Does Taking Steroids Increase Blood Sugar Levels
Steroids can increase blood sugar levels in people who have diabetes. It can also increase blood sugar levels in people who do not have diabetes. This can happen because: the liver produces more sugar during steroid treatment.
Checking For Low Blood Sugar Levels
The warning signs of hypoglycemia are the body’s natural response to low blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels fall too low, the body releases the hormone adrenaline, which helps get stored glucose into the bloodstream quickly. This can make someone:
- start shaking
- have an increased heart rate
If the hypoglycemia isn’t treated, more serious symptoms may happen, such as drowsiness, confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
The only way to know for sure if you’re having a low blood sugar level is to test. Blood sugar levels can be tested with a . This computerized device measures and displays the amount of glucose in a blood sample. But if you can’t quickly check your blood sugar level, it’s important to treat yourself for hypoglycemia immediately to prevent symptoms from getting worse.
Sometimes a person with diabetes may have symptoms of low blood sugar levels, but blood sugar levels are not actually low. This is a called a false reaction. The hormone adrenaline is not just released when blood sugar drops too low it’s also released when blood sugar levels fall quickly when they’re too high. If you’re having a false reaction, you might actually have blood sugar levels in a healthy range but feel as if you have low blood sugar. Testing blood sugar levels before treating yourself for hypoglycemia can help you figure out if you’re having a false reaction.
How Is It Determined If The Dawn Phenomenon Or Somogyi Effect Is Causing The High Blood Sugar Levels
Your doctor will likely ask you to check your blood sugar levels between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. for several nights in a row. If your blood sugar is consistently low during this time, the Somogyi effect is suspected. If the blood sugar is normal during this time period, the dawn phenomenon is more likely to be the cause.
Some additional clues that the Somogyi effect may be the cause include nightmares, restless sleep and overnight sweating as these are all signs of low blood sugar levels.
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Drugs That Raise Your Blood Sugar
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you probably know about the different types of food and drink that can increase your blood sugar . But did you know some prescription medicines can do this as well?
This is why you should tell everyone who prescribes medicines for youdoctors, dentists, or nurse practitionersthat you have diabetes. At the same time, its important for the doctor or managing your diabetes treatment to know of any new medicines you may be taking that were prescribed by someone else.
There are many medicines that can raise blood sugar and cause hyperglycemia, or blood sugar levels above normal. If you arent sure about a medication youve been prescribed, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it will affect your blood sugar before you start taking it.
Common medicines that raise blood sugar levels include:
What If I Have Trouble Getting To My Blood Sugar Goals
There may be times when you have trouble reaching your blood sugar goals. This does not mean that you have failed. It means that you and your health care team should see if changes are needed. Call your health care team if your blood sugar is often too high or too low. Taking action will help you be healthy today and in the future.
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What Should I Do If My Blood Sugar Gets Too High
High blood sugar is also called hyperglycemia . It means that your blood sugar level is higher than your target level or over 180. Having high blood sugar levels over time can lead to long-term, serious health problems.
If you feel very tired, thirsty, have blurry vision, or need to pee more often, your blood sugar may be high.
Check your blood sugar and see if it is above your target level or over 180. If it is too high, one way to lower it is to drink a large glass of water and exercise by taking a brisk walk. Call your health care team if your blood sugar is high more than 3 times in 2 weeks and you dont know why.
Why Does Blood Sugar Go Up At Night
There are many factors that can cause your blood sugar to increase at night. For example: what food you ate during the day, how much and when you exercised, whether you ate snacks before bed, the timing of your insulin doses, and your stress level. You can experience different patterns of high blood sugar at night. You may start with high glucose when you go to bed, start the night in range but go high several hours later, or spend most of the night in range until the hours just before you wake up. By identifying your bodys patterns, you can figure out what is causing your high blood sugar and how to address it.
Common causes of a glucose increase at night include:
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Complications Of High Blood Sugar
Diabetes is one of the main causes of high blood sugar levels, but there are other causes that can impact your blood glucose and your risk for hyperglycemia.
Hyperglycemia is the medical term for high blood sugar levels. You can have temporary spikes in blood sugar after eating a large meal or as a result of medication side effects. Chronically elevated blood sugar levels are dangerous and common in those with diabetes. Without treatment, you run the risk of a diabetic coma.
Ketoacidosis is a condition that develops when elevated blood glucose levels go untreated. Without glucose to use for fuel, your body begins to burn fat instead and produces ketones. When there are too many ketones in the blood, it will turn acidic, which can very quickly lead to ketoacidosis, a diabetic coma, and even death.
