coping with steroid (prednisone) induced diabetes

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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 254
   Posted 9/8/2006 3:34 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm new to this board. I have several autoimmune diseases that I am being treated for, as well as depression. I started taking prednisone in April. 40mg, and found out that I have diabetes. My doctor says that is not unusual for this to happen. I did very well maintaining the low carb diet and had to take very little insulin for several months. I have lost 25lb on the diabetic diet that the nutritionist in my doctors office put me on. Most people are very surprised because of the hunger with prednisone. I managed to change my food  habits and it has worked. I feel right now I am really in need of support though.
I am very tempted to take insulin when I don't need it just so I can eat more carbs. I still do no sugar everything. I am probably addicted to sugar free jello and sugar free cool
Today when I got up and tested, my bg was high. I found that to be really unusual. It was something 180. That has never happened. I did sleep until the afternoon because I had been up most of the night and I woke up feeling pretty yucky. Oh, I had taken my prednisone earlier, around 11. That may have done it.  I just have some concerns though, and questions.
 What I want to ask is this.. If  diabetes is not controlled  through diet and exercise, does it get worse? Does it hurt to cheat? What I mean is this.. Say you go out to dinner at your favorite restaurant. You decide to have a piece of carrot cake, my favorite tongue , is this something that can cause big problems. Every now and then we go out  I eat a small portion of spagetti, one of my favorite foods. Maybe every 2 weeks. But I am good most other times, eat lots of salads,fish, chicken, good vegs. low fat, no sugar, on and on.. and have all the things here to eat a diabetic meals, and I do.  And I don't mind. The weight was/is much needed. And I feel like I am helping myself in other ways too.. heart problems for instance.
A few questions:
Does your pancreas stop producing less insulin the more insulin you have to take? I am a little frightened about my sugar levels being higher lately being. Anyone have any ideas. I know I am not being as diligent as I was months ago about carb counting and things, but I am trying my best.
I want to keep this regimen up because I do not want to have diabetes, uncontrolled, or be insulin dependent. I have a brother that is, and had an aunt  that lost a leg to it years ago. I guess this has put the fear of God in me. I have enough to deal with knowing that my liver is very sick and that I may have to have a transplant if the illness I have does not go into remission. I have an autoimmune liver disease that if not gotten under control will very quickly into cirrosis, which can lead to liver failure. ( That is why I am on the prednisone.)
 I would like to get to know some of you on this board and make some friends, get some info and support on diabetes.
Thank you for listening.
"Hope is seldom found in the things we can see;
it is the sweet fragrance of grace."

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/8/2006 4:35 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Judy tongue

I'm new to this site as well, but take heart, things are not as bad as they may seem!!!

I've been a diabetic for 20 odd years as well as having bi-polar disorder (both caused by the same car accident).

In regards to the diabetes, my specialist once said to me, YOU rule the diabetes, it does'nt rule you. I don't know how old you are, but if you are young, it will take some time to fully adjust your medication and life style to the disease. Once you become used to the way you feel e.g. too high or too low, it IS easy to live with. I have been a firefighter and ambulance office and my diabetes has not affected my ability to do my work, and I take insulin to control the disease.

As far as depression is concerned, the better it is controlled the better your diabetes will be controlled.

I hope I have given you some good news for your future, and if I can answer any of your worries or just be someone for you to to ask any questions of, please ask away.



Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 254
   Posted 9/8/2006 5:31 AM (GMT -7)   

Thanks so much for your quick response Mark. I am 54, 40lb more overweight, and very confused about all this. I am hoping that once we take the prednisone down lower that the diabetes will be gone. But I also have a strange feeling that I  had it before the prednisone because of a alot of symptoms that I see now pertain to diabetes. How can I, we, people general not understand our bodies until it is almost too late. I guess everything else in life has taken come first, raising children, making sure their needs are met. :-), ect. , taking them to the doc when I feel worse. lol  That is just being a partent, but it is also ignoring me. Oh well, it's here, lets deal with it. and so i will.

I have done a good job staying on low carbs.. heck didn't know much about what they were until all this so  it's been a real wake up call for me. I've been reading some posts about insulin resistance. Interesting, but confusing too.. Guess I better take on thing at a time. I can see how that could happen though, and would like to find out more about it.

I had a steak last night tongue so I do not do without fats. Actually, I have a good mixture Iwould say. I eat a lot of protein and some fat, try not to eat a lot of saturated, but I do get my fat, protein, and carbs (without bread, potatoes, and my beloved pasta) lol.

I do not touch sugar if it is not added to something already and I can't help it.

Oh, I use a hemalog pen. I do not know why I started the shots instesad of pills.

My MD decided that. It might have something to do with my liver.

Thank you so much for writing. It was very helpful. I am also bp2. so you are in good company. yeah

I guess I am being pretty hard on myself sometimes. I've made this diet and working on keeping this insulin and diabetic thing under control. Instead I think I will give myself a big pat on the back. tongue

Thanks again,

Be Well,


"Hope is seldom found in the things we can see;
it is the sweet fragrance of grace."

