Most people are quite familiar with the typical symptoms of the common cold or the flu, but did you know that being sick can affect your blood sugar levels?
Most adults have an average of two to three colds per year, and roughly three to 11 percent of people get the flu every flu season. When you’re sick, your body releases stress hormones glucocorticoids, catecholamines, and pro-inflammatory cytokines to fight the infection. These hormones can raise your blood sugar, and your body may struggle to make enough insulin in response.
Whether or not you have diabetes, it’s important to be aware of how these common infections can affect your blood sugar as keeping your glucose levels stable can help you prevent potential complications and help your body to fight the illness more effectively..
Let’s take a deeper look at these common conditions and what they can do to your blood sugar levels.
A cold virus gets into your body through your mouth, nose, or eyes, and is spread through droplets in the air when a sick person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and through hand-to-hand contact with contaminated objects or people who are sick.
Symptoms of the common cold include:
While a cold tends to be mild, some more severe complications can arise. A cold can lead to other infections, such as ear or sinus infections, strep throat, or pneumonia.
Visit your doctor if your symptoms don’t improve or get worse, or you develop more serious symptoms like shortness of breath, wheezing, a fever higher than 103 fahrenheit, or severe headache or throat or sinus pain.
The flu is also a contagious upper respiratory infection, and while its symptoms are similar to the cold, they are generally more severe and appear more abruptly.
Symptoms of the flu can include:
More serious complications can occur, such as sinus or ear infections, pneumonia, and even inflammation of the heart, brain, or muscle tissue.
People who are aged 65 or older, children aged 5 or younger (but especially children aged 2 or younger), pregnant people, and people of any age with chronic medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or asthma, are all at higher risk of developing serious flu complications.
If your symptoms don’t improve or worsen, or if you are at higher risk of developing serious complications, visit your doctor. You may be treated with antivirals or other flu medications to help get symptoms under control.
In most cases, individuals with type 1 diabetes don’t make insulin, and people with type 2 diabetes aren’t able to properly use the insulin their body does make. Because insulin is required for the body to turn blood sugar into energy, it’s crucial for people with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar and take steps to keep it at their target levels.
Being sick with a cold or the flu can cause the body’s blood sugar levels to rise, so it’s important for people with diabetes to be extra mindful of their diabetes management during periods of illness.
Unchecked blood sugar levels can have severe effects when you have diabetes. When your blood sugar rises and your body doesn’t have enough insulin to process it, it starts to break down fat to use as energy, which produces ketones.
Too many ketones in your blood can cause diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, which can be life-threatening. In the early stages, DKA can make you thirstier than usual and urinate more than usual, but more severe symptoms can emerge if left untreated, such as:
When you have diabetes and are sick, or your blood sugar is 240 mg/dL or above, you can use an over-the-counter ketone test kit to check the ketone levels in your urine.
If your ketone levels are high, or you are experiencing any symptoms of DKA, call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately as this condition needs to be treated right away.
Anyone trying to optimize their health can benefit from monitoring glucose levels—you don’t have to have diabetes to learn about the benefits of optimizing your blood sugar response. Conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), high blood pressure, Cushing’s syndrome, side effects of prescription medication, pancreatic diseases, and surgery or trauma can all lead to high blood sugar levels, also known as hyperglycemia.
Hyperglycemia can be unpleasant no matter why you are experiencing it, but there are a few things you can do to manage it during periods of illness.
If you’re someone with diabetes, you may choose to check your blood sugar regularly to see how your body is responding to your illness. One way to track your blood sugar is to use a continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, which is a small, painless device that attaches to your arm.
If you have diabetes and are worried about DKA, it is recommended that you check your blood sugar every two hours.
Some over-the-counter medications contain elements that can raise your blood sugar, such as decongestants, while other medicines such as aspirin and Tylenol contain inactive ingredients that can lower your blood sugar.
