Factors Affecting Blood Glucose

Maintaining good blood glucose levels for some can be difficult making them wonder, “why do I sometimes have good blood glucose control and other times it goes up and down like a seesaw?”

Having diabetes means you need to be aware of what your blood glucose is doing throughout the day.  Before you were diagnosed with this disease, it didn’t matter what you ate or how active you were as blood glucose levels stayed within a normal range.  Now, your blood glucose can rise higher than it should and also go lower than it should.  It may seem like there is no rhyme or reason for this but generally there is.  Many factors can affect your blood glucose levels and when you have a good understanding of what may be causing wide swings, you can be in better control of preventing them to begin with.  Learning how to help stabilize blood glucose levels better can help delay or prevent diabetes complications such as heart disease, serious eye conditions, kidney disease, and amputation.

Factors affecting blood glucose making it rise

·        Eating too much food, like having a meal or snack with more carbohydrates than usual

·        Not exercising or being active to help use up excess blood glucose

·        Not enough insulin or oral diabetes medication

·        Side effects from other medications, such as steroids or anti-psychotic medications

·        Being sick – your body releases hormones to fight the illness which can raise blood glucose levels

·        Being under stress which can produce hormones that raise blood glucose levels

·        Short- or long-term pain, like pain from a broken bone or arthritis – your body releases hormones that raise blood glucose levels

·        Menstrual periods which cause changes in hormone levels

·        Dehydration

Factors affecting blood glucose making it fall

·         Not eating enough food, like having a meal or snack with fewer carbohydrates than usual or skipping a meal or snack

·         Alcohol, especially on an empty stomach

·         Giving yourself too much insulin or oral diabetes medications

·         Side effects from other medications

·         More physical activity or exercise than usual – physical activity makes your body more sensitive to insulin and can lower blood glucose

There are a couple of ways to track your blood glucose:

1.      Use a blood glucose meter at home.  Simply prick your finger using a blood glucose meter to tell you at that moment what your blood glucose level is. Your doctor will tell you how frequently and at what time(s) of each day to test. 

2.      Have a HbA1c test done at your doctor’s office twice a year or more frequently if necessary.  The HbA1c test tells the doctor what your average blood glucose has been for the past 2-3 months.

Once you make adjustments to your diet, physical activity, and inquire with your doctor about medication use, you will improve your chance of maintaining more normal blood glucose levels reducing your risk of complications and leading a healthier life.