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Tips for Understanding Sudden Diabetic Highs and Lows

The sudden diabetic highs and lows

You think you’ve got a good handle on your diabetes. You’ve figured out what your body needs and are on top of your blood glucose. And then – out of nowhere – your blood glucose levels go off track. This can be especially true when your activity or eating habits change.

It can be frustrating to have an unexpected high or low when you do your best at managing your diabetes. But it happens. Diabetes requires oversight every day. And once in a while, things can go a little awry.

Try to focus on moving forward by first taking a step back. Look closely at the time during which you saw these unexpected results. This Assessment Tool can help:

Ask yourself:

  1. Did my diet change, even slightly?
    This includes eating later than planned, skipping a meal, or eating more or less than usual.
  2. Was I sick at any point?
    Even a mild cold can impact your blood glucose levels.
  3. Was I less or more active recently, or exercising in a new way that is at a different intensity than usual?
    This includes things that don’t seem like exercise, like housework, mowing the lawn or shoveling snow.
  4. Did I drink alcohol this week?
    Alcohol affects blood sugar levels for 24 hours or more after you drink.
  5. Have I been under more stress than usual?
    Ask someone close to you if they’ve noticed anything, as it’s not always easy to see this in yourself.
  6. Is my blood glucose meter working ok?
    Do a test with control solution to check its accuracy.
  7. Did I change anything in my insulin therapy?
    This includes your insulin dose, delays in injections, a pump disconnection, or change in injection site area.
  8. Should I test my blood glucose more often?
    Testing more frequently when you’re experiencing unexpected highs or lows could help you understand how day-to-day factors affect your blood glucose levels.
  9. Is there a new pattern in my highs and lows?
    If you’re still experiencing highs or lows, chart your test results and your eating and exercise patterns to help you see what’s working and what’s not.

It’s not always possible to pinpoint exactly what caused your blood glucose to rise or fall unexpectedly but tracking your glucose test levels gives you valuable insight. Set up an appointment with your healthcare team to discuss your results and to decide on a course of action.

While using this Assessment Tool may be helpful, if unexpected and significant hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia occurs and/or persists, please consult your HCP.

References:

NIDDK. Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them to Manage Your Diabetes. Accessed August 19, 2019

Mayo Clinic. Diabetes management: How Lifestyle, Daily routine affects Blood Sugar. Accessed August 09, 2019

US-OTB-1900029