7 Surprising Reasons for Blood Sugar Fluctuations

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Have you ever had a day when you feel like you’re totally on top of your diabetes management game? When you feel like you’ve done everything right—you’ve eaten the right foods and taken your medication exactly as directed? You’re feeling great and are totally confident in your ability to control your diabetes.

But then…you test.

And the number that’s revealed blows you away because it’s not a number you like. And it’s definitely not the number you expected.

You ask yourself what you could’ve done better. You re-examine all of the usual suspects (diet, exercise, insulin) and are at a loss for what’s causing your numbers to fluctuate the way they are. You’re stumped.

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/mthipsorn

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/mthipsorn

Well, you’re not alone. And you’re not wrong in feeling blindsided by your numbers when you think you’ve done everything right. The thing is: there are a lot of surprising factors that can play a role in your blood glucose levels. Things that you wouldn’t necessarily assume would affect your numbers can actually cause them to fluctuate significantly.

Let’s take a look at what some of those factors are so that you’re prepared to combat them the best you can!

1. Medication

If you’re taking medication to control a non-diabetes-related condition, there’s a chance it could be affecting your numbers. Some over-the-counter medications can cause an uptick in blood sugar levels. Even prescription drugs like steroids, birth control pills, and antidepressants can cause your blood sugar levels to spike.

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/cassis

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/cassis

Additionally, some drugs have a dehydrating affect, which can also cause unpredictable fluctuations. You might even find that certain medications make it harder to recognize the symptoms you normally associate with a change in blood sugar.

If you’re noticing fluctuations in your numbers, this might be a good place to look. Talk to your doctor about what you’re seeing. Also, remember to discuss any new medications with your pharmacist. Inform him or her of your condition and ask about potential side effects.

2. Caffeine

Your morning cup of joe might be helping you rise, but it might be doing the same thing for your blood sugar levels. It feels essential. We get it. However, keep in mind that it could be causing a boost to your blood glucose.

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/phatpc

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/phatpc

While we’re not telling you to say goodbye to caffeine altogether, it’s never a bad idea to examine your consumption and look for patterns. Don’t forget that an excess of caffeine can actually increase anxiety and leave you feeling jittery when it’s time for bed, making it harder to fall asleep. If this is a pattern you see emerging, it might be time to consider cutting back or cutting yourself off at a certain time.

3. Stress

Often referred to as the “stress hormone,” cortisol regulates the body’s responses to stress. Responsible for the fight-or-flight response, cortisol causes the body to release energy in the form of glucose. If you find yourself consistently stressed, this can wreak havoc on your numbers. Further, prolonged elevated levels of cortisol are also associated with weight gain, increased belly fat, insulin resistance, and blood sugar metabolism.

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/Syda Productions

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/Syda Productions

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to alleviate stress. Consider talking to a friend, loved one, or professional about the things that are causing you stress, setting aside time for relaxation, or taking up a new hobby!

“Next” for more reasons your levels might be fluctuating

L.D. and her eleven-year-old lab, Eleanor Rigby Fitzgerald, moved from Seattle to Grand Rapids earlier this year, and are currently enjoying exploring their new city! She likes books, music, movies, running, and being outdoors as much as possible.
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