Other Problems That Can Raise Blood Sugar

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Other Problems That Can Raise Blood Sugar

Diabetes Type 2
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Other Problems That Can Raise Blood Sugar
Other Problems That Can Raise Blood Sugar
A variety of illnesses and medicines can increase glucose levels in the blood.
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Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

Other Problems That Can Raise Blood Sugar
Besides diabetes, many things can affect your blood sugar or how well your body uses insulin. Sometimes, an increase in blood sugar can be a clue that you are developing another illness.
Infections — When you have an infection, your body makes "stress hormones." They slow down insulin production. They also hinder the body's use of insulin to turn glucose into energy. More sugar stays in the blood.
Severe illness — Heart attacks or other major body stresses also can trigger your body to produce stress hormones. Just like an infection, these events interfere with insulin production and make insulin less effective.
Obesity — Insulin allows cells to use blood sugar for energy. If you have insulin resistance, your cells can't get sugar out of the blood as easily. Insulin resistance increases with weight gain.
Thyroid disease or other hormone imbalances — Many people have problems with thyroid function. Thyroid problems can make it harder to control blood sugar. Some other hormone imbalances can increase blood sugar. They are not common. These other hormone problems include:
Medicines — Certain medicines can raise blood sugar. Drugs from this list still may be useful treatments for you. If you use them, however, you may need extra effort to control your sugar:
  • Corticosteroid medicines, including:
    • Prednisone or other corticosteroid pills
    • Some joint injections
    • Some inhalers for asthma or chronic lung disease, if used in high doses
    • Skin creams or ointments, if used in large amounts
  • Olanzipine (Zyprexa) — Used to treat mental illness, particularly schizophrenia
  • Antipsychotic medicines — Used to treat mental illness, particularly schizophrenia. Examples include:
    • Olanzipine (Zyprexa)
    • Quetiapine (Seroquel)
    • Risperidone (Risperdal)
    • Haloperidol (Haldol)
    • Fluphenazine (Prolixin)
  • Ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, gatifloxacin or moxifloxacin — Sometimes these antibiotics can cause abrupt changes in blood sugar. They can send the sugar high or low. Gatifloxacin is not meant to be used to treat people who have diabetes. The other antibiotics are sometimes used, but you should monitor your blood sugar more closely when you are taking one of these drugs.
  • Thiazide diuretics — Used to treat blood pressure or fluid retention


  • Beta-agonists (pills or inhalers containing albuterol)
  • Statin drugs — Used to for cholesterol treatment 


  • Niacin — Used for cholesterol treatment


  • Dilantin — Used for seizure treatment


  • Thyroid hormone replacement (especially if dose is incorrect for you)


  • Pentamidine (an antibiotic)


  • Alpha interferon — Used to treat hepatitis or cancer


blood sugar,insulin,thyroid,antibiotics,corticosteroid,diabetes,schizophrenia,zyprexa
Last updated July 17, 2014

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