Subtle Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Too High
Being a board-certified Endocrinologist in New York City, I have the privilege of evaluating many patients with various glucose issues. My practice primarily focuses on general endocrinology which includes many patients with both type one and type two diabetes as well as pre-diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, insulin resistance, overweight, obesity and other endocrine conditions such as thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, menopause and more. Knowing about glucose is very important to optimizing one’s health given that many chronic conditions in this modern day can be linked to excess of glucose throughout the body which, in turn creates insulin resistance. Read on to find out moreand to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Diabetes Sign: Youre Crazy Thirsty
Peeing more often means that your body is getting rid of more water than usual, which puts you at risk for dehydration, says Dr. Furhman.
That can leave you feeling thirsty and cotton-mouthed, even if it seems like youre drinking the same amount of water as always. Plus, since youre drinking more, that will also make you pee more, too.
You’re Thirsty And Moody
Did you know that thirst is one of the signs of high blood sugar? If your body starts to dehydrate due to the increased blood glucose levels in your system, it’s going to signal for you to drink more water. This can mean feeling thirsty, even if you’ve just had a full bottle of water. Along with this sudden increased thirst, those who suffer from high blood sugar often feel grumpy or irritable.
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Diabetic Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Syndrome
Diabetic hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome, or HHS, is a complication from very high blood sugars in people with type 2 diabetes.
It doesnt occur in people with type 1 diabetes, who experience a different complication called diabetic ketoacidosis when blood sugar levels are dangerously high.
HHS is a condition of:
- Extremely high blood sugar level
- Extreme lack of water
- In many cases, decreased alertness or consciousness
Normally, the kidneys help to filter out extra blood glucose by increasing the amount of urine removed from the body. This is why one of the symptoms of diabetes is increased urination.
When excess urine is removed from the body, it can lead to dehydration. When the body is dehydrated, it cant make enough urine to flush out the extra sugar.
This leads to hyperosmolality, where the blood has higher concentrations of glucose , salt, and other substances. This can cause water to be drawn away from other sources of fluid, such as the brain, which is why it can cause an altered level of consciousness.
How Common Is Low Blood Glucose
Low blood glucose is common among people with type 1 diabetes and among people with type 2 diabetes who take insulin or some other diabetes medicines. In a large global study of people with diabetes who take insulin, 4 in 5 people with type 1 diabetes and nearly half of those with type 2 diabetes reported a low blood sugar event at least once over a 4-week period.2
Severely low blood glucose, defined as when your blood glucose level drops so low you cant treat it yourself, is less common. Among U.S. adults with diabetes who take insulin or some diabetes medicines that help the pancreas release insulin into the blood, 2 in 100 may develop severely low blood glucose each year.3
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What Are Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar
When blood sugar levels are high, most people will feel thirsty and feel a need to urinate more often.
Symptoms of high blood sugar include:
- Increased thirst
Hypoglycaemia Means Low Blood Glucose Levels
An abnormally low glucose level in the blood is called hypoglycaemia. Some of the conditions that can cause hypoglycaemia include:
- Taking insulin and oral hypoglycaemic medication usually for diabetes. Hypoglycaemia is a common result of treatment for diabetes, especially when the diabetes is well controlled. Occasionally, oral hypoglycaemic tablets are prescribed or given by mistake to people who do not have diabetes this causes hypoglycaemia
- Insulinoma a tumour of the pancreas that triggers the overproduction of insulin
- Liver failure loss of the livers capacity to produce glucose can cause hypoglycaemia.
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High Blood Sugar Prevention
- Learn about managing diabetes.
- Work with a certified diabetes educator. This person will have a CDE certification and may work in a diabetes education center or hospital.
- Check blood sugar as directed by a CDE and doctor or nurse.
- Know the symptoms and act quickly before blood sugars get out of control.
- Follow a diabetes diet plan. Adjust the plan as needed.
- Take medications for diabetes as directed by your healthcare professional.
- Exercise daily.
What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis
When the body doesn’t have enough insulin, glucose stays in the blood and can’t get into the body’s cells to be used for energy. This can happen, for example, when someone skips doses of insulin or when the need for insulin suddenly increases and the doses are not adjusted.
When the body can’t use glucose for fuel, it starts to use fat. When this happens, chemicals called ketones are released into the blood. Some of these ketones, like extra glucose, pass out of the body through the urine.