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 242
   Posted 9/8/2006 6:11 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Judy,

Welcome!  It's nice to meet you, even though the reasons aren't so good!

Also I'll take the opportunity to welcome Beau33 too!

Judy, I'm guessing that your type of diabetes is type 2 (also sometimes called adult onset - it's where insulin is still made in the body but the body cannot absorb or use it properly).  There is also type 1 diabetes (sometimes called juvenile diabetes) which is different - it is where the pancreas no longer makes insulin and this is usually the one that is an autoimmune response.  Type 2 is usually dealt with either diet alone, diet and medication, or eventually moving on to insulin too.  Type 1 is ALWAYS treated with insulin injections and diet though in my opinion the diet is less restricted for t1s rather than t2s (I'm a t1, since the age of 12).

Please look through previous posts and the more you learn the easier it will become for you - knowledge truly is power with diabetes.

In my opinion you can't live life without having the occasional treat, but do keep it to that - an occasional treat!

On waking up with your blood sugars high, this could be caused by so many factors that you shouldn't dwell on it too much unless it happens again.  You obviously need to keep this in check as much as possible but you also need to take into account that you can get the odd high number for no apparent reason.  Stress can affect it, illness with temperature, eating a little too much...

I think you deserve a pat on the back - you seem to be doing pretty well, especially that diabetes is only part of it!

If you have any questions (or indeed anything info to share) then please do keep coming back - I know I for one have learnt so much since joining healingwell.

Claire x

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 254
   Posted 9/9/2006 10:19 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Claire,
Thank you for the welcome. :-) I am glad to have found this place. I have multiple health issues.
I think I have what is called type 2 diabetes. What scares me is that 4 months ago when this started I was not even having to use insulin, or at least once I had learned the right way, times, and foods to eat. My BG levels were so under control. I was in a yahoo support group online too at time time. Some seemed fanatical what they were eating, watching carbs, and I adopted that attitude, radically changed my diet and did great up until some stressful things started happening personally. I can track it back that now. I started eat compulisvly to deal with the stress, and not always right.

I am trying really hard right now to get back on track. I appreciate you writing and the support and encouragement . Please keep in touch.

"Hope is seldom found in the things we can see;
it is the sweet fragrance of grace."

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 3169
   Posted 9/9/2006 6:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Judy. I'm another newbie to this forum, though not to HW. When I was on prednisone years ago I was told I was borderline diabetic, but I got off the pred and lost some weight and my glucose went down -- until sometime this year, I think. It was gradual, first I was just told to watch my diet, then I was put on 50 mg of metformin daily, then it went up to two 50 mg pills per day. I think you are right about giving yourself a pat on the back; to lose weight while on Prednisone is truly amazing and admirable. We need to acknowledge our victories, large and small, in order to keep on track. Nice work.
Take care. Lois

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 7/14/2008 7:59 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Judy and All. Yep, I, too have type II diabetes compliments of prednisone (for copd). . Mine was discovered this last fall, when I was asked if I was a diabetic. I said "don't think so' and after a number of squirrely readings, and a week home forwarding my blood sugar readings to my primary, I was diagnosed with diabetes. Everytime I'm put into the hospital, I'm given high-dose solumedrol due to COPD flares. Actually, with prednisone caused diabetes, your fasting readings look great! I had one doc try to persuade me to stop using my insulin when I got home from the hospital (my bedside readings were still 150-250). I just waved and continued on my insulin upon arriving home.

Also, a rather eclectic bunch of foods can be culprits, some that you wouldn't even think - like balogna, and some that you'd swear would - like Dr. Pepper (NOT diet). Prednisone causes blood sugars AFTER EATING to be the primary culprits. Apparently, the numbers drop fast enough that A1C's are pretty good. Inspite of crazy readings over the last few months, and a '170' average according to my meter, I had an A1C of 6. However, just because sugars can be raised at wierd times for those on prednisone and can look normal in the a.m.'s as well as the A1C, high sugars can still do damage.

I've had a few high readings in the morning - I've heard them called the "dawn phenomenon"... dunno. Just keep plugging and poking (oh, sorry)


Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 401
   Posted 7/15/2008 12:17 AM (GMT -7)   

I am also on prednisone for the past 2 years and weaning off now. I have lost 100 pounds in less than a year with the low carb diet. I have found if I don't eat when I take the pred, my bg goes up. Just some cheese or Greek Yogurt help keep the bg down. I also like the new yogurt from Light and Lively called carb and sugar control(3 to 4g carbs) Also, coming off the pred I am losing more weight and having trouble keeping bg numbers up. I have need to drink OJ in the middle of the night. Eat some type of food that slows the pred entering the system. I take the pred in the morning with Metformin and that also helps. Maybe taking your pred with your insulin would help. My bg is now between 70 and 90 most all times even after eating. For me, eating some popcorn would keep the bg down over night. I just kept trying to see what would help and test, test, test the bg alot(10 times a day). I can't eat many carbs on the pred. No fruit or even wheat products including any bread. Prednisone is the "evil candy." Wrecks the body but keeps you alive if you need it. I have been in the hospital with the pred I.V. five times in the past year but on the low carb diet and exercise have avoided being inpatient since last October when I almost died with pred induced diabetes. Then I found this forum and started taking control of my health. Doctors advice is good for the people it works for but for me it wasn't working. Everyone's body handles things differently. You have to find what works for you with your doctors help. I was lucky to find a Diabetic Clinic that believes in low carb eating(some doctors don't) and it really works for me. The people here are wonderful and will help you and give you encouragement and share their experiences. Good luck:)

Jack Ryan
New Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 7/16/2008 10:25 PM (GMT -7)   
Howdy all.

