February 21, 2015

More on Blood Glucose Variables

This article from the Mayo Clinic covers some of the variables that I missed in my blog here on variances in blood glucose levels. This was written by a female and covers more than I hinted at in my blog.

Most of us understand that increased carbohydrate intake or decreased physical activity will raise our blood glucose level. When these are relatively consistent, then we need to think about the other variables that will affect our blood glucose levels. And yes, hormonal fluctuations caused by illness, injury, surgery, emotional stress, puberty, menses, and menopause can affect blood glucose levels.

Physical or emotional stress – This can cause the release of hormones called catecholamines, which often cause hyperglycemia or high blood glucose. Even if you don't have diabetes, you can develop hyperglycemia during severe illness. For those of us that have diabetes, we may need more insulin or oral diabetes medications during illness or stress. This should be something you talk to your doctor about if this happens to you.

The puberty variable – For children, insulin requirements increase during growth and especially during puberty. The cause, in part, can be attributed to the growth hormone as well as the sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone.

The menstruation and menopause variable – For girls and women, these times in life present unique challenges to blood glucose management. Estrogen and progesterone can induce temporary resistance to insulin, which can last up to a few days and then drop off.

Many women report having higher blood glucose levels a few days before beginning their period. Then when menstruation begins, some women continue to have hyperglycemia while others experience a sharp drop in blood glucose levels. During menopause, women often notice their blood glucose levels are more variable or less predictable than before.

For women with type 1 diabetes, significant hyperglycemia can lead to emergency complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis or diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome. For these conditions, immediate treatment is needed. Persistent hyperglycemia puts you at increased risk for long-term complications such as cardiovascular disease, blindness, or kidney failure.

Contrary to the advice of the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, frequent testing and recording of your blood glucose values will show patterns and make it easier for you and your doctor to manage your diabetes.

Always be proactive and ask your doctor to help you establish a 'sick day plan' to help you respond in the event of illness or injury. If you experience continued hyperglycemia, don't hesitate to ask your doctor to help you adjust your diabetes treatment regimen.

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