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From sunburns to nasal spray: Five triggers that can send ‘blood sugar soaring’ – CDC

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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High blood sugar levels are the primary feature of diabetes, but taming them is indispensable. Failure to do so can have immediate effects on the body, which grow in severity over time. Fortunately, the CDC has highlighted several “surprising triggers” that could send blood sugar levels soaring.

Blood sugar control is mainly dictated by the food we consume, but certain non-dietary factors may be equally important to consider.

In fact, even the most meticulous efforts to tailor diet could be thwarted by environmental factors.

The CDC lists skipping breakfast, nasal spray, sunburns, gum disease and artificial sweeteners as potential risk factors for high blood sugar.

“Look out for these surprising triggers that can send your blood sugar soaring,” notes the health body.

READ MORE: Type 2 diabetes warning: Two fruits that can cause blood sugar levels to rise ‘too high’

Skipping breakfast

According to the CDC: “Going without [a] morning meal can increase blood sugar after both lunch and dinner.”

The detriments of skipping breakfast have been highlighted in several studies, the latest of which is just shy of three months old.

The study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, cautioned that abstaining from breakfast could further impair insulin function in diabetics.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University, also noted that the omission of breakfast significantly increased all-day blood sugar levels.

Nasal spray

According to Medicine Net, the majority of nasal sprays are made with a formula comprising powdered glucagon.

This hormone can prompt increases in blood sugar so significant that some scientists have proposed nasal spray be used in the treatment of hypoglycaemia – or low blood sugar.


Next on the CDC’s list of surprising triggers is sunburns, which can have a domino effect on several biological mechanisms.

Because sunburn causes physical pain, this, in turn, can induce a spike in cortisol levels – the stress hormone.

Under these conditions, cortisol will supply the body with glucose by tapping into proteins stored in the liver.

Gum disease

Severe gum disease may negatively impact blood sugar control by inducing inflammation inside the gums.

This inflammation can escape into the bloodstream, perturbing the body’s defences which in turn disrupt blood sugar control.

Artificial sweeteners

There’s a widely held belief among diabetics that artificial sweeteners are the safer alternative to sugar, but some studies have challenged this view.

According to the CDC: “More research is needed, but some studies show they can raise blood sugar.”

The body also cautions: “Watch out for other triggers that can make your blood sugar fall. For example, extreme heat can cause blood vessels to dilate (widen). That makes insulin absorb more quickly and could lead to low blood sugar.

“If an activity or food is new, check your blood sugar before and after to see how you respond.”

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