contraceptive injections and implants are safe for women with diabetes, but they can affect blood sugar levels. Women should monitor their blood sugar if they choose to use these methods of contraception, especially for several weeks after the first administration of the agents. 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 high amounts of sugar. For moderate workouts under 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 consult their doctor about which drinks would be best.

drinking alcohol

This has the same “roller coaster” effect of high and low blood sugar as with exercise. Glucose levels may rise initially, but may drop and remain low for up to 12 hours after drinking alcohol. The “roller coaster” effect is reduced by eating food while drinking alcohol. Alcoholic beverages can also be high in carbohydrates. The ADA suggests women drink no more than one alcoholic drink per day (if they’re going to drink) and two per day for men. An alcoholic drink is equivalent to 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of alcohol (whisky or vodka). Whether you have diabetes or are looking to regulate your blood sugar, it would be wise to stay away from alcohol.

This story originally appeared on the OnePeak Medical Center blog.

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