Contributed By- Dr. Snehal Singh
Does your blood sugar go up and down rapidly? If yes, then it is important for you to know what causes blood sugar fluctuations to take necessary action. Erratic blood sugar levels are a common problem faced by many. There are several causes of blood sugar swings, most of which can be managed if known. Also, fluctuating blood sugar levels in diabetes is a matter of concern and must be attended at once. If you have diabetes or if you are working towards losing some weight, you must maintain healthy glucose levels.
It is obvious that increased sugar intake leads to blood sugar swings, but what causes blood sugar to rise without eating, is worth understanding.
15 surprising reasons for blood sugar fluctuations.
It is an age-old truth that stress increases the risk for many illnesses. Being under prolonged stress can not only be tiring but also dangerous for your health. Be it job stress or personal worries, stress releases hormones that raise blood sugar. Learn ways to manage your stress and practice relaxation to maintain healthy glucose levels.
Lack of Sleep
Lack of adequate sleep is a perfect case of what causes blood sugar to rise without eating. Inadequate sleep causes hormonal imbalance and raises blood sugar levels. It can also increase appetite causing more food intake, thus leading to increased sugar levels.
Early Morning High
Rise in blood sugar early morning is common in some people, particularly those who take medicines for diabetes. This may be due to the release of hormones early in the morning, before the waking time. If you notice such changes, it is better to discuss your medications and doses with your doctor.
Improper Blood Sugar Test
You may also be surprised to know that your blood sugar may show fluctuations if you do not take adequate care when testing. If you have handled food and not washed your hands properly before checking your blood sugar, the results can show high blood sugar. Also, if the diabetes test strips are not stored properly or if the blood sugar machine is not handled, as advised, it can show blood sugar fluctuations. This can give a false alarm or inaccurate results, which can be misleading.
Dehydration is common when you lose body fluids due to vomiting, diarrhoea, overexertion or overheating. Frequent urination, common in diabetes, too can cause dehydration and affect blood sugar levels. Drink plenty of water to maintain body fluids and preserve minerals in your body.
Cold and Flu
When you have a cold and flu, your body undergoes changes to combat the illness. This can cause blood sugar swings. Also, the medicines to treat such illnesses and syrups can add to blood sugar fluctuations.
Conditions that cause hormonal imbalance, thyroid problems, etc. can cause changes in blood sugar levels. Women often experience such changes before menstrual periods, menopause or in medical conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Although the effect of medicines varies from person to person, certain medications can cause erratic blood sugar levels. Certain diuretics, steroids, antidepressants or hormone related pills can affect your blood sugar levels.
Extreme cold or extreme heat can increase your body’s efforts to fight with temperature changes. This can be a reason for blood sugar going up and down rapidly. People with diabetes and those taking insulin need to be more careful. Staying indoors, wearing appropriate clothing and taking necessary precautions can help.
It is truly surprising to know that the widely used artificial sweeteners, especially by diabetics, can cause an upswing in your blood sugar levels. We often use them for taste, thinking that they are harmless, but the fact these sugar-free foods use other alternatives, which can cause erratic blood sugar levels. So, avoid getting into the trap of such foods.
Dried or Canned Fruits
While fruits are a great choice, dried fruits contain sugar and calories. Canned fruits usually contain plenty of sugar and can cause blood sugar fluctuations.
If you are wondering what raises your blood sugar levels, it could be your beverages. Studies suggest that a cup of coffee, even without adding sugar can affect your blood sugar levels. The caffeine present in coffee and other beverages can raise your blood sugar level. As it affects each one differently, check what suits you the best.
Alcohol can be one of the causes of your blood sugar going up and down rapidly. Alcohol contains loads of carbs, which can initially raise your blood sugar and then cause the levels to dip later. If you are a diabetic or are health conscious, it’s best to refrain from alcohol.
Sports / Energy Drinks
Sports drinks may sound great but they are often loaded with sugar, calories and artificial ingredients. This is one of the commonest causes of erratic blood sugar levels. For mild to moderate workout, water is enough to prevent dehydration and replenish the lost minerals. You can also try some natural options like coconut water instead.
Sometimes, you may feel that you have eaten very less but if the food taken is calorie rich, it can still add to your blood sugar. Complex carbs, fatty or rich foods often provide more than your calorie requirement.
You can check your blood sugar levels using a blood sugar machine at home itself, but remember to wash your hands thoroughly. It can help you get an idea if all is going well and may help in case of emergency. However, for most accurate results and regular monitoring of erratic blood sugar levels, it is advisable to take laboratory blood glucose tests. Identify the factors that affect your blood sugar. Take appropriate measures to maintain healthy glucose levels. It not only helps to manage diabetes but also helps to prevent other lifestyle disorders.