Blood sugar spikes – why, oh why

I will be talking about type 2 diabetes that I am more familiar with, since I happened to have it.

As a common belief has it, the only reason for the blood sugar spikes is indulging in sweets. However it’s not that simple. A vast number of other factors can cause it. Even something as trivial as a cup of coffee.

1. Artificial sweeteners.
Many folks with diabetes reach for the diet drinks as a substitute for regular soda or juice because they assume that sugar-free beverages won’t raise their blood sugar. But artificial sweeteners may or may not be completely neutral after all, and the jury is out on this one. A few sites such as Healthline report several studies with mixed and inconclusive results.   The problem is, sugar-free foods might contain sugar alcohols that can increase blood sugar level.  They add sweetness with fewer carbs than sugar, but they may still have enough to boost your BG levels.

2.  Chinese food, pizza, bagels
When you dig into a plate of sesame beef or sweet and sour chicken, it isn’t just the white rice that can cause a problem.  High-fat foods can make your blood sugar stay up for longer.  The same is true for pizza, french fries, and other goodies that have a lot of carbs and fat. The dough and the sauce are the culprits as well.  Bagels for once are packed with carbs, and pizza has a high glycemic index. You might want to check your postprandial (after meals) BG level to know how this food affects you.

3.  Coffee
Can coffee raise blood sugar? It depends. Some studies suggest that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing T2D. However if you already have diabetes, drinking coffee can raise both blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. This doesn’t happen with decaf coffee.

4.  Bad cold
Here’s what happens when you have it. Your blood sugar rises as your body works to fight off an illness. Drinking water and other fluids to stay hydrated might help. Beware that some medicines, such as antibiotics and the decongestants that can clear your sinuses, can affect your blood sugar as well.

5. Stress
Overwhelmed or unhappy at work or elsewhere? It takes a toll. When you’re under stress, your body releases hormones that can make your blood sugar rise. This is more common for people with type 2 diabetes. Relaxation techniques can help, such as deep breathing and exercise. Or else, you can always try to change the things that are stressing you out.

6. Meds
Some of them can boost your blood sugar and may even trigger diabetes in some people. Such as corticosteroids commonly prescribed to treat arthritis, asthma and other conditions; diuretics (water pills), some antidepressants, decongestants (cold medicines) and probably more. I believe that my T2D might have been triggered by corticosteroids that I was taking for the Rheumatoid Arthritis back in the day.

7. Alcoholic drinks
Some sources believe that drinking alcohol can spike blood sugar, especially mixed cocktails loaded with sugar, calories and carbs. However, what alcohol does is that it prevents the liver from doing its job which is to store glycogen (stored form of glucose), hence your BG can drop. This can happen within a few minutes of drinking alcohol and up to 12 hours afterward. It’s probably a good idea to wear a diabetes bracelet to alert everyone to the fact that you have diabetes.

8. Hot weather
Remember how hot it can get in summer? You’d know what I’m trying to say if you live in the Midwest USA where we’re right in the middle of a quite cold winter right now and the summer is nowhere in sight.

In the summertime, however, high body temperature can lower blood sugar. On the other hand, folks with diabetes tend to get dehydrated for a number of reasons, and this can raise blood sugar. This can happen if your don’t drinking enough water or when high BG causes polyuria (frequent urination). Dehydration can also lead to heat exhaustion; people with diabetes tend to feel heat more than those who don’t have it.

If you are on insulin, keep in mind that warm skin absorbs it faster, while dehydrated skin, more slowly. It would help to keep your injection site close to the normal temperature and hydration.

Here now, my last fasting number. I don’t check it every morning but when I do, it’s always normal. 91 is super normal for me. As you can see, it was taken at 12:18 pm which is what happens when I am up all night and then sleep til noon. Oh well. Am not complaining about insomnia, though. I am a night owl, feel just fine and full of energy at night. I used to work nights and chances are, my internal clock is still ticking in the same way.

Jan 2 - 91

And that’s all for now. In my next post, will write about what lowers blood sugar.

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2 Responses to Blood sugar spikes – why, oh why

  1. Rick Phillips says:

    Oh I could so add to the list. I think looking at the fire makes my blood sugar go up? Why? It’s a diabetes mystery.

    Liked by 1 person

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