Diabetes roller coaster means huge blood-glucose variations such as from high (spike) to low (crash) and vice versa.
What is Diabetes Roller Coaster?
A non-diabetic individual on hearing the word roller coaster, they start to imagine about amusement park rides, fun, excitements, and everything about good times.
What is blood glucose roller coaster? The blood glucose roller coaster refers to the vicious cycle of blood glucose spikes and crash. The blood glucose is low, followed by high, then drop again. And this cycle continues until you do enough to get out of the roller coaster ride that every person with diabetes hates to ride.
Diabetes blood-glucose roller-coaster is the worst ride at the diabetes amusement park.
For diabetes, their lives are stuck on a roller coaster, whether you have fun with it or not. All people with diabetes are familiar with the term roller-coaster ride referring spikes and crash of their blood sugar levels. Every person with diabetes would come across the feeling of tiredness after a blood-sugar roller-coaster ride.
Riding a roller coaster for few minutes is full of fun; however, imagine riding a roller coaster all day long, every day is exhausting, irritating, and difficult to live.
What causes the roller coaster? Carbohydrate! It is one of the three macronutrients; other 2 are fat and protein. Carbohydrates metabolize as glucose, which causes faster blood glucose spikes. Protein causes slow blood glucose spike. Whereas fat does not, even it slows down carb digestion and early satiety. The blood glucose spikes drop shortly afterward. The more carbs you eat will produce blood glucose roller coasters with more significant highs and lows.
You know, it is very hard to get off the rollercoaster ride once it is started.
Ok, how to stop this roller coaster? First, you should know what are the effects of foods, activities, stress, de-stress activity, etc. on your blood glucose level. To understand this, you should get a blood glucose meter and try testing before and after the above said blood glucose influencers. It helps to learn how to stop the roller coaster!
How do you prevent this tedious roller coaster? First and foremost you should remove refined carbs, instead use whole grains why? Because whole grains contain soluble, insoluble fibers, and along with more nutrients. These combination slows down the carb digestion and prevents blood glucose spikes.
18 Most Important Reasons for Blood Sugar Swings
- Diet – Watch, what you eat? Since food is the most important things, you can do to control your blood glucose. The wrong choice of meals with too many carbs, such as white rice and pasta can cause your blood sugar to soar. Even some fruits are high in sugar such as bananas; it is acceptable to have fruits but not too much.
- Skipping Breakfast - Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for people with diabetes. The study showed that on the daily breakfast was skipped, all-day spikes in blood sugar levels resulted. The researchers believed skipping breakfast can negatively affect the function of pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin.
- More significant Dinner – The digestion is better during the day than night after sunset. The study shows those who consumed a big breakfast in the morning (700 calories) and a small dinner in the evening (200 calories) had better control of their blood sugar. Those who ate a small breakfast (200 calories) and consumed a big dinner (700 calories) had wost control of their blood sugar.
- Chinese Food raises BS: Because the food contains a combination of high carb, fat, and Monosodium glutamate (MSG). It makes your blood sugar rise and stays up longer. Check your blood sugar 2 hours after food to know who your body react to Chinese food.
- Sugar-Free Foods (raises BS): They will raise your blood sugar levels. Why? Because of excess carbs from starches. Check the total carbohydrates content on the Nutrition Facts label. Also, look for the presence of sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and xylitol. These sweeteners with fewer carbs than sugar (sucrose), still they can raise your blood sugar levels.
- Dried Fruits (raises BS): Fruit is a healthy choice, but dried fruits such as raisins, cranberries, cherries, or dates contain more carbs.
- Low physical activity – Even walking can lower your blood sugar by improving how your body handles insulin, which improves insulin sensitivity. Conversely, no or low physical activity can raise your blood glucose level.
- Stress – puts you on fight-or-flight response, which prompts your body to act like it is under attack and increases certain hormone levels such as cortisol. In response, your body starts burning stored energies such as glucose and fat to meet out this emergency energy requirement. When there is a rise in cortisol level, then insulin becomes less sensitive. In the case of diabetes, it is much worst. Relax by doing yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and exercise. Also, learn to manage or change the things that stress you.