Talk to your doctor or a pharmacist to determine which medicines are safe for you to take.
When you’re sick, it’s important to keep taking your usually prescribed medication, even if you can’t eat. If you feel like you may need to adjust any diabetes medication while you’re sick, contact your healthcare provider.
Do not adjust your medication or insulin without instruction from your doctor or healthcare professional.
It’s important to drink a lot of fluids to replace any water you’ve lost because of your illness. Being sick can cause dehydration, especially if you’ve experienced diarrhea or vomiting. High blood sugar can also cause more frequent urination, which can lead to further dehydration.
Stick to water and low-sugar drinks, such as unsweetened herbal tea. The CDC recommends drinking 4 to 6 ounces of fluids every half-hour.
It’s also important to try to eat regular meals, even when you are sick. Try to eat as often as you normally would, especially if you’re following a diabetes diet or a meal plan that is meant to manage your blood sugar.
Reaching your regular daily calorie intake while continuing to consume adequate protein while sick can help make sure your body has enough energy to fight the infection. If you find it hard to keep up with your normal diet, try eating whole foods such as plain Greek yogurt, bone broth, soups or stews regularly.
If you are unsure about what to eat to manage your blood sugar while you’re sick, or if you’re having trouble eating, contact your healthcare provider for specific advice and recommendations.
If you’re someone with diabetes, it may be a good idea to have a plan in mind before you get sick so that you are well prepared to manage your blood sugar during times of illness. Talk to your healthcare team to figure out a strategy that includes:
Having this information on hand when you get sick can make your life a lot easier, and take a few hard decisions off your plate.
Whether you are healthy or your body is fighting an infection, being aware of the symptoms and causes of high blood sugar levels is critical to managing your overall health. A continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, is a helpful tool that can help you maintain a blood sugar level that is in your target range.
A CGM can give you the exact data you need to take actionable steps toward a healthier lifestyle, and when you join NutriSense, you can view your data and track changes to your blood glucose levels over time through the NutriSense app.
NutriSense’s team of registered dietitians can also help you interpret your blood glucose data, figure out an eating plan that keeps your blood sugar in check, and help you set goals that will improve your overall health .
See how NutriSense’s CGM program can help you start your journey to optimal health today.
Age isn't the only factor that can affect fertility. Let’s explore how new technology has changed our understanding of fertility and reproductive health..
Watermelon is a hydrating and delicious summertime snack, but have you ever wondered if it can raise your glucose levels? Read on for more about this tasty fruit.
Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition that involves endocrine and metabolic imbalances. Here are some PCOS friendly foods to include in your diet for better health.
NutriSense dietitian Katrina Larsen, MS, RD,N, LD, CDCES discusses the risk factors for sleep apnea and how this disorder is linked to other health conditions.
A well-stocked kitchen is the key to making healthy eating choices. Let’s explore some kitchen staples that you can keep on hand to make healthy eating easier.
Have you ever wondered how your glucose levels might be connected to joint pain? We'll take a deep dive into this connection and share tips for reducing pain.
Hiking has a host of benefits for your health and fitness. We'll explore how this activity can boost your wellbeing and share a few tips for getting started.
In this article, we break down what a low FODMAP diet looks like for beginners, and its potential benefits and drawbacks for gastrointestinal health.
Russell Battles shares how using a CGM helped him revamp his diet, exercise, and lifestyle after suffering from a heart attack.
Wondering how effective ketones are for building muscle? In this post, we’ll dig into ketones, exercise, and muscle growth to see what the connection is.
Here are nine tips for stabilizing your blood sugar levels, plus some insights from the NutriSense dietitian team on how to detect blood sugar imbalances.
In this article, we explore the the effects that tomatoes may have on blood sugar levels and insulin response, plus other ways that tomatoes can affect your health.
Macro setting and tracking can be valuable tools in reaching your health goals. Here's how to get started.
