Thyroid And High Blood Sugar
High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, is a common health concern affecting millions of people. There are two main types of hyperglycemia:
- Fasting hyperglycemia blood sugar levels higher than 130 mg/dl and it usually occurs when a person doesnt eat or drink for more than eight hours
- Postprandial hyperglycemia blood sugar levels higher than 180 mg/dl about two hours after the meal. That being said, nondiabetic individuals rarely have blood sugar levels higher than 140 mg/dl after they eat
The relationship between high blood sugar and thyroid functioning can be discussed from different angles including insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.
What Is Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin, resulting in high levels of sugar in the bloodstream. There are many different types of diabetes the most common are type 1 and type 2 diabetes, which are covered in this article. Gestational diabetes occurs during the second half of pregnancy and is covered in a separate article. Diabetes can also be caused by disease or damage to the pancreas, Cushing’s syndrome, acromegaly and there are also some rare genetic forms.
Diabetes mellitus is linked with an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, poor blood circulation to the legs and damage to the eyes, feet and kidneys. Early diagnosis and strict control of blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels can help to prevent or delay these complications associated with diabetes. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
How Is Gestational Diabetes Mellitus Diagnosed
The American Diabetes Association recommends screening for undiagnosed type 2 diabetes at the first prenatal visit in women with diabetes risk factors. In pregnant women not known to have diabetes, GDM testing should be performed at 24 to 28 weeks of gestation.
In addition, women with diagnosed GDM should be screened for persistent diabetes 6 to 12 weeks postpartum. It is also recommended that women with a history of GDM undergo lifelong screening for the development of diabetes or prediabetes at least every three years.
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Do Pregnancy Hormones Affect Blood Sugar Levels
Just for women, but men can learn from this too ! Pregnant? If youve been wondering if pregnancy hormones will affect blood sugar levels, the answer is yes, says the American Diabetes Association . The placenta is a flat, circular organ that links the unborn baby to the mothers uterus during pregnancy. It produces several contrainsulin hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, prolacin and human placental lactogen. The production of these hormones, along with increased levels of cortisol, can affect your bodys sensitivity to insulin, whether it is produced by your body, injection or pump. Although these hormones are essential to a healthy pregnancy, this hormonal aggravation, along with weight gain as your pregnancy progresses, can contribute to a rise in blood glucose levels, especially after the 18th week, says the ADA. The best way to ensure your glucose levels are under control is to know where theyre at all times. The ADA recommends frequent self-glucose monitoring to help identify changes in blood glucose levels. This will help you and your diabetes health team make necessary changes for the best blood glucose control throughout your pregnancy. Reprinted from 101 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy with Diabetes by Patti B. Geil and Laura B. Heironymus. Copyright by the American Diabetes Association.Continue reading > >
How Is Diabetes Mellitus Diagnosed
Diabetes can be looked for by testing a urine sample for sugar but for a diagnosis, a blood sample is required. This may be a simple measurement of the sugar level, usually fasting. Alternatively, a test called an HbA1c can be used which estimates sugar levels over the past couple of months. If someone has typical symptoms of diabetes, only a single abnormal test is required. Where there are no symptoms, a second confirmatory test is required. Sometimes, particularly in pregnancy, a glucose tolerance test is performed which involves blood tests before and 2 hours after a sugary drink.
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What Is The Treatment For Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
Specific treatment for gestational diabetes will be determined by your doctor based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the disease
Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the disease
Your opinion or preference
Treatment for gestational diabetes focuses on keeping blood glucose levels in the normal range. Treatment may include:
How To Ease The Symptoms Of Diabetic Night Sweats
- Prepare your sleeping environment: Make sure your bedroom is not too warm. Open windows or use fans to keep air circulating around the room, and make sure you turn down your heating in enough time for the room to cool before you will be heading for bed. That way your nocturnal hypoglycemia symptoms can be kept to a minimum.
- Choose natural fibers to sleep in: Curling up in natural fibers, as opposed to synthetic ones, can have a miraculous effect on your sleep. Bedding made from natural fibers can help to regulate your body temperature, and will absorb moisture, taking it away from your body. Wool, in particular, is known for its ability to keep you feeling dry and cool throughout a warm night, as it is more absorbent than other natural fibers such as feather or down. This means that even if you are suffering from diabetic night sweats, wool comforters and nightclothes can help you get a better nights sleep.
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Does Estrogen Affect Blood Sugar Levels Estrogen And Insulin Resistance
Abnormal levels in hormones can, directly and indirectly, have an impact on other aspects of the bodys health. Estrogen is one hormone that may affect the cells response to insulin, which can lead to insulin resistance.
