11 Causes of Blood Sugar Swings Everyone Should Know

11 Causes of Blood Sugar Swings Everyone Should Know

By NeNa | Articles

Apr 16

Blood sugar levels can be quite fickle, so controlling them is really important. That’s because constant blood sugar ups and downs can cause many health complications in those with type 2 diabetes.

These include heart disease, kidney failure, eye problems, nerve damage, teeth and gum damage, etc.

Keeping the blood glucose levels within healthy ranges will not only help prevent these health problems, but it will also help you stay focused, energized, and in a good mood.

To achieve that you need proper medication, regular exercise, effective meal planning, and tracking your blood glucose numbers regularly.

Knowing how different habits affect your blood glucose levels can help you predict how they will swing. Extremely low blood glucose, or hypoglycemia, is more likely to occur in advanced diabetes, as the American Diabetes Association explains.

On the other hand, hyperglycemia, or high blood glucose, can occur when you don’t follow a proper diabetes therapy, diet and exercise regimen, or when you take steroids and other medications.

Both, low and high blood glucose can lead to serious health complications. Hyperglycemia can cause vomiting, nausea, or shortness of breath, not to mention the damage it does to your organs, and hypoglycemia can cause dizziness, confusion, seizures, blurred vision, unconsciousness, and even death.

That’s why you should learn how to manage the factors that impact your blood glucose levels and adjust accordingly.

Here are several causes of blood glucose swings you might not be aware of.

Causes of Blood Glucose Swings

1. Artificial Sweeteners

Diabetes Care published a study in 2013 which shows that beverages like diet drinks that contain artificial sweeteners can increase blood glucose. So, if you think these sugar-free beverages won’t affect your blood glucose levels, think again.

Even though there are other studies which suggest that artificial sweeteners don’t affect blood glucose levels, researchers still agree that drinking diet soda is a regular basis is bad for your blood glucose control. So, it’s best to stay away from these beverages.

2. Dehydration

Lack of liquid in your body makes the glucose in your blood more concentrated, thus raising your blood glucose levels. And, hyperglycemia can make you urinate more, leading to dehydration.

That’s why you should drink at least two liters of water a day, and even more if you are obese.

3. Taking Certain Medication

Some medications which can interfere with your blood glucose levels are steroids, birth control pills, some diuretics, antipsychotics, certain nasal decongestants and antidepressants.

These could raise your blood sugar levels, while others could decrease it, leading to hypoglycemia. So, make sure you consult a pharmacist or doctor before taking any new medication, whether it’s prescribed one or not.

4. Dawn Phenomenon

Waking up with high blood glucose is not uncommon even if you’ve gone to bed with perfectly normal glucose reading. This is called the dawn phenomenon and happens when growth and other hormones are released around 3-4 am, preparing the body to wake up.

Since these hormones reduce your body’s insulin sensitivity, they could contribute to a high blood glucose reading in the morning.

5. Menstrual Cycle

Mood swings, bloating, and cramping are not the only uncomfortable symptoms of woman’s monthly period. Apparently, her blood glucose levels can also be affected during this time of the month.

Even though this doesn’t refer to all women, those with diabetes become less sensitive to insulin in the days before their menstrual cycle. This, in turn, results in higher blood glucose than normally.

However, their blood glucose levels usually return to normal as soon as their monthly period begins. So, if you notice your blood glucose levels are higher than normal in the week before your period, you might want to reduce your carb intake or do some extra exercise.

Also, you could consult your doctor to adjust your diabetes medication during this period, especially if you take regular insulin shots.

6. Lack of Sleep

Diabetes Therapy published a review which shows that restless nights can affect your blood sugar levels, along with hurting your energy and mood. So, lack of sleep can raise the risk of diabetes, as well as worsen the insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control in those who already have diabetes.

That’s why you should try to get 7-9 hours of a good-quality sleep per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

7. Extreme Temperatures

Extremely hot temperatures can interfere with the blood sugar levels of those with diabetes. In some, the hot temperatures may cause blood sugar spikes as the weather puts extra stress on their system, while in others it may cause the opposite.

Those who take regular insulin shots are more likely to experience a sudden drop in their blood sugar levels. So, avoid going outdoors during the hottest time of the day, and make sure you monitor your blood glucose when the temperatures start to rise.

8. Traveling

Long flights and skipping a few time zones can cause some unexpected problems for those with diabetes. By disrupting your routines like sleeping hours, unusual eating, and changes in your medication schedule, the time change can interfere with your blood glucose control.

What’s more, you may drink and eat more, and be more active during a vacation, all of which could affect your diabetes control. That’s why you should consider packing healthy snacks and a refillable water bottle to avoid dehydration.

Also, don’t forget to adjust your insulin and medication schedule with your diabetes care team before going on a trip.

9. Excess Caffeine

The European Journal of Nutrition published a study which shows drinking 3-4 cups of coffee every day can cut the risk of type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, another study suggests that excess caffeine intake can spike the blood glucose levels in those who already have diabetes.

In fact, these people might notice blood sugar swings even after consuming just two 8oz plain cups of brewed coffee, as caffeine affects the behavior of insulin.

Still, the effects of caffeine vary from person to person, so make sure you monitor your blood glucose levels to see how it affects them.

10. Blood Glucose Testing Mistakes

According to research, not washing your hands before checking your blood sugar levels can cause a false alarm. That’s because of sugar residues on your hands. So, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before getting a blood sample.

11. A Bad Cold

When your body is trying to fight off a cold or another illness, your blood glucose levels start to increase. So, make sure you drink enough water to prevent dehydration. Also, consult a doctor if you have diarrhea or vomiting longer than two hours, or if you are ill for two days without improvement.

Don’t forget that some medications like nasal decongestants and antibiotics can impact your blood glucose readings.