Let’s take a deep dive into how high blood sugar levels can be a risk factor for kidney failure and what you can do to ensure optimal kidney health.
Did you know that aging can lead to problems with your balance? Read on to find out what can cause balance issues and how you can combat this occurrence.
Do mangos raise blood sugar? Are they good for your health? Read on to find out.
Whether you're trying out “meatless Mondays“ or exploring vegan food for the first time, here's a beginner’s guide to getting started on a plant-based diet.
Dermatomyositis is an autoimmune condition that affects the skin. Here's how to manage it with evidence based nutrition and lifestyle tips.
Learn what high-intensity resistance training is, how it can benefit your metabolism, and nine tips to get started with HIRT.
Learn more about whether or not avocados raise blood sugar levels, and the many health benefits that can come from including avocados in your diet.
Member Stuart Tutler explains how insights from a CGM helped him change his approach to nutrition and improve his blood sugar levels.
Did you know that living with a pet can do more than just put a smile on your face? Read on to learn all the ways living with pets improves your wellbeing.
Amanda Seitz explains how the NutriSense's 3 month CGM program helped revamp her habits and lifestyle for better glucose response.
Let’s take a deeper look at conditions like the common cold and the flu to see what they can do to your blood sugar levels.
Starting on a weight loss journey might sound daunting if you’re someone who doesn’t love to hit the gym. Here are 20 practical ways to shed a few extra pounds without exercise.
The summertime means switching out hot lattes for iced coffee. Read on to explore dietitian-approved healthy iced coffee drinks.
Kate Brown shares how she was able to lose weight, reduce stress, and manage her anxiety using a CGM.
Let’s have a look at 11 reasons why you may not be shedding weight on a keto diet and a few solutions to help you make it over your weight loss plateau.
A blood ketone level of .5 to 3.0 millimoles per liter is the ideal range for ketosis. Find out more here.
Read on to learn about the potential causes of constipation, how constipation can affect your blood sugar, plus a few tips for healthy stool formation.
In this post, we share our roundup of six NutriSense dietitian-endorsed healthy desserts that will hit the spot this summer. Read on to discover healthy treats for your sweet tooth.
Nordic walking is a full-body workout in which special lightweight poles are held in each hand to activate the entire body while walking. Learn the benefits of Nordic walking and how you can get started with this activity.
Meredith Standridge discusses her takeaways after a year with a CGM, and how NutriSense has helped her implement new, lifelong habits to help her optimize her health.
In this article, we’ll cover 12 of the best exercises to add to your routine to help you lose weight, build muscle, and improve your metabolism.
What are the healthiest types of noodles and how can you turn them into a delicious noodle bowl? Read on to find out.
Insulin resistance can be tough to manage. Learn why it’s important to improve insulin resistance and how you can reduce or reverse the effects of insulin resistance with healthy weight loss.
Polyphenols and tannins are prominent antioxidants found in many common foods. So, what exactly do they do and how can you add them to your diet? Let's find out.
Reducing your exposure to toxins means making your environment healthier. Here are eight dietitian-approved tips for a healthy environment.
Want to boost heart health? Learn which foods reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and which foods add to it.
Weight management is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Here are nine weight management tips.
Staying hydrated is important. We'll guide you through a few dietitian-endorsed hydration tips that can help you boost your daily fluid intake.
Let’s break down just how vital water is for overall health and how dehydration, among other things, can affect blood sugar levels.
The best way to combat low blood sugar at home is to take a glucose tablet or glucose gel. Here’s what to do with low blood sugar at home.
Ready to learn all about fiber beyond just the basics? In this post, we dive deep into the different kinds of fiber and health benefits of each. From functional fiber to fermentation, we break down all the jargon into a layman's language.
Inflammation can have a negative connotation it comes to your health. But could it actually be a good thing when it comes to muscle-building? Read on to find out.
Check out these healthy Fourth of July recipes plus some tips on keeping blood glucose levels steady through the holiday from the NutriSense Nutrition Team.