High levels of ketones in the blood can be a problem because they cause the blood to become acidic. Too much acid in the blood throws off the body’s chemical balance and causes the symptoms listed below. In people with diabetes, this problem is called diabetic , or DKA. DKA is a very serious condition that can lead to coma or death if it’s not treated. The good news, though, is that it’s preventable and can be treated.
DKA happens more often in people with type 1 diabetes, but can sometimes also happen to those with type 2 diabetes.
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You’re Starting To Have Vision Problems
One of the early symptoms of high blood sugar is that you might start having issues with your eyesight, including blurred vision. This often happens when the membranes in the eye become dry and itchy, which can be caused by a high blood glucose level within the body. These membranes are moist, but the itching and irritation will occur if they get too dried out, making it difficult to see clearly.
People who have diabetes also tend to have a higher risk for glaucoma, so these problems could lead to blindness over time if left untreated because this disease affects how fluid moves through your eye, leading to loss of sight eventually.
Using Medications And Smart Pumps
If following a strict medication and diet regimen does not prevent these spikes from occurring, a person should let their prescribing doctor know. The doctor will likely adjust their prescription.
Diabetes management also requires anyone taking insulin or non-insulin medication to stick to specific timings.
A range of pumps and smart pumps is available to provide continual, timed doses of insulin. These devices provide background insulin to regulate blood glucose levels during fasting periods and sleep. Their use is more common among people with type 1 diabetes than those with type 2 diabetes.
Smart pumps connect to a continuous glucose monitor and can respond to blood sugar spikes, essentially working as an artificial pancreas. However, with all pumps, manual inputs are still necessary during meals.
People with diabetes have to be especially careful about keeping their blood sugar levels under control and avoiding spikes in blood sugar.
Various triggers can contribute to these spikes. For example:
Persistent blood sugar spikes can have severe consequences.
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Diabetes Sign: Your Vision Is Blurry
Your macula is a small lens in the center in your eye thats responsible for sharp central vision. But when your glucose levels are too high, fluid can seep into the lens and make it swell up, Dr. Fuhrman says.
That swelling can change the shape of the lens, so its unable to focus properly. When that happens, your vision can get fuzzy and uncleareven if youre wearing your glasses or contacts like usual.
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High Blood Sugar Levels
If you have diabetes, you can find out if your blood sugar level is high by having a blood sugar test.
You may have regular tests by your care team or GP surgery, or you may have tests you can do at home.
|Type of test||High level|
|Test done by a health professional to check your blood sugar level over the last 2 or 3 months||48 mmol/mol or over|
|Test done by a health professional after not eating for a few hours||Over 7 mmol/L|
|Home test done after waking up or before eating||Over 7 mmol/L|
|Home test done at any other time||Over 11 mmol/L|
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Diabetes Sign: Youre Exhausted
Fatigue is a classic side effect of dehydration. So if youre peeing more often and are thirstier than usual, you might find yourself feeling weirdly wiped out, explains Elizabeth Halprin, M.D., clinical director of adult diabetes at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
You might feel zonked even if youre still going to bed and waking up at your usual time. Getting up multiple times throughout the nightsay, if you need to pee interrupts your sleep, too, Dr. Halprin says. As a result, you end up getting less snooze time than you think.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar Levels
Signs of high blood sugar levels include:
- Peeing a lot: The kidneys respond by flushing out the extra glucose in urine. People with high blood sugar need to pee more often and in larger amounts.
- Drinking a lot: Someone losing so much fluid from peeing that often can get very thirsty.
- Losing weight even though your appetite has stayed the same: If there isn’t enough insulin to help the body use glucose, the body breaks down muscle and stored fat instead in an attempt to provide fuel to hungry cells.
- Feeling tired: Because the body can’t use glucose for energy properly, a person may feel unusually tired.
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How Do I Prevent Hyperglycemia
- Exercise to help lower blood sugar. Work with your healthcare provider to make a daily activity plan.
- Follow your meal plan if you have one. Learn how carbohydrates impact your blood sugar, and work with your diabetes care team to find the best meal plan for you.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Dont smoke.
- Limit drinking alcohol. Alcohol can raise blood sugar levels, but can also cause dangerously low blood sugar levels. Work with your provider to determine how much is safe to drink.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/11/2020.
You Notice Tingling And Numbness In Your Hands Or Feet
As mentioned, uncontrolled blood sugar can cause nerve damage, also known as diabetic neuropathy. What you may notice is a tingling sensation or even numbness in your hands and feet. Some people experience pain in their hands and feet as well. Though neuropathy is most common in people who have had diabetes for a long time, it can occur in anyone with poorly controlled diabetes.
