Disclaimer - This content has been created for information purposes only, please consult your doctor before taking any decision on diabetes management. Although great care has been taken in compiling and checking the information, Johnson and Johnson Ltd., and its associates shall not be responsible, or in any way liable for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies in this publication whether arising from negligence or otherwise however, or for any consequence arising there from.

Blood glucose is affected by food, exercise, emotions, stress, insulin and other medications. However, you can't always feel the changes. Self-monitoring is one of the best ways to know for sure where your blood glucose level is. Knowing your blood glucose level at different times of day can help you and your doctor see how well your meals, activities, medications and insulin are working and what action to take, if necessary.

See how they affect your lifestyle:

1. Food

How blood glucose levels change with food

Of all things that affect your blood glucose, food has a significant effect. What you eat and how much you eat are very important, especially when it comes to carbohydrates. Let us look at how blood glucose is affected by food.

How blood glucose levels change with food
How blood glucose levels change with Diet

Use self-monitoring (SMBG) to guide your food choices

SMBG before and after a meal can help you see how different foods and portions affect your blood glucose. On your log sheets, circle SMBG results that may be linked to specific mealtimes or foods to show to your doctor. If your blood glucose doesn't stay in range, talk to your doctor.

How blood glucose levels change with Proper Diet

2. Exercise

How blood glucose levels change with exercise

Generally, exercise will make you feel better and improve your overall health. Exercise can help lower your blood glucose levels and control your weight, and lowers your risk of heart disease. It makes your body more sensitive to natural or injected insulin - which is good - but can increase the likelihood of blood glucose levels falling too low (hypoglycemia). The benefits, of course, far outweigh the risks.

How blood glucose levels change with Proper Exercise

When you exercise, watch out for:

  • Hypoglycemia, which usually occurs gradually. Listen to your body. If you sweat more than usual, feel shaky or anxious, or hungry, stop exercising and follow your doctor's advice about hypoglycemia. You may need to eat candy or drink a glass of juice to get blood glucose back into the Diabetes Safe Zone.
  • Dehydration, or the lack of enough fluid in the body. During exercise, your body uses more fluid to keep you cool. By the time you feel thirsty, you may already be dehydrated. Dehydration affects your blood glucose level. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise.
  • High or low blood glucose levels before exercise, Self-monitor your blood glucose before exercising, and wait until levels are within the Diabetes Safe Zone before starting, particularly in very hot or cold conditions.

Your exercise checklist

  1. Ask your doctor about the right exercise for you.
  2. Check your feet for blisters or sores before and after exercising.
  3. Self-monitor blood glucose before and after exercising.
  4. Have a snack handy in case your blood glucose level drops too low.

Regular monitoring helps you spot patterns to try to avoid high and low blood glucose, reduce complications of diabetes, and help control your diabetes.

3. Sickness

How blood glucose levels change with sickness

When you have a cold, the flu or other infections and illnesses, you have to take extra care of yourself. Sickness elevates blood glucose levels (because your body is working hard to recover), and keeping tabs of your blood glucose levels by self-monitoring is even more important while you are ill.

If you are sick:

  1. Inform your doctor and provide as much detail as possible. Get specific instructions. Seek his advice if things aren't getting better.
  2. Keep taking your diabetes medication.
  3. Self-monitor per your doctor's instructions, and inform your doctor of unusual changes or patterns in your results. You may need to adjust your dose of insulin (medications).
  4. Stick to your recommended diet, or try crackers and soup. You still need the calories.
  5. Drink water and sugar-free drinks to avoid dehydration, especially if feverish and passing a lot of urine. Try to drink at least 150 ml of water or other calorie-free liquid every hour while awake.

Regular monitoring helps you spot patterns to try to avoid high and low blood glucose, reduce complications of diabetes, and help control your diabetes.

4. Stress

How blood glucose levels change with stress

Stress can affect you and your blood glucose levels in two ways, if you have diabetes.

  • First, you may neglect yourself if you are under stress. You may put off exercise, drink more alcohol, and forget to plan meals and self-monitor blood glucose.
  • Second, stress hormones could also alter your blood glucose levels directly. Scientists have found that if you have Type 1 diabetes, the effects are mixed. Most people's glucose levels go up with mental stress; blood glucose levels in others go down. If you have Type 2 diabetes, mental stress will likely raise your blood glucose levels. Physical stress, such as illness or injury, causes higher blood glucose levels in people with either type of diabetes.

Check stress levels

Before self-monitoring, fix a number scale from 1 to 10 to describe your level of mental stress. After self-monitoring, write down the stress rating next to your glucose level. After a few weeks, look for a pattern. Draw a graph if it helps. Do high stress levels often occur with high glucose levels, and low stress levels with low glucose levels? If so, stress may affect your glucose control.