Asthma UK community forum

Raised Blood sugars


I know taht this is not abouut my asthma but I have steroid inducedd diabetes (was diagnosed bout a yr ago.) and haev been quite stable for the past feww months but sinnce my stay in the rbh my blood sugars haev been all ovre the place. They don''t seem to correspoond to what i eat either. Befoer my lunch it was 10.8, thne i hda a ham samndwich and a banana. I took my metformin tablet and thne re-checkde 90 mins latre and it hda goen up to 12. I testde againn 2 hrs latre and it hda shot up to 18.1. I hda hda nothign further to eat, hda hda 2 glasses of watre buts taht is it. I am so confussde

my questtions are -

can iv hydrocort causse this kind of loss of contrrol? i was on it for ovre 2 weeks and now on 40mg of pred.

Can the heat causse problemss etc, I am tryign to drink lots btu findign it difficult so wondreign if i was slightly dehydrated and if this was causign problem.

I am seeign my gp on mon - and haev maed decisoin to test sugarrs evry 2 or 3 hrs so i can show thme what is giong on.

Any help or adviice greatefully received.


16 Replies

I have steroid induced diabetes too and any slight change can send your surgers to pot! mine can be fine then at around teatime they shoot up even if i havent eaten it to do with the steroids, if you took them in the evening your am ones would be up and your pm down, weather changes affect sugars the heat sends them up and so to does infection and if your on bricanyl that does too!!

i started off on metformin 500mg at teatime 2 1/2 years ago and now am on matformin 850mg three times and insulin 4 times a day!!

It doesnt matter what u eat although the more sugar the higher it will be but they will go up anyway, so take the pills, low sugar diet and keep a check on ur sugars and u will be ok

Andrea xxx


I've just been diagnosed with steroid induced diabetes after a positive glucose tolerance test. Not on any meds at the moment, diet controlled but that is easier said than done sometimes!

To try to anser your questions - although I must stress I'm not an expert -

- IV hydrocortisone would certainly put your sugars up whilst you were on it, but not really several days afterwards. An increased does of pred certainly could though.

- the heat shoudn't really affect your sugars, though it could make you more prone to getting dehydrated if your sugars were high, so you should certainly drink plenty, especially if the sugars are high.

The effect of food on blood sugars is quite complex, so it's not really that surprising that your sugar could go up several hours later. The fact that your sugar is going up to 18 suggests that your diabetes is not very well controlled at the moment and you might need extra meds. Has your doctor done an HbA1C recently? As you probably know it looks at control over the last 2-3 months so is a more accurate measure of poor control than a one off high sugar.

BTW, if you get a sugar of more than 20 or are feeling unwell with it you should probably seek urgent medical advice just to be on the safe side!

Take care

Em H


THanks Andrea and Em H - I haev hda diabetess for about a yr and until this lasst attack haev been realy well controlled - Bms betwen 5 & 8 whenevre I haev randomly testde them. I'm seign the gp on mon so am doign bms evrey 2 or 3 hrs so that i can show her wot has been giong on ovre the past fwe days. The rbh weren't realy botherd taht they were giong all ovre the place and whiel i was in i wasn't worried about them but now I am home and on my own it is starting to worry me. I have been really careful since I have been home, drinking loads of water but am not needing to go to the loo much (which has surprised me) eating healthy low sugar foods etc but to no avail. Oh well, only a day to go before I can have good chat with gp.

Em H - if they go above 20 I will be headign off to A & E pronto - despite my lack of confidencee in my local costa.


hope you go on ok at the docs rusty, if your g,p is not trained in diabetes is worth asking for a refferall to the hospital diabetic clinic as steroid induced diabetes is more complex than other forms of the disease. And sorry emily H but have to disagree with on advice from my knowledge as a nurse, my consultant an diabetes specialist nurse the heat does affect your sugars.

Good luck rusty

Andrea xx


It's alright Andrea, you are quite welcome to disagree with me, I'm not an expert in diabetes!

I have only ever heard or read of diabetics on insulin getting increased hypos in the heat, I've never heard of hot weather putting sugars up, but that's not to say it can't happen.

Conventional teaching is that exercise reduces blood sugar, but I have a friend with Type I diabetes who does marathons and triathalons, and gets increased sugars with them.

As a lot of us know to our cost, our diseases do not read the text books!