Quite the coincidence my running across this just today.

I could have written a lot of this my self.

I had some herniated disc in my neck that were so bad I was ready to give up and get surgery. The neuro surgeon gave me some high does of prednisone to try first.

7 pills the first day, then 6,5,4, 3,2,1 on subsequent days.

By day 3, I had diabetes. He just wouldn't admit it and told me every day that it would get better the next since the dose was lower. The problem is I wanted to believe him. He's a doctor. It did cure my neck like a miricle. It just made me stumble around like a drunk and suck down Pepsi by the liter bottle. Two or three liters by the time I was down to one pill.
He never once mentioned diabetes, high sugar or any warning though I was calling him a couple times a day. It only took a couple days before we were researching the side affects of this drug for our selves on the internet. Telling him "this sounds like this has given me diabetes" and that lieing quack convincing me to take the next dose.

Finally my wife was of clear mind enough to tell the doctor to go take a flying leap, we were going to the emergency room regardless of what he said and once there they admitted me with BG level over 700.

Now I had gotton regular physicals and complete blood tests once a year as an asbestos and chemical worker as well as every year at these work related fitness fairs and never once in the decades I'd had those did any one ever say any thing about high blood sugar or diabetes to me and it was one of the tests they did every time.

What's the difference between "activating latent diabetes" and giving you diabetes? A law suit. That's the only difference IMO.
That was all 8 years ago so now that my rant is out of the way, on to something a little more useful to you.
On that high sugar reading in the morning when you get up, try a late snack right before you go to bed. I know it sounds counter intuitive to eat a carb before going to bed to lower the sugar in the morning but it works for many. I works for me. I can even get away with one ice cream sandwitch right before bed it I watch it earlier in the evening.
What happens is while you try to get 8 hours sleep your sugar starts low since it is probably the longest time you go with out eating. When you hit a low your live kicks out some sugar to stablize the BG level and when you get up it is on the high side for your norm.
Just try something even so small as a couple peanut butter and crackers right before bed and then test when you get up to see if it helps. I'd bet you will be lower than you expect rather than high.

Post Edited (Jack Ryan) : 7/16/2008 11:38:30 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 486
   Posted 7/17/2008 10:01 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Everyone,

Another thought to consider, sometimes when you go for long periods of time without eating (such as sleeping overnight and not eating until after 11am or noon) your sugar will reach a low early and then your liver will start pumping out sugar to raise it. It may keep pumping out sugar until you actually eat something. I found this to be my situation, if I skip breakfast my sugar will go from 100 at 6am to 180 at 9am and keep climbing until I eat.

So, do not skip meals. A light snack about 30 minutes before bed may also help.

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 1/13/2009 7:03 PM (GMT -7)   
I have predisone induced diabeties and I need to figure out how to get it under control. I am on 60mg of predisone a day. My doctor has given me an insulin scale that runs from 70-400. My numbers are running high in the 300-350 range. I am clueless what I should eat to keep my numbers lower. I am constantly hungry like I'm stoned. I had a bone marrow transplant because I had Acute Lymphatic Leukemia. Now I have graft vs host disease. It affects my ability to process food period and I am loosing a lot of muscle mass. I have talked to my doctor and she says I need a high protien, low carb, low sugar diet. What does that mean I can eat? and eat a lot of? I don't mind if I gain weight and what I want is to have is more energy. I used to be an athelete and I don't feel good if I'm not able to stay pretty active. although now I'm pretty week and can barely climb stairs. I am struuggling please some one help me

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2386
   Posted 1/13/2009 11:40 PM (GMT -7)   
I just remembered for both you and cooly....(sorry my doctor called and rememinded me I had labs, when I checked the voicemail and this is why I remembered). Prednisone brings your bloodsugars up. I now remembered when I was in hospital, I ran high. I brought mine down by eating 2 1/2 units (I'm female) of carbs. I ate half of what I should of in carbs to counter act the high blood sugar. Be care, and do your tests though, because I did get low a couple times (but both were hey lets drag her to mri or cat scan and miss a meal). So its important to monitor your sugar levels if you eat less carbs to counter act the prednisone raising. My oncology doctor thought of that for me (yes Judy, I have autoimmune diseases as well. and yes, it is plural in my case)
Smurfy Shadow
DX: Wegener's Disease, Migraines, Diabetese Type II, PCOS, Lactose Intolerant, Benign Heart Murmer, Asthma, Asperger's Syndroe, Necrotizing Gramultous Inflamation in eye, A.D.D., Acid Reflux

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