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Can allergies raise glucose level?

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#1
lmaz

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For the past wk, with the advent of spring (and pollen, mold, etc, to which I am allergic), my glucose levels have run almost twice as hi as normal, even with eating less and injecting more. I even switched to new bottles of insulin to see if that were the cause (it wasn't).
Can allergies cause glucose level to be higher? Can immune activation raise glucose levels?
If antihistamines treat the symptoms but not the cause (immune activation), then they won't help glucose levels return to normal, right?
Has anyone else noticed this connection? Les

#2
sarahspins

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Oh holy heck yes :)

Part of the body's natural allergic response is to produce cortisol (which is a steroid). The intent in the body is to reduce inflamation, but it has the unfortunate effect of causing elevated BG.. the effect varies. The last time I dealt with this I was having scary high numbers.

Antihistamines don't treat the symptoms, they actually do help to reduce the response. My CDE recently turned me on to using flonase to reduce my nasal symptoms, which seems to be the source of the typical seasonal allergy cascade for me.. I was skeptical about adding a steroid into the mix, but since it's localized it does seem to help without a huge impact on my BG. If I am having more systemic allergy issues, nothing really helps... I have to bump up the insulin a LOT.
Sarah, T1 since 2000
PINGing Apidra along with Dexcom 7+

#3
rak1978

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I believe they can. When your immune system is activated trying to fight off an attack, your body releases cortisol....which raises blood sugar.
I have chronic autoimmune hives that were in full force from last may until just recently and my blood sugars were crazy the whole time (and I had tons of antihistimines in me!). I feel like I've gotten some control back over my sugars now that the hives are in "remission". Now, I have made other drastic changes, so I don't know if the improvement can be directly linked to the hives subsiding....or even if my bad numbers that I had could be directly linked to the hives being in full force. It could've just been the stress of the hives that lead me to make poor lifestyle and diabetes management (or lack thereof) choices that caused my numbers to be SO bad (like 40-400 on a pretty regular basis). And, now that they're gone, I can think more clearly to better manage myself and my situation. I do think that cortisol plays a big factor in glucose levels, and from what I understand, that's what your body releases to fight the allergy. That's my experience for what it's worth.
I hope you feel better soon!
Rachel :D
Type 1, diagnosed 2004

#4
lmaz

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Thank you both for your replies!
I thought cortisol suppressed the immune system (so, in that case, cortisol should help control the allergic symptoms, right?) But I do know that cortisol is supposed to increase glucose values.
Interestingly, I don't produce much cortisol (so I guess, if I did produce more, then my symptoms would be even greater?!)
I thought histamine was the result of the immune system activation (so an antihistamine would decrease the histamine, right?) Or, Sarah, are you saying that by controlling the histamine, this in turn downregulates the upregulated immune system? (I am already on Singulair, which decreases leukotrienes, but this hadn't been helping)
Rak, I too have some autoimmune conditions (including hives); now I know to look for a possible connection between a flare in any of those disorders and any higher glucose levels going on at the time.
I sure hope I can get this glucose level down; have you found that, by taking the antihistamines and/or Flonase that this has helped your glucose level decrease back down to normal? How long did this take? (days? Weeks?) ( also get systemic symptoms, like extreme fatigue, cognitive problems, etc; these are the most bothersome, to me)Les

#5
ljjhouser

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Yep, I agree. Seems like almost everything can affect you body and immune system, therefore BG also. Larry
A1c
10.7 - BG 246 - 08/07/2009
7.4 - BG 94 - 10/07/2009
6.2 - BG 96 - 11/11/2009
5.8 BG 92 - 1/05/2010
5.7 BG 87 - 05/03/2010

No Meds, just diet - so far!

I came into this world with nothing, and I've been able to keep most of that.

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

A week of paddling instruction is worth a lifetime of "paddling around."

#6
rak1978

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I sure hope I can get this glucose level down; have you found that, by taking the antihistamines and/or Flonase that this has helped your glucose level decrease back down to normal? How long did this take? (days? Weeks?) ( also get systemic symptoms, like extreme fatigue, cognitive problems, etc; these are the most bothersome, to me)Les


Imaz, I didn't see a decrease in my numbers until the actual hives went away...so 8 months ? :(. I was on massive doses of antihistamines the whole time (singular, plus 40 mg zyrtec, and a round of prednisone). But, again, I'm not sure that there was a direct connection with the immune system craziness and the high blood sugars...there were other things going on as well.
I am confused now about the whole cortisol & histamine thing. I think (from what I read googling it) that your body produces histamine as a response to an allergen (or in our case with the hives...in response to nothing! It's just mutiny). Then the body produces cortisol to suppress the immune system's response (histamine) to the allergen. I may be wrong, but that is my understanding. :o
As far as the systemic symptoms you mentioned...I had/have those as well and they didn't go away until the hives did. I think when people think hives, they think a minor skin irritation. Well, as you know, this is not what I'm referring to. It landed me in the ER because my lips/mouth/tongue and nose were swelling along w/ head to toe swelling and massive hives (the kind that get so big that they connect together and cover an entire area). I'll post a picture if I can figure out how.

Anyway, I hope you feel better soon. You may just have to compensate w/ added insulin in the meantime and try not to stress. Have you tried zyrtec? That helps me w/ the seasonal allergies.
Rachel :D
Type 1, diagnosed 2004

#7
AussiePozzie

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:D Hi all

I have found this thread SOOOO interesting! Thank you everyone because I am now understanding my (rotten) hives a bit better! Wow, wow and WOW! Up until this week, I didn't even realise that my hives was related to my DB. My educator talked with me about going on a base dose of cortison but told me that my BGLs will go up and I will have to increase my insulin. I am to see my physician next week to talk it all over. thanks again, I now feel very armed with information before I see my Doc! :D

#8
TommyC1

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For the past wk, with the advent of spring (and pollen, mold, etc, to which I am allergic), my glucose levels have run almost twice as hi as normal, even with eating less and injecting more. I even switched to new bottles of insulin to see if that were the cause (it wasn't).
Can allergies cause glucose level to be higher? Can immune activation raise glucose levels?
If antihistamines treat the symptoms but not the cause (immune activation), then they won't help glucose levels return to normal, right?
Has anyone else noticed this connection? Les


Yes.
My allergies clearly raise my BS. I blame it on stress. For me at least allergies are a major source of stress.

