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What Influences Blood Sugar? (Hint: Everything.)

“So the food you eat makes your blood sugar go high, right? And the insulin makes it go lower?”

I clearly remember asking this of my certified diabetes educator, way back in the day, as I was trying to make sense of the things that could influence my blood sugar.

It wasn’t until I was a little bit older, with access to different diabetes technologies, that I saw just how many things left their mark on my blood sugar.  This morning, with only emotional stress as an influencer, I watched my blood sugar take the straight road north on my Dexcom graph:

My emotions have their way with my blood sugars all the frigging time.  The math isn’t always repeatable.  Easy morning + healthy breakfast + in-range fasting blood sugar = in range post-breakfast blood sugar.  Stressful morning + diabetes – rational thoughts = rising blood sugar.

Getting the number after the equal sign to remain “in range” takes more work that I’m willing to admit at times.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. lindsay #

    So true. I left a high-stress job about 2 years ago and my A1 has dropped by a point; my doctor keeps asking if I’m making better use of the Dexcom, what in my diet changed – it literally was 90% stress. (Although, I still for some reason subconsciously find the stupid TSA process at the airport stressful, even though only my BS recognizes it – straight up when I approach those scanners!)

    10/7/14; 12:34 pm
  2. Dan #

    Hi Kerri,
    I agree that stress can have a major and unpredictable impact on our blood glucose levels. What I have been able to notice is that an intensive exercise routine facilitates lower glucose and have a positive action on the upcoming stressful day. It gets worse for me when the stress level remains high and I am unable to counteract with a period of exercise. Thanks for the comment and as always have a great day.

    10/7/14; 1:49 pm
  3. Emma #

    I got my Dexcom fairly recently and only wear it on and off about every other week. But I think most of the time it just adds to my stress level. Adding to that two honors courses, precalculus, and my first AP course, and all the homework that comes with it (as a sophomore in high school). So sometimes the stress is just off the charts bringing my BG up with it.

    10/7/14; 7:23 pm
  4. basic Joe #

    No CGM to reference yet, but historically while stress will usually give me a consistent BG drop, it sometimes causes a slow climb similar to slipping into insulin resistance. I chalk the increase up to adrenalin. But now and then another wildcard comes into play. I deal with typically mild to sometimes moderate depression, but when it recently edged toward the clinical level I had to run about 150% as much insulin- both basal and boluses- to maintain anywhere close to a good BG.
    I approach all such annoyances as challenges to defeat, and I am usually (eventually) able to do so as long as I don’t let it fuel the depression. But every now and then I’d love to get a break from the battle. Lacking that, I rely on a little medicinal dark chocolate, just an ounce. OK, maybe two.

    10/7/14; 8:41 pm
  5. Jim #

    No hint needed. I’m in your camp on this one…

    10/7/14; 10:36 pm
  6. I also find often that just thinking about diabetes, or the wind blowing a certain way when the sun shines in my window, effects my blood sugars. I’m sure the doctors and science would agree, it’s a thing.

    10/9/14; 1:50 am

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