- Lack of sleep – Restless nights hurt your mood, energy level as well as spikes your blood sugar level. The study shows, people with diabetes who got just 4 hours of sleep, their insulin sensitivity dropped by 14 to 21 %.
- Cold or Illness (raises BS): During an illness, your body works hard to fight infection; this raises your blood sugar level. You know, medicine antibiotics and the decongestants can affect your blood sugar.
- Certain medications such as Corticosteroids prednisone used for rashes, arthritis, asthma, etc. This corticosteroid use can raise your blood sugar and may even trigger diabetes in non-diabetics. Diuretics or water pills help lower high blood pressure can raise blood sugar. Some birth control pills and antidepressants can disturb (raise or lower) blood sugar.
- Menstruation & menopause causes unpredictable BS: Excess hormones secretion before or during menstruation. This excess of hormones causes cramping, bloating, mood swings as well as the less sensitive to insulin; thus, blood sugar rise (some may experience drop). Keeping a monthly record of your BS levels helps to understand how your menstrual cycle affects you. During menopause, it is even harder to control blood sugar. BS reduce to normal once the menstruation begins.
- Infection such as gum disease - Serious gum disease makes blood sugar control harder. Similar to other infections, it causes your blood glucose to rise. Make sure you brush and floss your teeth.
- Heat (unpredictable BS): Heat makes your blood sugar unpredictable and harder to control. Some may experience a blood sugar rise. Others, particularly those on insulin, may experience a drop in blood sugar. High temperatures can cause blood vessels to dilate; this enhances insulin absorption and thus leads to low blood sugar. Test often and drink more water to avoid dehydration. Heat can also affect your insulin, medicines, glucose meter, and test strips; so don’t leave them in high temperature such as an inside car parked in sunlight.
- Caffeine (raises BS): Your blood sugar can rise after a cup of coffee, even black coffee without sugar in it. Black tea, green tea, and energy drinks containing caffeine can also raise your BS. Everyone with diabetes reacts differently for food or beverages, so keep track of your response. Ironically, other compounds in coffee may help prevent type 2 diabetes in healthy people. The study shows, type 2 diabetes who took 500 milligrams of caffeine (equivalent to about four 8-ounce cups of coffee) experienced a 7.5 % increase in their average blood sugar levels. Caffeinated beverages include diet cola, coffee, and tea.
- Alcohol (rises & falls BS): It contains some carb, so it raises your blood sugar level and drops afterward for the next 12 hours. One alcohol drinks a day for a woman, and two drinks for a man is the maximum allowable limit for diabetes. One bottle is 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1½ ounces of liquor like vodka or whiskey.
- Smoking – Smokers are more likely to have trouble finding the right insulin dose as well as difficulty controlling their blood glucose level. Tobacco makes it harder to lower your blood sugar levels.
- Artificial Sweeteners - A study published in the journal Nature. It reported that the consumption of zero-calorie artificial sweeteners. It is present in diet sodas, and sweeteners often added to coffee and tea. It leads to glucose intolerance, increased blood sugar levels, and potentially increase the type 2 diabetes risk.
Most cases of the blood sugar roller coaster (BS spike crash) are instrumental by lack of motivation and emotional energy. To bring back control and to stop the diabetes roller coaster, you need to be in:
- Positive thinking,
- Focusing on your success,
- Better management of stress,
- Diabetes education (knowledge is power),
- Turn your anger useful
Healthy mindsets and keep moving can help normalizing your blood-glucose level and stops BS spikes and drops.
Observe your body and try learning:
- Foods that make your blood sugar spikes,
- Physical activities that bring a blood sugar drop
- How your illness disturbs your diabetes control,
- How your mental feeling affects your blood-sugar level.
Be positive and keep a brave heart and mind; this helps to normalize your blood-sugar level without any fearful rise and fall.