Steroid induced diabetes : Hi all... - Asthma UK communi...

Asthma UK community forum
15,850 members20,569 posts

Steroid induced diabetes


Hi all,

Just wondering if anyone has any experience in steroid induced diabetes, or blood sugar monitoring whilst on steroids?

I’m being tested for diabetes next week due to capillary blood glucose being above 12.4 consistently every time it has been tested so having a HbA1c blood test as well as fasting glucose test done.

Has anyone got any experience or advice they can offer me... feeling very in the dark with all this!

12 Replies

Hi Frazzle, yes I get this every time I end up on steroids. My blood glucose levels generally goes so high it doesn’t even register on the machine. Some people’s glucose level seems to go back to normal a week or so after steroids finish. If your blood glucose is generally high over a period your HbA1c will show if you need any medication for diabetes.

I have a machine to monitor my glucose levels. Did your doctor suggest anything?

Frazzle in reply to madonbrew

It’s good to know someone else whose gone through this! I’m on steroids long term (for about 7 months now) and for the foreseeable future so can’t see this going away anytime soon! My doctor wants this done, she said we will go from there but if my HbA1c is normal but my fasted glucose is high monitoring at home for a while maybe beneficial however we are expecting my HbA1c to be abnormal due to how long this has been going on!

I’ve needed insulin while in hospital and on steroids. My blood sugar is high whenever I’m on prednisone. I have a strong family history of type 2 diabetes. At the moment my levels go back to normal when I’m not on oral steroids (just inhaled) so I’m losing lots of weight and changing my diet int he hope that it might stop me getting diabetes. They measure my Hba1C every six months to keep an eye on it. At the moment I’m almost in the pre-diabetic I’m losing weight and changing my diet in the hope that it might prevent it getting worse. It may be inevitable though as my family history for diabetes is so strong.

I too need insulin when on steroids...actually for the past 8 weeks or so I am now on insulin permanently...however I also have a random autoimmune disease that has affected my pancreas and kidneys too, so gradually my pancreas has just given in. And when testing my glucose it would just read ‘hi’ which means readings over 31 😢😢😢

I know some people can take tablets and others will need insulin but your doctor will discuss that with you and know what’s best to try. In the event you do need insulin....really don’t worry! It’s such a tiny needle. I don’t find it hurts at all! Occasionally I get some bruising at point of entry but that’s pretty much it.

I have been on and off steroids from 1967 till 1991. Since then I've been on them constantly, maintenance dose now 20mg daily. In 2003 I was diagnosed diabetic. When I have to put steroids up blood sugars go up so I increase my insulin

I have this and take insulin 3 times a day now as I have a maintenance dose of steroids at 25mg daily at first I had tablets but blood sugars were still too high so changed to insulin been on it for 2 years now and drs think k even if I stop steroids which isnt likely that I will always be on insulin

I was on 40mg - 60mg of prednisolone then tapering down routinely for a number of years following severe asthma attacks.

My blood sugars were monitored whilst in hospital due to the link between steroids and high blood sugar levels. My bloods showed slightly elevated blood sugars until one admission to the Brompton when I was tested and my blood sugars came back at 28.

Was prescribed 1000mg of metformin twice daily and my hb1ac is now below 6.

I don’t have a bad diet, no alcohol or fizzy drinks and do not have a sweet tooth just another side affect of pred - I also have adrenal suppression and a mix of other issues all linked back to prolonged high dose steroids.


Frazzle in reply to MikeWhite

Thankyou for your reply!

That must have been scary but glad they have managed to get it under control!

My diet is healthy 90% of the time, I allow myself a little chocolate on a Saturday and eat low carb (to avoid weight gain on steroids) and relatively low sugar the rest of the time.

I’m hoping my HbA1c comes back low but not sure it’s going to considering the amount of steriods i have had.

Hi frazzle- I have been affected by steroid induce d diabetes. It started maybe 10 or 11 years ago when I had a bad dose of pneumonia and ended up in hospital. I am also asthmatic so take inhaled steroids since then My blood levels are hard to keep down . I had a blood test yesterday to see how they are at the mo. I'm not on any medicine to control it. Doctors/nurses seem to think it is due to lifestyle but I am under 8 stone, low BMI of 19 , don't drink alcohol , rarely have fun food like chocolate, ice cream and i walk between 4-5 miles daily. Anita x

Hi Anita - I had pneumonia before Xmas, and have been on 6 lots of 40mg prednisolone courses since, and take 5mg daily too keep things at bay along side relvar and symbicort - both steroid inhalers. I really hope you blood test comes back as good as it can, it’s frustrating that they are putting out down to lifestyle when you don’t seem to be living an unhealthy lifestyle! x

I know - some healthcare workers see it as lifestyle and nothing else. I have reduced my carb intake to 100g or less a day since they put me on a pre diabetes course 2 years + in order to try to keep the levels down. Fingers crossed for a lower level this time as it was on the increase at the last 2 . They don't want to take on board the steroid intake as a factor. x

It’s a bit rubbish isn’t it! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you - let me know how it goes!

Thankfully my GP has been a godsend and straight away said we need bloods done - every other doctor though has said it’s not possible and that I’m too young to be tested. It’s a tough one that’s for sure, it’s hard when there’s so much evidence showing steroids raise your blood sugar yet not many seem to believe it x

You may also like...