Changing Your Diabetes Treatment
You may need to change the way you control your diabetes:
- If you use your diet to control your diabetes, you may need to start taking tablets to control your blood sugar.
- If you already take tablets, you may need to increase the dose or start using insulin for a short time.
- If you already use insulin, you may need to increase the dose or use a different type of insulin.
Correction doses of insulin can be used to reduce very high blood sugars. These may not work as well when you are taking steroids. Your diabetes team can give you advice. They may suggest you take more insulin.
Irl Diabetes And Steroids Stories
The obvious caveat to all of this is that , individual diabetes experiences may vary.
When DiabetesMine reached out to the diabetes online community on this topic, dozens replied saying theyd experienced huge jumps in blood sugar after using various types of steroids.
Laura Higgins of Utah, whos lived with T1D for almost two decades since age 13, says shes seen big BG spikes after being on steroids several times through the years. But she knew the risks and worked with her diabetes education and care specialist to best manage those fluctuations.
Her partner had a different story, however. He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a couple of years before they started dating, and earlier this year an urgent care doctor prescribed steroids for bronchitis, without even inquiring or looking at his chart, and not explaining the blood-sugar risks and potential for diabetes ketoacidosis .
By this time I had coached him into how to manage his diabetes and he was testing with all these crazy numbers over 400 mg/dL, she says. She noted that with her backup Novolog insulin pen she had taught him to use, her husband was dosing 30+ units to bring his numbers down to more manageable levels.
He finished the steroids and I got him in with the primary care doctor that my manages my type 1 because I was so appalled at the negligence, she tells DiabetesMine.
Others echoing similar experiences preferred to have their names withheld:
How Do You Know If You Have High Blood Sugar
be required to regulate the indicators, signs, and problems of the illness.
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If your blood sugar ranges are too excessive then you definitely risk developing diabetes You can develop heart problems and nerve harm With diabetes, the glucose in your blood does not reach your cells and can lead to these and different problems Adding train and eating healthy might help to regulate your diabetes and stop secondary ailments.
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Steroids And Diabetes: The Effect On Your Glucose Levels
One of the most popular blogs of all time here at The LOOP is on steroid usage and diabetes, so we wanted to bring it back to you along with some new tips.
There are various reasons that people take steroid medications. Reasons include bone or muscle injury, pain, lung conditions such as asthma flare-ups, and influenza infections. COVID-19 can cause shortness of breath and breathing problems1 and steroids might be used. If your medical provider prescribes a steroid medication, here are some things you should know.
What are steroids?
What if Im prescribed steroids and have diabetes?
A known side effect of systemic steroids is elevated glucose levels . As you know, this can be especially challenging for people with diabetes. Insulin is the best way to counteract hyperglycemia caused by steroids. In a hospital setting, individuals can receive steroids by IV route. IV doses are often much higher than you would get from oral pills. In the hospital, the medical providers might prescribe different types of insulin to be given at different times of the day to help reduce hyperglycemia.3 If youre taking steroid pills at home, you might not be starting any new insulin, but you can ask your provider for guidance on the dose to take of your current insulin.
What should I keep in mind while taking steroids?
We hope these tips are helpful for you!
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
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When Do Steroids Start To Affect Blood Sugar
Steroids may start to affect your blood sugar pretty quickly after starting treatment, although it depends on what course of treatment youre on.
For oral steroids, blood sugars may begin to rise within a few days of treatment. The effects will depend on the dose and type of steroid you are taking.
Steroid injections start to affect blood sugars soon after the injection and can remain high for 3-10 days afterward.
If youre taking topical steroid creams or gels or inhaled steroids, they do not typically affect blood sugar levels.
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What Medication Is Used For Type 2 Diabetes
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Signs And Symptoms Of Steroid
If your blood sugar levels are only slightly higher than usual, you may not have any of the symptoms of steroid-induced diabetes at all. But as your blood sugar levels rise, signs and symptoms may include:
- going to the toilet a lot, especially at night
- feeling really thirsty
- feeling more tired than usual
- losing weight without trying to.
Your doctor might ask you to check your blood sugar levels while on steroids. If you notice any of these symptoms, its important to let your GP know.
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How Steroids Affect Your Blood Sugar
Corticosteroids, or steroids for short, are a common medication prescribed for a multitude of ailments, but can often cause blood sugar issues for people living with diabetes.
If youve ever been prescribed a steroid, you may know that they spike blood sugars easily and quickly, and can lead to stubborn hyperglycemia for days on end.
In this article, I will describe exactly how steroids affect blood sugar and what you can do about it.
At the end of the article, I will also describe the rare situation where steroid therapy may actually cause type 2 diabetes by triggering a complication called steroid-induced diabetes.
What To Do When You Stop Steroid Therapy
Its important to know what to do when you stop steroid therapy, to avoid negative health consequences, especially when managing diabetes.
Some strategies to help when stopping steroid therapy include:
- Work with your endocrinologist about tapering off the amount of insulin youre taking each day to reflect tapering down your steroid use
- Make sure you dont immediately stop taking your steroid therapy work with your prescribing physician to taper your medication. Abruptly stopping steroid therapy can make you very sick.
- Make sure you check your blood sugars more often than normal while tapering steroid therapy
- Carry extra low-snacks, as fluctuation in blood sugars is common while tapering other medications
- If your blood sugar remains high for more than 2 or 3 days after stopping steroid therapy, contact your doctor immediately
What Would A Doctor Prescribe Steroids For
Doctors prescribe steroids for many issues, including but not limited to treating the inflammation and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, asthma, and common allergies.