So, in this article, we are going to discuss estrogen and its effect on blood sugar levels. Heres a quick overview look at estrogen and insulin resistance before we get into more detail.
Estrogen and Insulin Resistance: After women go through menopause, they often see a dip in their estrogen levels. This dip in estrogen has often been associated with insulin resistance. On the other hand, estrogen levels that are stable at a normal level will help improve insulin sensitivity.
Here is how estrogen and insulin resistance are correlated, and everything you should know.
Get Assessed For Heart Disease Risk
Menopause triggers metabolic changes that can cause your weight to increase. For women with diabetes, weight gain can elevate their risk of heart disease even more, as well as complicating management of blood sugar levels.
As your doctor about regular blood pressure and cholesterol screening as both health factors are important for controlling diabetes and heart disease risk, but can be affected by menopause.
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How Diabetes Affects Estrogen And Progesterone
Estrogen and Progesterone are the primary female hormones produced by the ovaries needed for optimal reproductive and sexual health. Theyre also important in controlling blood sugar and how your body reacts to insulin. Women with diabetes need to pay extra attention to hormonal fluctuations.
What Type Are You?
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where cells attack the pancreas so it can no longer produce insulin, a hormone necessary for regulating sugar. Type 1, or T1D, comes on rather quickly as glucose enters the bloodstream in dangerous levels without insulin counteracting it. So those with T1D must take insulin injections usually several times a day.
Type 2 diabetes is generally caused from prolonged insulin resistance. Your pancreas can make insulin, but not enough to keep up with the amount of sugar/glucose it encounters, and eventually loses its ability to function properly. Generally, you dont need to take insulin injections for type 2, but there are other medications that may help, along with a healthy diet low in sugar and simple carbs, and regular exercise.
Insulin and Estrogen are Partners
Premenopausal women with normal estrogen levels, are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than men in the same age group because higher levels of estrogen work together with insulin to regulate blood sugar.
Insulin and Progesterone are More Like Frenemies
The Highs and Lows of Estrogen and Progesterone
How Can I Track My Blood Glucose
There are two ways to keep track of your blood glucose levels:
Using a blood glucose meter to measure your blood glucose level at that moment
Getting an A1C test at least twice a year to find out your average blood glucose for the past 2 to 3 months
This hand-out was published in Clinical Diabetes, Vol. 36, issue 2, 2018, and was adapted from the American Diabetes Associations Diabetes Advisor handout Factors Affecting Blood Glucose. Visit the Associations Patient Education Library at for hundreds of free, downloadable handouts in English and Spanish. Distribute these to your patients and share them with others on your health care team. Copyright American Diabetes Association, Inc., 2018.
American Diabetes Association
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What Can Make My Blood Glucose Fall
Not enough food, such as a meal or snack with fewer carbohydrates than usual or a missed meal or snack
Alcohol, especially on an empty stomach
Too much insulin or oral diabetes medications
Side effects from other medications
More physical activity or exercise than usualphysical activity makes your body more sensitive to insulin and can lower blood glucose
Reproductive And Sexual Health
Estrogen and progesterone are the two hormones that play the most important role in regulating a woman’s reproductive cycles. These two hormones can interact with another important hormone, insulin.
This section will explore how the interaction of these hormones can affect the lives of women living with diabetes. We will also discuss how living with diabetes can influence your sexual experiences both physically and emotionally.
Having diabetes can influence some of the major events in a woman’s reproductive life. Be sure to check out the sections on Pregnancy and Menopause.
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What Causes Hot Flashes In People With Diabetes
To remain healthy, the body needs to maintain a constant temperature. This process relies on the nervous system detecting changes in the external environment.
If the nervous system detects a drop in temperature, it sends a message to the hypothalamus region of the brain. The hypothalamus then triggers a series of reactions to raise the body temperature. These include shivering and the body hair standing on end to trap warm air.
Likewise, if the nervous system detects a rise in temperature, the hypothalamus must trigger reactions to cool the body down. The primary way it does this is by sending messages to the skin telling it to release sweat.
From skin infections to nerve damage and organ failure, learn about possible complications of diabetes, and what you can do to prevent them.
However, if the nervous system is not functioning well, these messages can become confused. The brain may think that the body is too hot, even when it is not. This is why diabetics with nerve damage may be prone to excess sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis. Furthermore, sweating can be a sign that the blood sugar has fallen too low. In this case, it may be accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness, irritability and reduced concentration.
These effects may be even more pronounced in menopausal women who are already having hot flashes. Fluctuating hormone levels can play havoc with the blood sugar, making it more difficult to regulate.
The Function Of Estrogen
Estradiol is the main form of estrogen and is present in both men and women but is significantly higher in females. The levels of this hormone are especially high after puberty and before menopause.
