What Makes Blood Glucose Go Up or Down?

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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.


  • 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


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


  • 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)

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