In more serious cases, steroids help treat Addisons disease, when the body lacks the ability to produce corticosteroid, that the body needs for proper functioning.
Steroids are also used to suppress the immune system to prevent organ rejection in transplant recipients.
Changes In Maternal Glucose Metabolism After The Administration Of Dexamethasone For Fetal Lung Development
1Obstetrical Department, Women’s Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310006, China
The most common cause of deaths among preterm babies is respiratory distress syndrome antenatal corticosteroid treatment for pregnant women at risk of preterm birth is an established intervention for the prevention of RDS. Liggins and Howie first described this indication in 1972, when they demonstrated that ACS could reduce the risk of neonatal RDS from 25.8% to 9.0%, and the rate of neonatal mortality dropped from 15.0% to 3.2% . In 1994, a National Institutes of Health consensus conference recommended that women at risk of preterm birth before 34 weeks of gestation, who delivered within 7 days, should routinely be given a course of ACS . Since then, the incidence and mortality rates of RDS, intraventricular hemorrhage, and necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm infants have been significantly reduced.
2. Materials and Methods
SPSS 11.5 statistical software was used for statistical analysis. All data were expressed as mean ± standard deviation. The F-test was used to determine statistically significant differences between the groups. A value of < 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.
This work was supported by Grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Key Laboratory of Reproductive Genetics , Ministry of Education.
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Risk Factors Of Steroid
There are some factors that may mean you are more likely to develop diabetes if you are taking steroids. These include if you:
- are over 40 and white, or over 25 and African-Caribbean, Black African or South Asian
- have a close family member with type 2 diabetes
- are of African-Caribbean, Black African or South Asian descent
- have had high blood pressure
- are living with obesity.
Weve got lots more information about the different diabetes risk factors. If you are taking steroids as part of your treatment for a health condition, or if you are about to start, use our Know Your Risk tool to find out your risk of developing diabetes.
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Managing Blood Sugar In Dexamethasone
UK: The UK National Diabetes COVID-19 Response Group has released new guidance on dexamethasone therapy in COVID19 patients. The guidance addresses the management of blood sugar levels in COVID-19 patients who are taking dexamethasone therapy.The guidance was developed in response to The RECOVERY trial that found that dexamethasone can prevent be death in around 8 ventilated patients and…
UK: The UK National Diabetes COVID-19 Response Group has released new guidance on dexamethasone therapy in COVID19 patients. The guidance addresses the management of blood sugar levels in COVID-19 patients who are taking dexamethasone therapy.
The guidance was developed in response to The RECOVERY trial that found that dexamethasone can prevent be death in around 8 ventilated patients and about one in 25 patients who require oxygen. This has been considered as an important regimen in spite of the fact that the study is yet to attain peer-review publication. Low dose dexamethasone therapy as described in this study in effect is five to six-fold greater than the therapeutic glucocorticoid replacement dose. High doses of glucocorticoids can worsen hyperglycemia in diabetes patients, may unmask undiagnosed diabetes and, in those at risk of diabetes, may precipitate hyperglycemia and new-onset diabetes. Glucocorticoids are the commonest cause of diabetes people developing potentially life-threatening hyperglycaemic hyperosmolar state in the hospital.
Key recommendations include:
How Do Steroid Medications Affect Blood Glucose Levels
If you have diabetes and are taking steroid medication, your blood glucose levels are likely to increase. Steroid medications can raise blood glucose levels by reducing the action of insulin and making the liver release stored glucose into the bloodstream.
The timeframe in which these medications begin to affect your blood glucose levels can vary depending on how you are taking them.
- Oral steroids: Blood glucose levels may begin to rise within a few days of starting oral steroids. Their effect on blood glucose levels will depend on the time, dose and type of steroid you are taking.
- Steroid injections: Blood glucose levels may rise soon after the injection and may remain high for 3-10 days afterwards.
Creams used for skin conditions, and inhaled steroids used for asthma and ear and eye drops are unlikely to affect blood glucose levels.
If you need to take steroid medication, talk to your doctor about how it may affect your blood glucose levels and ask for advice on how to manage this. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for an information sheet about this medication.
High blood glucose levels can make you feel unwell, tired or lacking in energy, and thirsty. It can also make you pass urine more often.
Seek advice from your doctor or a credentialled diabetes educator on monitoring your blood glucose levels while taking steroid medication.
If you are taking steroid medication, talk to your doctor about how this may affect your blood glucose levels.
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If You Stop Taking The Drug Suddenly Or Dont Take It At All
If you dont take the drug at all, your condition wont be managed. If you stop taking dexamethasone suddenly, you may have withdrawal side effects. These can include:
- muscle aches
- joint pain
Your dose should be decreased over time to avoid withdrawal effects. Dont stop taking dexamethasone unless your doctor tells you to do so.
Where To Find Support
If youre feeling worried, or if youve got more questions about steroid-induced diabetes, were here to help.
You can give our confidential helpline a call and talk to one of our highly trained advisors. Or you can hear from other people with the condition in our online support forum. You dont need to sign up to read about their experiences, but you will need to become a member if youd like to reach out and speak to them.
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How To Balance Blood Sugar
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More Common Side Effects
The more common side effects that can occur with dexamethasone oral tablets include:
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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Can Steroids Lead To Diabetes
One of the side effects of oral corticosteroids is that they can increase blood glucose levels and increase insulin resistance , which can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Typically, blood glucose levels will return to normal after you finish taking the steroids but in some cases, particularly if you have pre-existing risk factors for type 2 diabetes, you may be diagnosed with this form of diabetes.