Weird readings that I don't understand

By GTU Latest Reply 2012-04-14 21:08:32 -0500
Started 2012-03-29 22:31:02 -0500

Hi friends,

Today I had a couple of readings that I can't make sense of. I planned on mowing the lawn, and wasn't sure how the activity would affect my blood sugar. I was especially curious because I had a very light lunch and was mowing before dinner. So I took a reading before I got started: 108.

Then I mowed the lawn. It only takes me from 45 minutes to an hour to mow, depending on what all I do. That is, it's not a huge yard. After i was done, I took a shower and then another reading: 130.

It went up? I thought exercise could cause it to drop. Did I test too soon? Is there an amount of time that I should wait after I'm done?

My (very supportive) wife reminded me that the only thing I did before I went out was to take a Zyrtec for my allergies. Could that explain the rise?

Have any of you experienced this?

I appreciate any / all feedback!


24 replies

GTU 2012-04-11 21:28:34 -0500 Report

Quick update: I repeated the experiment this week. My "before" reading was 110. I made sure I was hydrated before I started, hydrated while mowing (even though it was really, really cool out there), and I didn't take a Zyrtec. I know what you're thinking: "Hey, Goofball, you just changed TWO variables." I know, I know. Do I need to remind you that I'm performing a study on a population of one?

Where was I? Oh yeah…

Mowed the lawn (4,416 steps according to my new pedometer), showered, and waited at least 30 minutes from when I finished mowing. My reading: 107. That's more like what I would have expected.

I'm going to conclude that I dehydrated myself a bit that one week.

[Note: I've had enough readings with and without taking Zyrtec that I have concluded that it does not affect my BG]

GabbyPA 2012-04-12 10:04:17 -0500 Report

Isn't Zyrtec a decongestant? Isn't that in a way a dehydration type of med?

GTU 2012-04-12 14:17:04 -0500 Report

No, it's an antihistamine. My dehydration last time was from not hydrating properly throughout the day while at work, not hydrating before I began, and not hydrating while mowing. It was a cool day and I felt fine. There are lots of days that I forget to drink enough. I'm silly like that.

GabbyPA 2012-04-14 21:08:32 -0500 Report

LOL, we all are. Now that summer is here (in Florida) I don't go anywhere without a bottle of water with me.

Caroltoo 2012-03-30 21:51:40 -0500 Report

Walking is a moderate exercise that brings your BGs down. Strenous exercise can cause it to rise.

nzingha 2012-04-04 06:19:25 -0500 Report

really.. i thought excercise of any sorts would make ur bs go down

Caroltoo 2012-04-04 11:25:57 -0500 Report

Strenous exercise is by definition a physical stress on the body and stress increases our BGs. Moderate exercise is not physically stressful, so it does not increase BGs.

Both forms EVENTUALLY lower BGs by increasing insulin sensitivity, but the the IMMEDIETE effects are quite different. Short term, like in the 1/2 hour after exercising, BGs will be down with moderate exercise and up with really strenuous exercise.l

pixsidust 2012-03-30 21:41:56 -0500 Report

Along with the liver dump, I would look at when you last ate. Was your reading right after you ate vs an hour afterwards? Did you drink something while mowing?

GTU 2012-03-30 09:02:00 -0500 Report

FYI: I looked up the summary of Drug Adverse Effects information for Zyrtec, and it doesn't seem to be a likely cause.

[If I reply to my own post, am I talking to myself?]

GabbyPA 2012-03-31 11:57:26 -0500 Report

Yes, I suppose you are...but what is scary is that we can hear the voices in YOUR head...oh my! LOL

Nick1962 2012-03-30 08:03:36 -0500 Report

The responses so far have been spot on with what I've experienced. Given all those possible variables that could cause a rise in BG, keeping an even level seems to be a tightrope walk doesn't it? I would just add that the numbers you posted aren't terrible (but could be a little lower), and keep in mind before you were diagnosed you didn't know any of these numbers, and it didn't bother you, so try not to stress over it too much. Next week try it again when you mow and see if it happens again, then you'll have data on how you react under similar conditions and can react accordingly. It's part of the education.