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What Is High Blood Sugar
High blood sugar occurs when theres a buildup of excess glucose in the bloodstream. This is more often a concern for someone with diabetes than it is for someone without it. Our bodies are typically pretty great at keeping our blood sugar in perfect balance, Deena Adimoolam, M.D., assistant professor of endocrinology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells SELF. But in some situations, like when a person has diabetes, high blood sugar can happen.
Blood sugar is measured in milligrams per deciliter , and a fasting blood sugar of greater than 125 mg/dL is considered hyperglycemic, the Cleveland Clinic says. A person can also be considered to have hyperglycemia if their blood glucose level is higher than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after eating, the Cleveland Clinic says.
Can High Levels And Dka Be Prevented
These two problems don’t sound like much fun, so you’re probably wondering how to prevent them. The solution is to keep your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible, which means following your diabetes management plan. Checking your blood sugar levels several times a day will let you and your parents know when your blood sugar level is high. Then you can treat it and help prevent DKA from happening.
What else can you do? Wear a medical identification bracelet that says you have diabetes. Then, if you are not feeling well, whoever’s helping you even if the person doesn’t know you will know to call for medical help. And the doctors will be able to get you better more quickly if they know you have diabetes. These bracelets also can include your doctor’s phone number or a parent’s phone number. The quicker you get the help you need, the sooner you’ll be feeling better!
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You Have Bad Breath And Dry Mouth
An unusual smell when you breathe in through your mouth might indicate that something is wrong with the way glucose moves throughout your system. This can cause a buildup in ketone levels within your blood, giving off an unpleasant odor, much like nail polish remover or acetone.
Sometimes people mistake this for regular bad breath, but if it happens frequently and seems to have no other cause, it could be a sign that your insulin balance is out of whack, so make sure to see a doctor as soon as possible if you notice this happening.
Gum disease is also a frequent problem for people with diabetes, so if you notice that your gums are inflamed or swollen, it might be a sign that blood sugar is starting to rise. The dry mouth associated with this problem can lead to the development of cavities and other dental issues, so make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day as well as brushing after meals if necessary.
What You Should Do If You Notice These Signs
If someone notices signs of high blood sugar, the first thing to do is to discuss your concerns with your physician and to work with them to get to the root cause of the symptoms. Many of these symptoms overlap with other issues such as vitamin or mineral deficiencies, thyroid dysfunction, a poor diet, dehydration, poor sleep, chronic stress and more.
One should examine their lifestyle and identify areas which need optimization and consider keeping a diary of habits and their symptoms to be better able to detect possible correlations. If there is room for dietary improvement to reduce or eliminate the intake of refined and processed foods and obvious sources of sugar that is a key step in the road to better health.
Minisha Sood, MD, FACE, ECNU, is an Assistant Professor at the Hofstra School of Medicine and a board-certified Endocrinologist/Obesity Medicine specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital.
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If You Regularly Have High Blood Sugar Levels
Having high blood sugar levels regularly is not something you should live with. This is because in the long-term it can increase your risk of developing diabetes complications, such as neuropathy and retinopathy.
If you notice that your blood sugar levels are often high, you should contact your diabetes healthcare team. They will review your treatment and provide you with advice on how to get your blood sugar levels back within your target range. This advice may include increasing your medication.
In the video below, Lynsey talks to Khalida about feeling anxious after getting a high blood sugar level reading. If youre finding it hard to deal with similar feelings, weve got information on emotional health that you may find helpful.
Microvascular Damage Of Eyes Kidneys Toes Etc
Microvascular damage is defined as damage to small blood vessels, and its a common consequence of high blood sugar. Evidence confirms that acute hyperglycemia causes microvascular damage and leads to poor functional recovery, especially in patients who have sustained myocardial infarction.
For example, numbers show that more than 661,000 Americans have kidney failure, but high blood pressure and diabetes are the most common risk factors for this serious health problem. Almost half of the patients with chronic kidney disease have diabetes. This isnt such a surprise if we bear in mind that poor glycemic control is associated with microvascular disease development.
High blood sugar damages nerves and interferes with their ability to send signals, which causes diabetic neuropathy. Damage of this kind usually affects eyes, kidneys, toes, and other parts of a patients body.
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