Estrogen plays a major role in the development of sexual characteristics in women. This includes the development of breasts and the regulation of menstrual cycles. In men, estrogen plays a role in the maturation of sperm. It also helps individuals maintain a healthy libido.
Estrogen levels often fluctuate during the menstrual cycles in females, and over the course of their life. The fluctuations in these levels can significantly impact a persons mood and other aspects of their life.
The normal range of estrogen levels in women before going through menopause is 30-400 picograms per milliliter . Men should have a level of estrogen between 10-50 pg/mL.
The ovaries produce estrogen in women. In men, it is produced mostly by the adrenal glands and the testes.
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The Connection Between Sugar & Estrogen
Studies have shown that women with diets high in sugar can experience worse menopausal symptoms than women with diets low in sugar. One study in particular followed 6,000 women for 9 years, and the results showed that women whose diets were high in sugar were 20% more likely to experience hot flashes and night sweats than their lower-sugar counterparts. Why did this occur? It all has to do with estrogen.
Estrogen levels fluctuate a lot during peri-menopause. Its these dramatic spikes and falls in estrogen that can cause uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. And after you consume a lot of sugar, your insulin levels spike, which simultaneously lowers the amount of a protein in your body called SHBG. SHBG stands for Sex Hormone Binding Globulin, and when your SHBG decreases, your estrogen goes up. In essence, eating a lot of sugar will cause an estrogen spike. So if youre consuming a lot of sugar, your bodys already-fluctuating estrogen will take bigger spikes and falls, worsening your menopausal symptoms.
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Take Care Of Yourself
Eating well and staying active are always important for managing diabetes, but this is especially true during menopause. More weight gain during this time can make your diabetes harder to manage.
Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low fat dairy. Try to be active for at least 30 minutes daily to prevent more weight gain and to manage your diabetes.
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Test Your Blood Glucose Regularly
Testing blood sugar levels more often than usual during the day, and occasionally during the night, will help you to see how your blood sugars respond to menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and changes in mood .
Note down your blood sugar readings and symptoms and provide this information to your doctor as they may use it to adjust your diabetes treatment plan as needed. For example, if your blood glucose continues to rise, a higher dosage of your diabetes medication, or new medication may be needed.
Regular HbA1c testing may also be advised by your doctor to get an idea of what your average blood sugar level has been over the previous 8-12 weeks.
Weight Gain Can Cause Irregular Periods
Although type 2 diabetes can occur in women who are not overweight, it is likely that if you are living with type 2 diabetes you are struggling with your weight. Weight loss can be challenging but not impossible for women with type 2 diabetes. Unlike type 1 diabetes where your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, if you are living with type 2 diabetes your body is resistant to insulin.
When you are overweight your excess fat or adipose tissue produces hormones that increase your insulin resistance. This insulin resistance then triggers your pancreas to produce more insulin. Although we don’t understand exactly how it happens, these increased insulin levels interact with the hormones that control your menstrual cycle. When your cyclic hormonal fluctuations are interrupted you will not ovulate and If you do not ovulate you will not have a regular period.
Your type 2 diabetes may be part of a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS. If you have PCOS, you have an imbalance in your ovarian hormone production. This imbalance prevents regular ovulation resulting in irregular menstrual cycles. This condition is also associated with elevated insulin levels due to overproduction of insulin because of underlying insulin resistance. Often, the more overweight you are, the less frequently you will ovulate and the more irregular your periods will become.
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How Does Each Point In Your Cycle Affect Blood Sugar
Diabetic or not, the menstrual cycle is entirely different for each person and can vary by month. However, On Track Diabetes offers a rough guide to whats happening to your blood sugar in relation to your menstrual cycle.
They explain that there are 4 primary hormones affecting the menstrual cycle estrogen, progesterone, Luteinizing Hormone and Follicle Stimulating Hormone .
Each hormone affects blood sugar and sensitivity to insulin differently. Lets look at the whole cycle, starting with the first day of your period.
Day 1-10: Hello period! You may experience higher blood sugars and insulin resistance on the first day, but insulin sensitivity should revert back to normal for the rest of your period, and a few days after it ends.
Day 11 – 14: Youre ovulating, so you may experience higher blood sugar levels and insulin resistance once again. When your body is prepping to release an egg, the levels of LH, FSH and estrogen all rise, which can cause a spike in your blood sugar lasting 2-3 days, max.
Day 15 – 20: The roller coaster that is your blood sugar level drops closer to its typical level for a few days.
Day 21 – 28: and up we go again! This is the point in your cycle, known as the mid-luteal phase, where youre more likely to experience significant insulin resistance and higher blood sugar levels in the days before you start your next period. And then the cycle begins all over again!