What Makes Blood Glucose Go Up or Down?

Food, diabetes medicines, and physical activity have the most effect on blood glucose levels most of the time, but there are other things that can raise or lower blood glucose. Here’s a list of some of what can make your blood glucose go up, go down, or go down too much – resulting in hypoglycemia.

UP

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  • Eating carbohydrate-containing foods
  • Not taking the diabetes medicines you need
  • Not taking enough of the diabetes medicines you’ve been prescribed
  • Taking certain non-diabetes–related medicines, such as steroids, some oral contraceptives, laxatives (if dehydration results), or diuretics
  • Eating meals or snacks too close to each other
  • Inactivity
  • Infection or other illness
  • Changes in hormone levels (for example, during menstrual cycles)
  • Stress

DOWN

  • Taking diabetes medicines
  • Being physically active
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Taking certain non-diabetes–related medicines

DOWN TOO LOW

  • Not eating enough carbohydrate
  • Taking too high a dose of diabetes medicine
  • Taking certain non-diabetes–related medicines such as warfarin and some antibiotics
  • Eating meals or snacks too far apart from each other
  • Drinking alcohol, especially on an empty stomach
  • Being more physically active than usual (without adjusting your diabetes regimen to compensate)