What Causes Blood Sugar Spikes?

what causes blood sugar spikesIf you suffer from type 2 diabetes, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels can be a battle. Knowing what causes blood sugar spikes can help you avoid high blood sugar levels and prevent unnecessary complications. If you need help controlling your diabetes, schedule an appointment with Dr. Minni Malhotra, MD, FAARM, ABAARM today.

What Causes Blood Sugar Spikes?

Lack of sleep

Not getting enough sleep affects how well your body can control and break down blood sugar. One study found that sleeping less than 6.5 hours a night significantly increases your risk for high blood glucose levels. It is especially important for people with diabetes to prioritize healthy sleep and good sleep hygiene to prevent high blood sugar spikes.

Not enough – or too much – exercise

A sedentary lifestyle leads to high blood sugar levels because your body cannot effectively process glucose. Mild workouts (such as walking or even light housework) help lower your blood sugar because your muscles use the glucose much faster than when you are sedentary. Regular exercise can also improve how your body responds to insulin. However, exercise that is too difficult (such as bench-pressing or running a marathon) can actually raise your blood sugar levels in response to the stress your body is facing. Be sure to talk to your doctor about what types of exercise may be most beneficial for you.


When placed under stress, the body produces hormones that cause your body to use its stored energy sources (glucose and fat). In a diabetic, insulin can’t break down the glucose at an equal rate, causing blood sugar spikes. Stress can also lead indirectly to higher blood sugar levels, as people under stress are less likely to maintain healthy eating and sleep habits, and can forget to exercise or take medication regularly. Lowering and managing stress levels is key to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.


Certain medications are known to cause blood sugar spikes, such as diuretics, corticosteroids, and certain antidepressants and blood pressure medications. It is important to talk to your doctor if you are taking any of these medications. Additionally, missing a dose or taking the wrong dose of insulin can cause blood sugar spikes. Be sure to take your insulin as prescribed to avoid low or high blood sugar levels.


Smoking not only increases the risk of developing diabetes; it interferes with a diabetic’s ability to keep their blood sugar levels down. A person who smokes will have difficulty finding the right dose of insulin and controlling their blood sugar. If you need help quitting, consult your doctor today.



Eating the wrong foods is the most well-known cause of blood sugar spikes. Foods (especially carbohydrates) with a high glycemic index – such as bagels, white rice, and processed foods – can cause blood sugar levels to go soaring. Choose foods with a low glycemic index, such as quinoa, brown rice, yogurt, beans, and vegetables. Fiber also helps lower blood sugar. Good sources of fiber include legumes, vegetables, and fruits that are lower in sugar (such as blueberries and apples).


Poor dental health

Having diabetes puts you at a higher risk of developing gum disease. In turn, gum disease – like any other infection – can cause your blood sugar levels to rise. The American Dental Association recommends that people with diabetes take extra care of their gums, which includes brushing, flossing, using an antiseptic mouthwash daily, and seeing a dentist regularly.


When you’re sick, your body releases hormones that help your immune system fight off the invading germs. However, these hormones can also interfere with insulin’s ability to lower your blood sugar. When you are sick, it is important to stay hydrated and be extra mindful of what you eat. If your illness is severe, you should call your doctor as you may need to alter your insulin dosage.

Contact Anchor Wellness Center for Help Controlling Blood Sugar Levels

If you have trouble controlling your blood sugar levels, call Anchor Wellness Center today at (832) 246-8437. As a Board Certified physician both in Family Medicine and with the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Malhotra can help you develop a personalized treatment plan to manage your blood sugar levels.

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Check out Dr. Minni's interview on Channel 2's Houston Life Program!Watch Video