Reasons why your blood sugar changes

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Exercise. While exercise is great for everyone’s health, people with diabetes should be careful when it comes to exercise and their blood sugar levels. If you work out hard enough to sweat and raise your heartbeat, your blood sugar fluctuate going up and down. Intense or endurance-type exercise can make your level drop for at least 24 hours afterward. It may be helpful to have a snack before you work out. Make sure to check your blood sugar before, during, and after you exercise.

Stress. Stress can take a toll on your blood sugar levels. The most common type of stress is often associated with work. When you are feeling overwhelmed and under a lot of stress, your body releases hormones that can make your increase your blood sugar. This is more common in people with type 2 diabetes. To de-stress, learn how to relax and practice deep breathing. Exercise can help too. Also, try to eliminate some of the things that are making you so stressed out.  

Sleep. For people with diabetes, blood sugar levels drop to can drop to dangerously low levels during sleep. This is especially true if you are on insulin. Make sure to check your blood sugar levels at night before going to bed, and again in the morning when you wake up. It may be helpful to eat a snack before bed. For some people, blood sugar can rise in the morning, even before having breakfast. This is due to changes in hormones or a drop in insulin. Therefore, it is important to test your levels regularly.  

Caffeine. Caffeine can raise your blood sugar. This most often occurs when drinking coffee. This can also happen with energy drinks, black tea, and green tea. Everyone reacts differently to foods and drinks, so make sure to keep track of your own responses instead of comparing yourself to others who may or may not be experiencing the same problem.

A severe cold. Having a bad cold can raise your blood sugar levels while your body is struggling to fight it. Make sure to drink plenty of water and other fluids to stay hydrated. If you have had diarrhea or vomiting for more than two hours or if you've been sick for two days and aren't feeling better, see your doctor. Keep in mind that some medicines, such as antibiotics and the decongestants that can clear your sinuses, can affect your blood sugar levels.

Sugar-free foods. Many sugar-free foods can raise your blood sugar levels. This is because they can still have plenty of carbs from starches. Make sure to check food labels for the amount of total carbohydrates before purchasing any sugar-free foods. You should also be aware of sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and xylitol. They add sweetness with fewer carbs than sugar, but they may still have enough to raise your blood sugar levels.

Cold medicine. Cold medicines such as decongestants that have pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine can increase your blood sugar levels. Cold medicines also sometimes have a little sugar or alcohol in them, so make sure to avoid any products that contain those ingredients. One cold medicine that won’t affect your blood sugar levels is antihistamines. However, before purchasing any cold medicines, ask your pharmacist about the possible effects.