People without diabetes can develop a similar condition known as ketosis, but they can tolerate a certain level of ketones because inulin is still effectively working.
Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome is another serious complication of high blood sugar. This is more common among individuals with type 2 diabetes and is triggered by an infection or illness.
As a result of the high blood sugar, your body tries to push out the excess glucose by passing it through your urine. Without treatment, this can result in life-threatening dehydration so prompt medical attention would be necessary.
Unexpectedly High Blood Sugar Readings Can Be A Bummer
If youre living with type 2 diabetes, your doctor has probably told you time and time again that maintaining control over your blood sugar is essential.
Controlling blood sugar is important for two main reasons, says Lynn Grieger, RD, CDCES, a certified personal trainer in Prescott, Arizona, and a medical reviewer for Everyday Health. On a day-to-day basis, people just feel better when their blood sugar stays in a healthy range. Over the long term, its the best thing you can do to prevent complications of diabetes from occurring. Diabetes complications include nerve damage, kidney disease, skin conditions, eye damage, heart disease, and stroke, according to the American Diabetes Association.
One of the main and most frequently discussed contributors to high blood sugar is a diet too rich in carbohydrates, which once digested turn into sugar . Certain high-carb foods are among the most common foods that spike blood sugar, she explains.
There are some triggers of high blood sugar, however, that are out of your control or can sneak up on you. Such triggers can make it difficult to manage blood sugar levels even when you think youre doing everything right.
Here are 10 surprising yet common causes of high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia.
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How Is Dka Treated
DKA is very serious, but it can be treated if you go to the doctor or hospital right away. To feel better, a person with DKA needs to get insulin and fluids through a tube that goes into a vein in the body .
Let your parents or someone on your diabetes health care team know if you have any of these symptoms or are sick and don’t know what to do to take care of your diabetes.
Always wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace that says you have diabetes. Then, if you are not feeling well, whoever’s helping you will know to call for medical help. Medical identification can also include your doctor’s phone number or a parent’s phone number.
Is It Safe To Sleep With High Blood Sugar
Glucose levels that are occasionally a little high at night generally dont pose serious, immediate health concerns. Most people with diabetes cannot avoid some high glucose levels. However, frequent or long-term highs particularly extremely high levels can be dangerous. It is important for people with diabetes to reduce high blood sugar as much as possible for two key reasons:
Frequent hyperglycemia can lead to major health complications caused by damage to blood vessels and nerves, which can affect your eyes, heart, kidneys, and other organs. This occurs when glucose levels are too high over a long period of time.
Very high glucose levels can be a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis . This occurs mainly in people with type 1 diabetes and can be life-threatening. For more information on DKA, read Ketosis vs. Ketoacidosis: Whats the Difference.
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Postprandial Hypotension And Blood Pressure
Some people are genetically predisposed to postprandial hypotension. In others, it comes on after a stroke, accident, or other trauma damages key nerves or blood pressure sensors. In most people, though, postprandial hypotension stems from aging-related changes that interfere with the bodys ability to respond quickly to sudden changes in blood pressure.
A major culprit is high blood pressure, which stiffens arteries, making it harder for them to narrow and relax as needed. Failure of blood pressure sensors in the arteries or stretch receptors in the stomach can lead to postprandial hypotension, as can diabetes, Parkinsons disease, and other nerve-damaging conditions.
What Is The Somogyi Effect
A second possible cause of high blood sugar levels in the morning is the Somogyi effect, sometimes also called rebound hyperglycemia. It was named after the doctor who first wrote about it.
If your blood sugar drops too low in the middle of the night while you are sleeping, your body will release hormones in an attempt to rescue you from the dangerously low blood sugar. The hormones do this by prompting your liver to release stored glucose in larger amounts than usual. But this system isnt perfect in a person with diabetes, so the liver releases more sugar than needed which leads to a high blood sugar level in the morning. This is the Somogyi effect.
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When To Call For Medical Advice
It is important to note that very high blood glucose levels can be dangerous and it is important to be aware of the symptoms and risk factors of the following conditions:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis a short term complication most commonly associated with type 1 diabetes
- Hyperosmolar Hyperglycaemic State a short term complication most commonly associated with type 2 diabetes
If you are struggling to keep your blood glucose levels under control, speak to your GP or consultant who can advise you or refer you onto a diabetes education course.
How Do Steroids Affect Blood Sugar
If youre prescribed steroids and live with diabetes, you will notice that your blood sugars may increase as a result .
If youre prescribed a steroid treatment, make sure the doctor knows you have diabetes. Doctors may sometimes be able to prescribe a different drug that does not interfere with blood sugar levels.
