Little-known triggers can spike your blood sugar

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the rates of diabetes and pre-diabetes in the U.S. are alarming.

About 29 million Americans have diabetes.

Another 89 million have blood sugar levels that are too high, a condition known as pre-diabetes.

The CDC says the disorder can be managed with regular physical activity, a healthy diet and medications to control blood sugar levels, if necessary.

If you’re blood glucose levels tend to run high, WebMD medical editor Dr. Hansa Bhargava says there are some other surprising triggers you need to know about.

Because they can raise your blood sugar.

A common one?  Dehydration.

"We get thirsty,” Dr. Bhargava says. “We're busy doing something, and we're thirsty, and we keep putting it off, putting it off, putting it off. And you feel very dehydrated at the end of the day. Unfortunately, if you're a diabetic, that can raise your blood sugar."

Same with an illness or infection.

"Because your body is trying to fight it off, you're releasing hormones that actually elevate sugar in the blood,” says Bhargava. “So it's important to know that and monitor those sugars closer when that happens."

Getting a sunburn can also trigger a jump in blood sugar, for the same reason infections and illnesses can cause a spike.

And WebMD points out certain medications can impact blood glucose: corticosteroids for arthritis pain, diuretics, or water pills, certain blood pressure medications and some drugs for depression.

If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, Dr. Bhargava says, ask your physician whether a new medication could affect your blood sugar.

And even that morning cup of coffee -- or two -- can be problematic for some diabetics.

“Everybody is different,” says Dr. Bhargava.  “You may be able to tolerate half a cup of coffee or even a cup of coffee, but it's really important to know what you're body can tolerate and how your body processes it. So that you can stay on top of it."

Another thing to stay on top of is stress.

"Say you're driving in a traffic jam and you're stressed out. Or you had a bad day at work and your stress level is high,” says Bhargava.  “Chances are, that is going to affect your blood glucose."

Bhargava says the takeaway is that controlling diabetes isn’t just about diet and exercise.

“You need to be aware of yourself,” she says.  “So the more you know about yourself and how your body processes medications, foods, stress, infection, the better off you'll be."