The Ally Blog
3 min read · February 1, 2023

​​Diabetes Management

How lifestyle and daily routine affects your blood sugar levels

Did you know that 50% of people with diabetes don’t know they have it?

At Ally Health, we know that Diabetes comes with unique challenges, and it takes a community to support people as they navigate their care journey. Ally Health can work with you to provide your community with diabetes support/systems that allow you to manage care as efficiently and effectively as possible.

What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

The main difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is that type 1 diabetes is a genetic condition that often shows up early in life, and type 2 is mainly lifestyle-related and develops over time. With type 1 diabetes, your immune system is attacking and destroying the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas.

The more you know about factors that influence your blood sugar levels, the more you can anticipate fluctuations and plan accordingly. If you’re having trouble keeping your blood sugar level in your target range, ask your diabetes healthcare team for help. Early diagnosis and treatment reduce your risk of other health problems.

How do diet and exercise affect diabetes?

Healthy eating is a cornerstone of healthy living — with or without diabetes. If you have diabetes, it is extremely important to know how foods affect your blood sugar levels. It’s not only the type of food you eat but also how much you eat and the combinations of food types you eat.

Learn as much as you can about carbohydrate counting and portion sizes – make every meal as well-balanced as possible. Try to avoid sugar-sweetened beverages, and coordinate your meals with your medications.

Physical activity is another important part of your diabetes management plan. When you exercise, your muscles use sugar (glucose) for energy, and this means that regular physical activity helps your body use insulin more efficiently.

These factors work together to lower your blood sugar level. The more strenuous your workout, the longer the effect lasts. But even light activities — such as housework, gardening or being on your feet for extended periods can improve your blood sugar.

Did you know that medication can affect your blood sugar levels?

Insulin and other diabetes medications are designed to lower your blood sugar levels when diet and exercise alone aren’t sufficient for managing diabetes. But the effectiveness of these medications depends on the timing and size of the dose. Medications you take for conditions other than diabetes also can affect your blood sugar levels.

Feeling unwell?

When you’re sick, your body produces stress-related hormones that help your body fight the illness, but they also can raise your blood sugar level. Changes in your appetite and normal activity also may complicate diabetes management.

Did you know excessive alcohol consumption can affect your blood sugar?

The liver normally releases stored sugar to counteract falling blood sugar levels. However, if your liver is busy metabolizing alcohol, your blood sugar level may not get the boost it needs from your liver.

Feeling a monthly sugar dip?

Changes in hormone levels the week before and during menstruation can result in significant fluctuations in blood sugar levels. It is important to look for patterns and keep careful track of your blood sugar readings from month to month.

Did you know that prolonged stressful situations can alter your blood sugars? 

If you’re stressed, the hormones your body produces in response to prolonged stress may cause a rise in your blood sugar level. Try to take control – once you know how stress affects your blood sugar level, fight back and learn new strategies for coping with stress

How to best manage preventing diabetes:

1. Trying to lose extra weight as losing weight reduces the risk of diabetes. 

2. Be more physically active as there are many benefits to regular physical activity. 

3. Eat healthy plant foods as plants provide vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates in your diet. 

4. Eat more healthy fats such as Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fat.

5. Replacing carbohydrate and saturated fats with healthy fats, such as polyunsaturated fats, lowers blood sugar levels and improves insulin control, according to findings from a new meta-analysis. Around the world, there has been a sharp increase in the rates of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

6. Skip the fad diets and make healthier choices.

It is important that you contact your GP for dietary advice. Please seek non-urgent advice from your healthcare provider if you have any of the following diabetes symptoms:

1. Urinating more than usual, particularly at night

2. Increased thirst

3. Feeling very tired

4. Losing weight without trying to

5. Blurred vision 

When running diabetic reviews, we like to remind patients how daily lifestyle and habits can impact their diabetes level.