How Steroids Affect Your Blood Sugar
Corticosteroids, or steroids for short, are a common medication prescribed for a multitude of ailments, but can often cause blood sugar issues for people living with diabetes.
If youve ever been prescribed a steroid, you may know that they spike blood sugars easily and quickly, and can lead to stubborn hyperglycemia for days on end.
In this article, I will describe exactly how steroids affect blood sugar and what you can do about it.
At the end of the article, I will also describe the rare situation where steroid therapy may actually cause type 2 diabetes by triggering a complication called steroid-induced diabetes.
Your Blood Sugars Relationship With Your Menstrual Cycle
How is blood sugar connected to your period?
What if you have diabetes?
How does each point in your cycle affect blood sugar?
Managing blood glucose levels alongside your cycle
In the words of Def Leppard, pour some sugar on meeeeee. Except maybe when menstruating? If you have blood sugar issues, experience hypoglycemia or suffer from diabetes, then you may have noticed fluctuations during your menstrual cycle thanks to constantly changing hormone levels. These changes can be difficult to manage in themselves, never mind the added stress of sensitivity to insulin.
If you suffer from diabetes and your hormones seem unpredictable, trying to manage your blood sugar alongside this can be challenging. One solution wont suit everyone, but here are a few things you might want to know about this frustrating but important topic
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How Are Steroids Used
There are many different ways one can take steroids. The most common is by mouth in the form of tablets, capsules, or syrups. Steroids can also be ingested via an inhaler or intranasal spray, most commonly to help alleviate asthma attacks or inflammation from seasonal allergies.
Steroids can also be applied topically in the form of creams and ointments to help heal skin conditions.
Finally, steroids administered by injection are the most common way to treat pain and inflammation people may experience when they suffer from tendonitis.
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Where To Find Support
If youre feeling worried, or if youve got more questions about steroid-induced diabetes, were here to help.
You can give our confidential helpline a call and talk to one of our highly trained advisors. Or you can hear from other people with the condition in our online support forum. You dont need to sign up to read about their experiences, but you will need to become a member if youd like to reach out and speak to them.
Taking Steroids Expect Glucose Turbulence
A discussion of the different ways that steroid medications can cause high glucose levels and erratic readings on your continuous glucose monitor .
2 min read
Weve had a number of customers who have had to take short courses of steroids for various medical conditions, and have seen huge swings in their glucose levels. It can be somewhat frightening and disheartening if you arent expecting it. This article will dive into why this happens.
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Type 1 Diabetes Blood Glucose Monitoring
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Surprising Things That Can Spike Your Blood Sugar
When you first found out you had diabetes, you tested your blood sugar often to understand how food, activity, stress, and illness could affect your blood sugar levels. By now, youve got it figured out for the most part. But thenbam! Something makes your blood sugar zoom up. You try to adjust it with food or activity or insulin, and it dips really low. Youre on a rollercoaster no one with diabetes wants to ride.
Do you know all of these blood sugar triggers?
Knowledge is power! Look out for these surprising triggers that can send your blood sugar soaring:
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Impact Of Human Growth Hormone On Hypoglycemia
Adults with growth hormone deficiency can benefit from HGH therapy on many levels. Human growth hormone injections reverse the symptoms of GH deficiency. After exploring the question of does HGH cause hypoglycemia, we see that low growth hormone levels can cause too much insulin to deplete glucose in the bloodstream.
For further information about growth hormone deficiency and hypoglycemia, please contact Nexel Medical for a confidential, no-cost consultation.
*HGH therapy can help improve symptoms of both hypo and hyperglycemia.
Checking Your Blood Sugar
If you have diabetes, it is very important that your blood sugar level is tested during steroid treatment. If you do not already check your blood sugar, you will need to start checking it. If you do, you will need to check it more often. When you first take the steroids, make sure you have enough blood-testing equipment with you at home.
Your doctor may also suggest you check your blood or urine for ketones. Ketones are chemicals that can sometimes build up in the body when there is a severe lack of insulin. Ketones are toxic to the body and large amounts can be very serious. A high level of ketones in the body is called diabetic ketoacidosis . It mainly affects people with type 1 diabetes, but it can affect anyone with diabetes who uses insulin. It can also affect people who control their diabetes with tablets and their diet, but this is rare.
You should keep a record of your blood sugar levels and when you take the steroids. This is so you can see if there is a pattern. You can share the record with your doctors and nurses.
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Understanding The Processes Behind The Regulation Of Blood Glucose
20 April, 2004
VOL: 100, ISSUE: 16, PAGE NO: 56
Pat James, PhD, is senior lecturer in applied physiology
Roger McFadden, MSc, is senior lecturer in applied physiology both at the School of Health and Policy Studies, The University of Central England in Birmingham
Pat James, PhD, is senior lecturer in applied physiology
Glucose is one of the bodys principal fuels. It is an energy-rich monosaccharide sugar that is broken down in our cells to produce adenosine triphosphate. ATP is a small packet of chemical energy that powers the millions of biochemical reactions that take place in the body every second.
We obtain glucose from the food that we eat, predominantly starch-rich foods such as potatoes, rice, bread, and pasta. Starch is a polysaccharide that is broken down by digestive enzymes into individual glucose molecules.
In the small intestine, glucose is absorbed into the blood and travels to the liver via the hepatic portal vein. The hepatocytes absorb much of the glucose and convert it into glycogen, an insoluble polymer of glucose.