Lantus & Novalog MDI

#9
Rebecca

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I thought cortisol suppressed the immune system (so, in that case, cortisol should help control the allergic symptoms, right?) But I do know that cortisol is supposed to increase glucose values.


Cortisol is produced by your adrenal glands. They are little endocrine glands that look like dunce caps sitting upon your kidneys. Cortisol is a hormone that is required for life. It is also a fight or flight hormone (ie stress).
Cortisol does not suppress your immune system, it is Cortisone which is a glucocorticoid steroid that will supress your immune system (along with solumedrol, depomedrol, prednisone, ect).
With extra cortisol coursing throughout your body, your body is either under going stress, or some kind of fight/flight reaction and therefore more cortisol pumped out of your adrenals, the higher your sugars are going to go, and the more insulin resistant you will become (ie in response to allergies/allergic reactions).

Interestingly, I don't produce much cortisol (so I guess, if I did produce more, then my symptoms would be even greater?!)


Since you state you don't produce much cortisol, do you take solumedrol or prednisone in low doses each and every day. For cortisol is specifically required for life, or do you produce the bare minimum to sustain life?


I thought histamine was the result of the immune system activation (so an antihistamine would decrease the histamine, right?)


Your body will produce histamine in reaction to a allergic reaction (chemicals, food, natural, medical, ect). A antihistamine (ie benadryl aka diphenhydromine HCl.. say that one for it is the most common one) will decrease the histamine in your body, thereby decreasing the allergic reaction to allergy causing substance.

by controlling the histamine, this in turn downregulates the upregulated immune system? (I am already on Singulair, which decreases leukotrienes, but this hadn't been helping)


Singulair does not work in 100% of all patients, just as Zyrtec (Certirizine HCl), Claritin (Loratadine HCl), and others do not work in all cases. To control the histamines, either one needs to take a effective antihistamine or avoid the allergin.

I personally have seasonal allergies in addition to allergies year around. I take 10mg Zyrtec twice daily (Normal is once per day, and I do this on orders from my allergist), I take 10mg Singulair daily, Azestilin (Azestiline HCL..nasel spray) twice daily, Optivar (Azestline HCL.. eye drops) once a day, in addition to 50-100mg of benadryl every 4 hours as needed, and I am able to control my allergy symptoms and blood glucose veriances in reguards to allergic reactions (dust, dust mites, mold, mildew, pollens, cat dander, cat saliva, bird feathers, raspberries, strawberries, coconut, coconut oils, walnuts, dairy, eggs.. then all the medications I am allergic to, in addition to Latex, and 90% of all tapes on market.. oh and I live with 1 cat... had 2 until I had to put one to sleep due to necrotizing pancreatitis and 2 cockatiels).
Type 1 since Feb, 1978....DX'd @ 3 years old
Cozmo Pump
Last HbA1c: 5.9 (02/02/2012)

#10
rak1978

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Cortisol is produced by your adrenal glands. They are little endocrine glands that look like dunce caps sitting upon your kidneys. Cortisol is a hormone that is required for life. It is also a fight or flight hormone (ie stress).
Cortisol does not suppress your immune system, it is Cortisone which is a glucocorticoid steroid that will supress your immune system (along with solumedrol, depomedrol, prednisone, ect).
With extra cortisol coursing throughout your body, your body is either under going stress, or some kind of fight/flight reaction and therefore more cortisol pumped out of your adrenals, the higher your sugars are going to go, and the more insulin resistant you will become (ie in response to allergies/allergic reactions).



Since you state you don't produce much cortisol, do you take solumedrol or prednisone in low doses each and every day. For cortisol is specifically required for life, or do you produce the bare minimum to sustain life?




Your body will produce histamine in reaction to a allergic reaction (chemicals, food, natural, medical, ect). A antihistamine (ie benadryl aka diphenhydromine HCl.. say that one for it is the most common one) will decrease the histamine in your body, thereby decreasing the allergic reaction to allergy causing substance.



Singulair does not work in 100% of all patients, just as Zyrtec (Certirizine HCl), Claritin (Loratadine HCl), and others do not work in all cases. To control the histamines, either one needs to take a effective antihistamine or avoid the allergin.

I personally have seasonal allergies in addition to allergies year around. I take 10mg Zyrtec twice daily (Normal is once per day, and I do this on orders from my allergist), I take 10mg Singulair daily, Azestilin (Azestiline HCL..nasel spray) twice daily, Optivar (Azestline HCL.. eye drops) once a day, in addition to 50-100mg of benadryl every 4 hours as needed, and I am able to control my allergy symptoms and blood glucose veriances in reguards to allergic reactions (dust, dust mites, mold, mildew, pollens, cat dander, cat saliva, bird feathers, raspberries, strawberries, coconut, coconut oils, walnuts, dairy, eggs.. then all the medications I am allergic to, in addition to Latex, and 90% of all tapes on market.. oh and I live with 1 cat... had 2 until I had to put one to sleep due to necrotizing pancreatitis and 2 cockatiels).



Rebecca, Thanks for clearing that up! I was confusing myself about this cortisol/cortisone/histamine thing. :)
Rachel :D
Type 1, diagnosed 2004




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