What are highs and lows?

Experiencing highs and lows

Are you experiencing highs and lows?

Managing your diabetes is not so easy. You’re doing your best to watch what you eat, how you exercise, and you take your medication as recommended...yet your blood glucose levels still fluctuate. You may feel tired or irritated, sometimes you feel down.

It’s important for you to be able to recognise the symptoms of high and low blood glucose levels. Now is the time to take action.

Talk to your healthcare professional as a first step, as he/she will be able to recommend adjustments that can help you manage your diabetes better; have a read of the Diabetes UK checklist for topics that you may want to discuss with your healthcare professional.


Fluctuations don’t mean you aren’t trying hard enough – there are several reasons why your blood glucose levels might fluctuate:

The medication I take:
Is your current treatment the most appropriate for you? Certain diabetes medications, including insulins and the daily dose you take may affect blood sugar levels and may produce different results in different people. Even if you follow your prescribed treatment exactly as your doctor has recommended, you may still experience highs and lows.1

My diet:
A good meal plan should fit with your schedule and eating habits. Ask your family, friends, dietician and healthcare professional to help you find the right meal plan that will complement your diabetes treatment option and help you achieve your target blood glucose level.2

When I'm not feeling well:
Is your level of physical activity impacting your blood glucose control? Having the common cold, flu or suffering from allergies can have an impact on your diabetes medication treatment and therefore keep you from achieving your target level of blood glucose control.3 Tell your doctor about any other medical condition you may have. Small changes to your current treatment may help you manage your blood glucose better during an illness.

My level of activity:
Is your level of physical activity impacting your blood glucose control? Regular exercise and a healthy diet combined with an adequate/customised diabetes medical treatment are important to manage your highs and lows. Speak to your healthcare professional about the level of exercise that may be good for you.4 He/she will be able to tell you if you need to change your level of activity, your meals or your medical treatment to achieve a better blood glucose balance.4

Times when I feel low and stressed:
Discuss with your healthcare professional your levels of stress and your state of emotional well-being, as these factors may affect your glycaemic control. There is an emotional burden that comes with managing a chronic condition like diabetes.5 You’re not alone, many people with diabetes often experience high levels of diabetes-related distress and anxiety.5 The stress of daily management created by different results in your blood glucose levels can be frustrating and overwhelming. Talk to your doctor, he/she can reassure you by helping you to customise your diabetes medical treatment.