Illness & Infections
Illness and infections can affect blood sugars. This occurs whether you have a tooth infection or a major illness. When your body is under this type of stress, stress hormones are released. These hormones work the reverse of insulin. They signal the liver to send sugar into the bloodstream. As a result, blood sugar rises.
When a person is ill, their self-care plays a major role in blood sugar control. Not eating may cause low blood sugars. Drinking a lot of juice will raise blood sugars. Some over-the-counter medications can raise or lower blood sugars. Not taking insulin or diabetes pills increases blood sugars that are already elevated from the illness or infection. Also, not testing blood sugars often enough can lead to dangerously elevated blood sugars.
Even though blood sugars rise during illness, you can prevent them from getting out of control. The following is a list of things that can help:
- Eat your normal meals or take a small amount of carbohydrate (such as juice or jello®) every hour or two to replace the carbohydrates in the food you would normally eat.
- Ask your doctor about good choices for over-the-counter medications.
- Watch your blood sugars closely. Test blood sugars 3-4 times a day.
- Know when to call your doctor for more advice.
Talk to your diabetes team about caring for your diabetes when you are sick. Knowing what to do can prevent bigger problems.