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Long Lost Member
591560
Total Posts: 3
Registered on: ‎07-12-2011

Why does exercise raise blood sugar?

I am recently diagnosed type 1 with no health insurance, so I hope you guys can help me!  Today, around 5 in the evening, I went to the gym for a light 45 minutes on an elliptical.  My BS was 171 before I started.  When I got home around an hour later, it was 227.  I waited another half of an hour, scrubbed my hands good, and retested - 307.  What is it about exercise that causes BS to rise?  Should  be taking insuling during or right after exercise to prevent this?  Is there anything else I can do to keep it down or get it down quickly?  All I could find was bogus information about exercise lowering BS, which is obviously not true!

Thanks in advance for any thoughts/advice you may have!
Long Lost Member
ramonanotthepest
Total Posts: 68
Registered on: ‎01-27-2010

Why does exercise raise blood sugar?

I'm a type II so let me get that out of the way.  If you are a new exerciser, than yes, your body will increase glucose production until it gets use to you exercising.  There is no easy answer because your rise depends on the type of exercise you are doing:

Ups and Downs of Insulin and Other Medications At the start of any activity, your body increases the release of glucose-raising hormones to prevent falls in your blood glucose levels. At the same time, your pancreas releases less insulin (if you still make any) during exercise. But if you have to depend on insulin by injections or pump or if you use certain other medications, your body may not be able to respond normally. You can’t turn off insulin from an injection site, and exercise can sometimes speed up its absorption somewhat by increasing blood flow to your muscles and skin. As a result, instead of having less insulin circulating around your bloodstream during exercise, you may end up with more than normal, which can easily lower your blood sugars too much. Similarly, certain oral diabetic medicines can also augment the effects of insulin during exercise or cause greater release, potentially resulting in hypoglycemia. The rest of this chapter will let you know what steps you can take to prevent lows, no matter what type of diabetes medications you use. INSULIN USE: EFFECT ON SPONTANEITY AND MORE Have you ever felt like jumping on your bike and going for a ride without giving any thought to where you’re going or how long you’ll be gone? When you have diabetes and you useinsulin, the problem with such spontaneity is that your insulin levels during an activity can greatly affect your blood sugar response to exercise (refer to figure 2.6 in chapter 2). To predict your response to a workout, you must take into account what types of insulin you use, when you last took any, and how much is in your bloodstream before, during, and afterward. Different insulins have varying times to peak action and unique durations, both of which can make activities (especially spontaneous ones) harder to handle. Several types of insulins are now on the market, further complicating matters. In general, insulins are considered rapid or short acting, intermediate acting, or long acting depending on their onset, peak, and duration. Each type of insulin potentially has a different effect on your blood sugar responses to exercise. A fact of life for insulin users is that spontaneity must usually be moderated with extra carbohydrate or immediate insulin changes to prevent hypoglycemia. Knowing when your insulins peaks is crucial to determining your blood sugar responses to exercise and your need for extra carbohydrate or lower insulin doses.

Colberg, Sheri (2008). Diabetic Athlete's Handbook (Kindle Locations 1084-1103). Human Kinetics Publishers. Kindle Edition. 

Taken from the Diabetic Athlete's Handbook:  There is soooo much more in this book so you may want to pick it up from your local library and/or purchase it from Amazon (I paid $12 for it and it has been extremely helpful to me.
Long Lost Member
keepitsteady
Total Posts: 9
Registered on: ‎02-11-2011

Why does exercise raise blood sugar?

I've been type 1 for 25 years and my A1C's are usually around 5.4, but I've had your experience sometimes.  For instance, in the morning I know to take insulin before I exercise or my blood sugar will jump during exercise.  I used to think that if I wasn't eating I shouldn't need to take insulin, but that's clearly not true for mornings.  Later in the day, I go by experience.  If your blood sugar goes up when you exercise at 5, then take a little insulin so that the exercise will make the insulin go farther.  In my experience, with a blood sugar of 171 at 5 pm, I'd take about 1 unit of Humalog to exercise.  If you're on Humalog and Lantus, apparently the Humalog you took for lunch has quit working, and the Lantus is not powerful enough late in the day (I split my Lantus dose into one in the evening and one in the morning, taking slightly more in the morning).  I'm not a medical person, but as I understand it the exercise calls for the liver to release stored sugar to help you exercise.  Whatever the reason, if you know that exercise will raise blood sugar, take insulin for it.  Learn to estimate how much insulin you need, and be ready to check your blood sugar at some point during the exercise. 
Frequent Responder
jftash
Total Posts: 101
Registered on: ‎06-20-2011

Why does exercise raise blood sugar?

