According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 122 million Americans are living with a form of diabetes [1]. Once diagnosed, managing your diabetes includes knowing how to control your blood sugar levels and what can have an affect on them.

Some reasons behind an increase in blood sugar levels may include:

  • Physical inactivity
  • Food
  • Illness

See also: What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

What raises blood sugar levels?

It’s completely normal for your blood sugar levels to vary throughout the day. Though if they seem to be rising and you’re not sure why, the following may be affecting them:

Physical inactivity

If you have diabetes, being active can make your body more sensitive to insulin, which helps manage your diabetes. If you have taken a break from physical activity and have been less active than usual, it’s common for your blood sugar levels to rise [2].

See also: What Does High Blood Sugar Mean?


Foods that cause blood sugar levels to rise the most tend to be foods high in carbohydrates such as rice, breads and sugar. Eating too much and snacking in between meals also tends to affect your levels [3].

See also: Foods That Help Control Blood Sugar


Catching a cold or the flu can more often than not have a negative affect on your blood sugar levels.

The reason behind this is pretty simple - when you’re ill, your body releases extra glucose into your blood in an attempt to combat the illness. In those with diabetes, this will generally result in an unwanted rise in blood sugar levels [4].

Can steroids affect blood sugar levels?

While corticosteroids are often used to reduce inflammation in those with certain illnesses such as asthma, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis, they can have a significant effect on your blood sugar levels and can sometimes result in steroid-induced diabetes.

Some indicators of steroid-induced diabetes include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased need to urinate
  • Tiredness and lethargy

How do steroids affect blood sugar levels?

Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas that allows your body to use the sugar from the foods you consume for both energy and for future use. Steroids cause your body to work that much harder to use the sugar; this means your body may not make enough insulin, resulting in high blood sugar levels.

Is steroid-induced diabetes permanent?

Steroid-induced diabetes can sometimes develop into type 2 diabetes though this isn’t always the case. In fact, many people find that when they stop taking the steroids, their blood sugar levels begin to return to normal.

One of the best ways to keep an eye on your blood sugar levels is with regular testing. This can be done from the comfort of your own home with an at-home lab test.

LetsGetChecked’s at-home Diabetes Test can help indicate how well a person's diabetes is being controlled following diagnosis. Online results will be available within 5 days and our dedicated medical team will be on hand to answer any questions you may have regarding your results or next steps.

See also: How Do You Check For Diabetes From Home?


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes basics. Online:, 2019
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Living with Diabetes. Online:, 2018
  3. NHS. Hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar). Online:, 2018
  4. NHS. Hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar). Online:, 2018