Steroids suppress the effectiveness of insulin, causing insulin resistance, and make the liver release stored glucose into the bloodstream.
The combination of these two actions can make blood sugars much harder to manage while taking steroids, resulting in higher blood sugars levels, and much more insulin is required to manage diabetes as a result.
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ADA Guidelines on Alcohol & Blood Sugar
The American Diabetes Association does have guidelines regarding alcohol and blood sugar and how alcohol affects blood sugar. Some of their recommendations include:
- The advice when it comes to alcohol and blood sugar is no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
- If you have diabetes, you shouldnt drink when your blood sugar levels are low or you have an empty stomach.
- People with diabetes shouldnt count the calories in an alcoholic drink as a carbohydrate choice in their meal plan.
- Certain types of alcoholic beverages may be more detrimental for people with diabetes, including heavy craft beers.
The amount of carbs and sugar varies in every alcohol, so its important to pay attention to labels and serving sizes when considering safe alcohol and blood sugar practices.
Great Bedtime Snacks For People Living With Diabetes
For some people, a healthy bedtime snack helps to prevent glucose swings during the night. By eating a small snack that is full of protein and healthy fats , your body may be better able to avoid an overnight high but if you take insulin, be sure to cover the carbohydrates in your snack even if it only requires a small dose of insulin.
Here are some snack ideas:
Plain nuts or seeds try eating a small handful
Raw vegetables, such as carrots, celery, cucumbers, or tomatoes, with a small amount of hummus or peanut butter
Plain yogurt, and you can add berries or cinnamon
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Lack Of Physical Activity
Lack of physical activity can increase your blood sugar, as skeletal muscles are a main part of the body that uses glucose for energy or stores extra glucose as glycogen for later use. With low levels of physical activity, the muscles become inactive and do not remove glucose efficiently from the blood.
Regular exercise can help lower blood sugar levels by increasing the need for muscles to remove glucose from the blood to use for energy.
How To Test For Ketones
You can use a urine test strip or blood ketone meter and ketone test strip to test for ketones at home. Testing either urine or blood is important, but when possible, a blood test is preferred because it gives you and your care team more precise information about your ketone levels. Because urine may have been in the bladder for some time, the results from these tests may show levels that are either higher or lower than the ketone levels that are actually circulating in your body. It is also very important to know that urine test trips degrade over time, so if you are using this method, you need to look at expiration dates carefully.
Your diabetes care team can give you specific directions about when you should check for ketones, but in general, you should check for them when your blood glucose is 240 mg/dL or higher. You should also check for ketones if you notice any of the DKA symptoms listed above or if you are sick it is possible to have ketones while your blood glucose levels are within range .
At-home urine test strips will change color to show the level of ketones in the urine. They typically report results as negative, trace, small, moderate or large. Blood ketone meters will provide a number that indicates the ketone levels. The following ranges are generally used:
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High Blood Sugar: Causes Complications And How To Lower Blood Sugar
Your body breaks down glucose for energy using the insulin produced by the pancreas. This is required for our bodies to function. Illness can have an impact on the way our pancreas functions. Read this to learn how high blood sugar can affect your health.
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Your body requires energy to function, and this energy comes from food. Specifically, your body breaks down glucose for energy using the insulin produced by the pancreas.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes cause impairment to this breakdown of sugar in the body, causing blood glucose levels to become irregular. When glucose is not broken down into energy, it can build up in the bloodstream and then becomes a health problem.
Your pancreas produces insulin, which breaks down glucose. With type 1 diabetes, the cells that produce insulin are mistakenly attacked by your immune system. As a result of this autoimmune condition, blood sugar levels can become dangerously high without intervention.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body no longer responds to insulin as well as it should and then also causes glucose to accumulate in the blood.
The Effects Of Protein And Fat
The rate at which food leaves your stomach, called gastric emptying, affects the amount of sugar in your blood after you eat. Protein and fat both slow down gastric emptying, which helps keep blood sugar lower shortly after a meal. In a study published in 2016 in the journal Diabetologica, people who ate high protein-foods before eating carbohydrates , experienced a rise in glucagon, which is thought to play a role in slowing down gastric emptying.
Plus, says Palinski-Wade, “if you’re eating a meal that has a large amount of fat or protein, the fat, the protein or the fiber will slow down the absorption and conversion of the sugar, so the peak might be a bit delayed.” She suggests eating carbs with at least one good source of fiber, protein or fat. “Not only is it going to help with the release of blood sugar,” she says, “but it’s also going to help keep you more satisfied.”
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