i love exercise of all types and each different kind seems to affect my blood sugars differently.  i think that book by shari colberg is very helpful.  i went to a talk on exercise and diabetes and the dude suggested just doing a routine or always the same time of day or just one type of exercise, to keep blood sugars better.  what??  i live in the real world where people go canoeing at a random time of day or go ice skating at a random time or dancing late at night or early morning triathlon workouts.  what i ended up doing was getting my basal levels right, getting my corrections and carb ratios right, and THEN taking one type of exercise at the same time of day for a couple weeks to figure out how that particular exercise affected my sugars.  oh, and skipping a day in-between so that the compounding effect of exercise didn't kick in.  and then...doing the same thing for another type of exercise.  i got through my three or four favorite exercise types and then burned out on the process.  but i was able to see after that, similarities in types of exercise.  for example, more aerobic stuff - low intensity- brings my sugars down over time but more anaerobic stuff- high intensity--spikes me up during the exercise and then i drop later.  i tend to do everything all-out, including the elliptical machine when i am at the gym (but at home i do it more low-intensity for a longer period)...so when going all-out i spike up.  i learned to do some insulin first for that situation.  another tough one was soccer...it depended on which position i played that day, and i never knew until the game was going and i saw where the need was--for defense (short speed bursts and power kicks) or offense (lots of running with some speed bursts)...overall i would just say test test test test test! for me i did some figuring til i burned out on the process, then just exercised for fun for some weeks/months, and then started the process again.  even if we get stuff figured out for that time of day when we usually exercise, in real life, things happen at other times of the day and then we see insulin needs are different at that time...i definitely find in the morning i need insulin before working out...because of the normal blood sugar rise anyway plus the adrenaline/hormones raising it even more.  on that note, my blood sugar rises when i interpret (excitement!) and it rises when i lifeguard (stress/concern) and it falls when i am in a social situation (worn out from all the talking to people)...gotta get to know the body.  i think it has helped a lot to do the fasting/testing that we do for setting basal rates so i can know it is not the food in me affecting levels, but the situation i am in....
Long Lost Member
sweetthing727
Total Posts: 2
Registered on: ‎07-27-2011

Why does exercise raise blood sugar?

Hi, I am type 2 and I have this problem.  I go to www.joslin.org and typed in the question. It will tell you why and what to do about it. Good luck!
Long Lost Member
sweetthing727
Total Posts: 2
Registered on: ‎07-27-2011

Why does exercise raise blood sugar?

 
New Member
0rangebear
Total Posts: 2
Registered on: ‎07-28-2011

Why does exercise raise blood sugar?

I have been diabetic for 50 years and see the same blood surgar pattern you mentioned if I exercise for less than 30 minutes by blood surgars go up to 300. At an hour of exercise they start going back down mine stabilize around 90 minutes at 120 no matter what they were at when I started. Therefore I don't try and work out unless I can for at leat 90 minutes 2.5 hours seems to be the best lenght of a workout for me.


Try different exersice intensities and time frames testing your blood every 30 minutes until you understand your bodies specific reaction to exercise and then discuss it with you doctor 
Advisor
brittanymb93
Total Posts: 80
Registered on: ‎07-21-2011

Why does exercise raise blood sugar?

that is pretty odd.
my blood sugar gets low whenever i do physical activity... it can be just walking around the mall.
i've never had my blood sugar rise during excersie or physical activity. In fact, my insulin pump has a setting for exercise that gives me less insulin so that my sugar doesn't drop.

I guess it depends on the person, though?
Frequent Responder
jftash
Total Posts: 101
Registered on: ‎06-20-2011

Why does exercise raise blood sugar?

brittany, yes i think so but also depends on intensity...mall-walking would lower my blood sugar but sprinting around the mall (which i don't do, haha) would raise mine...until later, when my sugars would be lower than normal.  so i might use the temporary basal during exercise or not.  oftentimes i do a small bolus then disconnect if i am doing something like soccer.
Super Advisor
powerwalker2
Total Posts: 5,439
Registered on: ‎11-02-2009

Why does exercise raise blood sugar?

Please state whether y'all are type 1 or type 2 exercisers.  Thanks!
Nancy ~ T2 since '98 ~ 16 yrs ~ D&E 11yrs ~ treadmill, elliptical, bike 15-20 minutes 3x/day (including evening), dumbbells/resistance training, small portions heart-healthy high-fiber/low-fat fuel/carb-counting, 500mg Glucophage XR x4, 2.5mg Glucotrol XL x6, 6000IU Vit. D/day ~ RHR 53 ~ A1cs mainly between 5.9-6.9 av. 6.5