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February 25, 2002

Sick Days

Question from Kent, Connecticut, USA:

I've been sick for about a week and have noticed that my blood sugar has been really high. Is this because I've been sick, laying around a lot, sleeping, or something else?

Answer:

Your sugar is high from a combination of things. First, any time you are sick, your body puts out more of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol antagonizes insulin’s effects on blood sugar. In addition, less activity means you are using less glucose in your muscles. This combination results in higher sugars.

I would recommend you discuss a sick day protocol with your physician. We usually recommend more frequent monitoring, limits for notifying your physician, limits for monitoring urine ketones, and possible treatments to handle high sugars.

JTL

[Editor’s comment: See sick day management.

SS]