I find that they go up after I take my steroids so ok am and then get a higher reading in middle of day and then tend to drop in the evening - but not always! I to do not find it easy to see a pattern. Rusty sound like you need to let things settle after being so unwell and see if they get better. Had viral meningitis once when pregnanat and had blood sugars done then - was not on steroids - but still all over place a week later. Suppose having been unwell can mangle all kinds of things for a while.

Hope you get it sorted things like that can be very worrying on top of everything else to think about.



Well haev had success today - haev kept bms under 10 so far. Mind you haev not had much to eat -- only 2 small pots of yoghurts - but am finding it too hot to eat.

Andrea - thank you for the advice - My gp, thankfully, is quite interested in diabetes and so i know that I will be able to haev a good chat about things tomorow. My local costa diabetic team is basically not interestde in steriod induced diabetics - whne i was diagonisde thye sent a healtth care assistant alogn to show me how to use my glucometer etc but that was it - when i askde to see oen of the diabetic nurses i was told I didn't need to and taht my gp would ovre see my treatmeent etc.

I am finding the whole thing a bit worryign - still tryign to sort the lungs out etc not really suer I coulld cpoe wiht havign othher probs as well. sorry for the moan.


I find out tomorrow AM whether I ave steroid induced diabetes too !!

Went for fasting test today and while there GP got surgery nurse to do BM which was high GP said for a fasting result (11.9)!!

So am booked in with diabetic nurse tomorrow at 9.10am to get FINAL decision from the fasting bloodtest !!


Metformin question

Just wanted a bit of advice from anyone who's on metformin...

Have been struggling for a while with raised blood sugars due to steroids, which have been a lot worse and making me quite symptomatic since my recent costa admission with pneumonia.

My GP started me on metformin two weeks ago, and have just increased it to three times daily as instructed. Initially I thought that I'd got away with it side effect wise, but things are not so good on the three times daily dose... not to go into too much detail, but the GI side effects are quite bad. I think it's affecting my theophylline absorption as lungs seem more than normally twitchy.

I do have IBS (and do get impaired theo absorption when I get a flare-up) but this is not normal for me - the last three days have been like my worst ever IBS day but not really responding to medication (codeine and loperamide mainly).

I just wondered what other people's experiences are and how long it is likely to take for this side effect to settle? I really want to tolerate this drug as have felt quite miserable with high sugars, and I don't much like any of the alternative treatments for it. I can cope with the symptoms in themselves (I cope with the IBS without drugs most of the time) but when it starts affecting my theo absorption that is asking for trouble...

Hope someone can help... my books just say GI side effects are 'usually transient, but can sometimes persist' which is not a lot of use at all!

Em H


Emily - according to posts on a diabetes forum I have found tummy symptoms are VERY common and take a few weeks to ease off and for those people they dont ease of on they have had their tabs changed !!

Let me know if ya want the forum link and I will send it ya !!

I joined the diabetes forum just after I got my diagnosis a couple of weeks back and have had alot of very good advice so far !!


Emily H, totally agree with you GI symptoms i struggle now nearly four yrs on!! I started on 500mg OD then gradually went up to 850mgs TDS but could cope with the GI probs so now have BD for a few days then TDS for a few and so on. I didnt feel much better untill after 2 yrs went on insulin, and went on novorapid with meals and glagine at nite and untill infective have been much better and Hb1ac was finally in an acceptable range.

Hope you get sorted and dont suffer as you know theres more things they can try.

Love Andrea xxxx


Hi EmilyH - I have been on metformin for just over a yr now. I did suffer quite a bit with GI probs to start with but after bout 1 - 2 weeks things settled down - i did find that things flared up again when my dose was increased but again settled after a week or so.

Wheezer - can u pm the diabetes forum that u have found - i have not been able to find one and would quite like somewhere i can get advice etc



Emily H had probs for a few weeks with guts but has settled get an odd day when it all gets a bit much! I make sure I always take them with a main meal and that helps too I'm on 850 twice day. BS geneally stable but then I do not do them after having had favourite sorbet ice lolly or any other treats! Bit like pf only do those when think they will look good on charts!



Hi emily, are you taking it after food, that is meant to help, although often folk are told to take it before meals.

No other bright ideas



Thanks everyone... I'll try and hang in there and hopefully it will ease off in a few days!

I'm tempted to take an extra theophylline today but I think I'd better go and get my levels checked first - I really don't need to be theophylline toxic on top of these side effects!

Take care all,

Em H



I just been started on Metformin today and am going to have the doseage weaned up the GP I just saw said (apparently this minimises side-effects)!!


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