Dietitian and author of "Heart Disease Cookbook" Katie Reines discusses using a CGM to help balance blood sugars and hormones to manage and reverse health conditions.
Technical writer, competitive ballroom dancer, and seven-year veteran of the carnivore diet, Linda Salant talks about using the CGM to get clarity on how a unique diet could affect blood sugar levels.
Founder of health and fitness brand Shack Fit, John Shackleton is a fitness and nutrition enthusiast. He talks about using the CGM to "check under the hood” and see how his physiology was responding to certain foods.
Athletic trainer Shaye Reynolds talks about feeling stuck on her health journey, and how NutriSense and the CGM Program helped fine-tune her wellness routine and have a better understanding of her diet and workout practices.
If you're gearing up to travel or spend more time outdoors this summer, here are a few tips to help you stay safe and hydrated in the sun.
When Christine Aochi was diagnosed with prediabetes, she knew she had to start focusing more on her health. She tells us how the CGM and dietitian support with NutriSense helped her to lower her blood glucose levels, lose weight, and enjoy her food.
Charlotte LaGuardia, MS, CNS, CDN, is the owner of virtual nutrition practice, Thrive East. She talks to us about using data points and experiments with a CGM to make informed decisions about health and wellness.
Elite athlete and founder of Pure Massage Boulder, Tracey Jacobs is committed to her health. She discusses using the CGM with dietitian support to help maximize performance and elevate her workouts.
Jennifer Brumit loves the CGM because it helps her add to what she already does to stay healthy. She talks about why she thinks everyone should be using one to educate themselves and boost overall wellness.
Donating blood can save a life, and these donations are needed more often than you may think. Read on to learn how autoimmune conditions affect your eligibility to donate.
As a new mom, you may be eager to regain your pre-pregnancy body, but it's essential to take things slow and follow postpartum diet guidelines. Read on to discover dietitian recommended postpartum guidelines to losing weight.
Alongside a healthy diet, adding certain nutrients can help with achieving optimal blood glucose levels. Here are nine supplements that help your body do just that!
We asked our Nutrition Team to help us debunk 14 popular nutrition and lifestyle myths. Here's what our dietitians—and the research—say about these age-old myths.
You may have always considered oatmeal to be a healthy breakfast option, but is it really that good for you? Let’s break down the different components of oatmeal and find out.
To help you make the most of the warmer weather, we asked Carlee Hayes, RDN, CD, and Nutrition Manager here at NutriSense, to share a few of her favorite summer soup recipes.
Insulin resistance can create a variety of health issues and lead to type 2 diabetes. Here are nine effective ways to improve insulin sensitivity for improved metabolic health.
Did you know your gut influences how well your brain functions? Here are our top dietitian approved tips to boost gut health for improved cognitive functioning.
Catherine Staffieri discusses the impact of glucose on hormones, perimenopause and menopause, weight loss and the incredible benefits of using a CGM as a tool to help you feel your best.
To discuss how a health coach can incorporate this in their practice, Health Coach Academy invited Carlee Hayes to the show.
This week, we’ve compiled some of our favorite podcasts that go beyond nutrition. Here are 20 wellness-focused podcasts to add to your queue.
Are BCAAs worth it? This post digs into 30+ years of research to answer this question. The answer may surprise you.
Menopause can be a difficult journey, so we've compiled some of the most effective, science backed tips to help you with menopause-related weight gain.
Father’s Day is around the corner, and whether you’re celebrating your dad, a father figure, or another cherished loved one, helping them take care of their health can be the ultimate gift.
Here's a helpful list of some of our favorite low-carb snacks that can help you keep your diet varied and full of healthy nutrients.
Whether you're looking for low GI summer snacks or healthy sweet treats, this post has got you covered. Here are tasty low glycemic index recipes everyone will enjoy!