GTU 2012-03-30 08:27:20 -0500 Report

Thank you, Nick1962. Good thoughts here. No worries about me stressing over it - I'm just a very curious person and was wanting to learn more about what could be going on.

Nick1962 2012-03-30 08:36:38 -0500 Report

Oh I'm with you there. It became a hobby for me, testing sometimes 10-12 times a day (an expensive hobby at that), and at times a game called "guess my BG".

diabetesfree 2012-03-30 04:16:24 -0500 Report

I know that hot water and steam will cause your blood pressure to rise. In fact, most health clubs have a policy against letting diabetics use their sauna facilities. So, heat may actually raise your blood sugar levels. You might ask your Doctor about this.

There is also the possibilty that your last meal took quite a while to digest properly, and that your blood sugar didn't rise until some hours after you ate.

Then there is stress… Physical and emotional stress have a definite impact upon blood sugar levels. Lastly, you may be harboring a cold, virus, etc. that has not yet shown outward symptoms. Just about any illness will cause your blood sugar levels to rise. Strenous activity while you are sick will definitely trigger a higher release of blood glucose.

Oh, one last idea… You may have dehydrated yourself while working. The less water in your bloodstream, the higher the concentration of blood glucose. Rehydration should fix the problem. Hope this variety of possible answers helps!

GTU 2012-03-30 08:25:55 -0500 Report

I didn't think about the dehydration. Is was a cool evening, so I never stopped to re-hydrate like I usually do. Normally, I'd have two full cups of water before I start, and two part-way through.

I'll check it again next week (like Nick1962 above suggested) and see what results I get.

Thank you for taking the time to reply.

diabetesfree 2012-03-30 09:57:37 -0500 Report

No problem. Keep in mind, it is even possible to become dehydrated when working hard in zero degree weather. The heat that your body generates from physical activity can cause dehydration even faster than the outside temperature can. The more you use your muscles, the faster your body will burn through fluids. I can usually tell when I am dehydrated, because it is more difficult to get enough blood for a glucose sample. There are better indicators of whether or not you are dehydrated, but it is much more common with diabetics than most people think. The only times I have had to be admitted to the hospital due to my diabetes were when I was so dehydrated that it was starting to make me sick. The only treatment I needed was an IV drip and I was better within 1-2 hours. Obviously, you don't want to let it get to that point. In general, very few people drink too much water. Many (if not most) people are underhydrated. Since it is pretty difficult to "over drink", having a glass of water is unlikely to do you much harm, IMHO. You see a lot more people in this world dying or getting sick from dehydration than from overhydration.

Young1s 2012-03-30 13:28:46 -0500 Report

This is true. I personally drink at least 3 1/2 liters a day, but sometimes it can be 4 liters. It may sound like a lot but spaced out throughout the day, it really isn't.

jayabee52 2012-03-30 00:55:54 -0500 Report

Howdy GT!

What might be happening there is that you started at a good level at 108. But your mowing activity (exercise) which lowered your BG further. Eventually you lowered your BG low enough to cause a liver dump. It happened without your awareness as it was an automatic behavior of your body to tide you over in an emergency. (everyone's body does it. — those who have diabetes as well as those who do not )

You continued to work and and burned off some of that liver dump (I am guessing) and ended up with a reading of 130.

I don't know about Zyrtec as a med which affects BGs either way.

Blessings to you and yours


GabbyPA 2012-03-31 11:55:55 -0500 Report

I tend to agree with James here on this one. Also if you test about 30 minutes after (it sounds like you did that) that is when you should get a more accurate reading. Our bodies keep on using the glucose for a while so it should drop as you relax.

General rules of exercise:
If you are below 100, eat something first
If you are above 300, do not exercise, but get your numbers lower first
Anything in between is generally good. Maybe since you were so close to the 100 mark (our meters can be up to 20 points off in either direction) then maybe a little snack of crackers and peanut butter would have been good.

Try something like that next time and see if it helps.

GTU 2012-03-30 08:28:41 -0500 Report

James, as usual your reply is very informative. Thank you for taking the time to reply. I didn't know about the liver dump. I'll have to read up more on that. Thank you for taking the time to reply.

jayabee52 2012-03-30 11:24:54 -0500 Report

There is a lot of discussion on DC and on the web on this issue. Should you need pointers on where to look, just let me know.