This is stored in the liver and can be reconverted into glucose when blood-glucose levels fall. Other types of simple sugars in our diet such as fructose, sucrose and lactose are also fuels that contribute to the production of ATP.
If glucose levels fall to too low a concentration or rise too high then this situation can lead to the neurological processes in the brain being compromised.
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Which Side Effects Are Worse On Prednisone 20 Mg Tablets
If your doctor prescribed a prednisone 20 mg tablet or higher, then youve been given a high dose. So which prednisone side effects get worse the higher the dose? In this article, I will share the side effects to expect at higher doses of prednisone according to the five most comprehensive pharmacy databases.
My High Dose Prednisone Experience
First, I want to share my personal experience taking high doses of prednisone and other steroids. Because my immune system killed off so many of my blood platelets, doctors worried I could bleed to death. In the hospital they started with prednisone 60 mg, given as three prednisone 20 mg tablets. That only worked for a week to boost my platelets until they started to crash again.
So the hematologist prescribed another steroid, dexamethasone. I took #10 of the highest strength dexamethasone tablets each day for three days. The dose of dexamethasone I took equals approximately 267 mg of prednisone. Eventually, that failed as well, so my doctor started me on a slow taper down from prednisone 60 mg.
Tapering Roller Coaster
They pricked my arm each week to check my platelet level and decide whether I could continue tapering or whether I needed to go back up to a higher dose. I rode that roller coaster of blood draws for six months before they eventually resorted to chemotherapy which cured my problem, at least for now. Then I finished tapering off prednisone after nine months of high-to-low doses of prednisone.
What Foods Can Reverse Diabetes
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What Would A Doctor Prescribe Steroids For
Doctors prescribe steroids for many issues, including but not limited to treating the inflammation and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, asthma, and common allergies.
In more serious cases, steroids help treat Addisons disease, when the body lacks the ability to produce corticosteroid, that the body needs for proper functioning.
Steroids are also used to suppress the immune system to prevent organ rejection in transplant recipients.
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How Do Oral Steroids Affect My Glucose Levels
Individuals who find themselves taking oral steroids like predisone for a medical condition are likely to see their blood sugar go haywire while on the medication. There are many different ways of getting steroids in the body, like oral , inhaled, liquid drops , topical , and intravenous. Depending on the condition, a particular route may be favored over another. For a poison ivy rash, a cream might be ideal. For severe asthma, inhaled or intravenous might. For chronic sinusitis, oral pills may be prescribed. For styes, a eyedropper liquid form might be used. Oral and intravenous are the mostly likely to have a significant effect on glucose levels and metabolism.
Steroids are generally prescribed for their anti-inflammatory and immune suppressing properties, but have several side effects, of which one of the most severe is hyperglycemia .
One of our founders who normally has extremely stable glucose levels had to take a week of prednisone for a respiratory illness. His normal flat line glucose went from this:
Stable, low glucose levels in the 60-70 mg/dL range
Highly erratic glucose with large swings up to 150 mg/dL
Exaggerated elevation of glucose with slow return to normal
Oral steroids affect glucose regulation through a number of different mechanisms, all of which can lead to increased glucose levels in the blood. Here are some of the main causes:
The Peoples Pharmacy Perspective:
Dozens of other drugs, including statins and diuretics, can also interfere with blood glucose control. You can learn more about these in our eGuide to Preventing & Treating Diabetes.
We also discuss nondrug approaches such as cinnamon, vinegar, curcumin and coffee or supplements like selenium, bitter melon, fenugreek or nopal cactus. You will find it in the Health eGuides section.
Physicians should alert patients to the possibility that a medication could raise blood glucose when they prescribe it. There is a clear connection between prednisone and diabetes.
No should ever discontinue prednisone suddenly! If it becomes necessary to stop this corticosteroid, it should only be done under medical supervision. A gradual tapering is essential to prevent other serious complications.
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How Stress Affects The Body In Prediabetes
Stress is a part of daily life, and it can affect the body with prediabetes in many ways. Stress-induced symptoms such as foggy thinking, a pounding heart, exhaustion, upset stomach, and headaches can be all-too-familiar for people who feel overwhelmed with stress.
Stress can also affect blood sugar control, which can spell trouble if you have prediabetes. Lark Diabetes Prevention Program can help you manage stress when you have prediabetes so blood sugar can stay under control and you can stay as healthy as you can.
Almost every choice you make day and night can affect blood sugar levels, and Lark Diabetes Prevention Program can guide you in healthy decisions. This personalized coaching program uses proven methods to lower risk for type 2 diabetes. See if you are eligible below.
Dawn Phenomenon And Rebound Hyperglycemia
Blood glucose levels rise sharply in the early morning due to the release of certain hormones in the middle of the night.
These counter-regulatory hormones, which include glucagon, growth hormone, epinephrine and cortisol, increase the level of blood glucose by signalling the liver to release more glucose and by hindering glucose utilisation throughout the body.
Overnight, the surge in the amount of growth hormone and cortisol released by the body effectively increases glucose production in the liver to prepare the body for activity during the day.
For individuals without diabetes, these processes are balanced out by increased insulin secretion by the pancreas, which keeps blood glucose levels relatively stable.
But in people with type 1 diabetes , whose bodies are unable to produce insulin, and type 2 diabetes , where the livers response to insulin may not be sufficient to stop glucose production, changes in glucose metabolism during sleep can have a big impact on morning blood glucose levels.
In addition to the dawn phenomenon , there is another process that can cause high blood sugar in the early hours of the day.
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