Wondering if grapes are safe for people with diabetes to include in their diet? Read on to find out.
Cholesterol plays a very important role in the human body, contributing to the structure of the cells, helping with vitamin D synthesis, and also promoting the production of steroid and sex hormones, like cortisol, aldosterone, testosterone, and estrogen. But how exactly is cholesterol connected to blood glucose levels?
We sat down with Kara Collier, our co-founder and VP of Health here at NutriSense, to take a closer look at how CGMs work and what you need to know about these devices before using one.
Are carbs and sugar the same? In this post, we break down the key differences between the two and share the benefits of complex carbohydrates.
Read on to learn more about DOMS, how long it can last, and then pick from our list of the best breakfasts to help beat that post-workout soreness, support muscle building, and encourage fat loss.
When it comes to lowering blood sugar levels, not all supplements are created equal. From ginseng to aloe vera, here are some of the best supplements to help avoid high blood sugar and encourage blood sugar control.
Bloating that results from a surgery can sometimes be an unexpected part of the recovery process. Is there anything you can do to reduce bloating or prevent it from happening? And what causes this bloating anyway? Read on to find the answer to these questions and much more to help you combat your post-surgery swelling.
Learn why fiber is classified as a carb and how to increase your intake of this health promoting nutrient.
Did you know Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease? Read on to learn what it's like living with PD plus discover treatment options.
From rosemary water to dry scooping, should you be trying every new trend that hits TikTok? How can you tell which ones may help and which ones to steer clear of?
As great as sugar tastes, including too much of it in your diet can lead to certain health problems. Read on to learn more about the role sugar plays in keeping your skin healthy.
Read on to see which podcasts our dietitians recommend if you’re interested in learning more about nutrition and health.
Nicotine is a chemical in tobacco that can affect your health in various ways. Read our article to learn how it impacts blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.
CGMs are now an excellent tool for anyone who wants to optimize their metabolic health. Read on to find out more about the benefits CGMs can have for healthy people!
Although bariatric surgery can be an effective way to lose weight and improve health for people who are obese, it’s a major decision. Find out what lifestyle changes you need to make before going under the knife.
Excited to fire up the grill this summer? Read on to learn if grilling is healthy for you plus check out the NutriSense Nutrition Team's favorite grilling recipes for the season.
Did you know that your gut health can impact your blood glucose levels? Explore ways to improve your gut health for optimal glucose levels.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that can cause swelling and joint pain. Learn more about how it develops and how other health conditions affect its onset.
We’ve hand-picked the best weight loss apps available. Here are the thirteen best weight loss apps.
An emerging treatment, red light therapy promises to prevent and treat the signs of aging and other skin issues. Read on to find out more.
Struggling to stick with a health-promoting diet? Here’s how to make it enjoyable so you can reap the benefits.
VP of Health and co-founder of NutriSense Kara Collier discusses reaching optimal health through blood sugar regulation, what a continuous glucose monitor is, and who might benefit from using it.
In this episode of Zero to CEO, Jason Sherman talks to Dan Zavorotny about how to turn your idea into a 120 person team in 2.5 years.
Body mass index is a term you may have seen tossed around quite a bit in the health world. You may know that it’s a way to measure body fat, but with so many new tests for measuring overall fitness and health, is BMI still reliable?
If you're watching your glucose levels, traditional BBQ staples may not be the best choice. Here are some recipes that will help you enjoy a Memorial Day meal without a blood sugar spike.
Mental health has a significant impact on your overall health; here are tips, tools, and apps to improve your mental wellbeing.
Living with diabetes can be a challenge, especially when it comes to keeping your blood sugar levels regulated. Learn if you can check your blood sugar at home without a meter.
With summer right around the corner, it’s time to make sure you have the tools you need to protect yourself from sunburn and sun damage. But how do you choose the right one for adequate sun protection?
Learn how Japanese water therapy can help with weight loss, energy levels, and detoxification.