High Blood Sugar: 13 Reasons Your Glucose Levels Are Rising
May 2, 2021
Itâs a fact of life that blood sugar fluctuates throughout the day. These ups and downs depend on a handful of factors, like when you wake up, what you eat, the medications you take, and how you manage stress. So, some variation is normal, to the point that you might not even notice it.
Ignoring blood sugar level changes altogether, though, means youâre ignoring a valuable marker of your health. Especially if you start to have new or unfamiliar symptoms like fatigue, thirst, or brain fog . Learning these symptoms and their causes will give you the tools to better understand your own body, then take the right actions for better long-term metabolic health.
Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome
This mostly affects elderly people. As glucose builds up in your blood, your body tries to get rid of it through your urine.
At first, you pee a lot. Over time, you pee less, but when you do, itâs very dark. This condition can lead to dehydration, coma, and death.
Get medical help right away if you have any of these warning signs:
- Blood sugar level over 600 mg/dL
- Extreme thirst that may later go away
- Warm, dry skin that doesnât sweat
- Fever over 101 F
- Weakness on one side of your body
- Vision loss
You can avoid many of these problems by keeping your blood sugar under control. Follow your doctorâs advice about diet and exercise, take your medicine, keep up with your doctor visits, and check your levels often.
Treating And Managing Hyperglycaemia
If your blood sugar level is slightly high for a short time, emergency treatment wont be necessary. But if it continues to rise you may need to act fast to avoid developing diabetic ketoacidosis .
If your blood sugar level is 15 mmol/l or more, you should check your blood or urine for ketones. If ketones are present, it is likely that you do not have enough insulin in your body. This means you may need to increase your dose or give yourself an extra dose. Talk to your diabetes team about how to do this if you are unsure.
You should also try to drink plenty of sugar-free fluids to prevent dehydration. And if you are feeling unwell, especially if you are vomiting, you should follow any sick day rules you have been given and contact your diabetes healthcare team for advice.
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What Do Glucose Levels Mean
Glucose levels are primarily about glucose / insulin balance (also called glucose homeostasis in your blood stream. Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas which your body needs to burn the sugar and convert it into energy.High glucose level means that glucose / insulin balance is disturbed and may need to be corrected. Higher amounts of glucose need more insulin to be processed. Diabetes is a condition when you blood glucose levels are higher that your insulin can manage, so glucose in not burnt and its levels in the blood remain high while you experience energy shortage symptoms, like weakness or dizzness, because your body cells cannot get glucose from your blood and starve. In this state yor can also feel thirsty or urinate often.
There are two major causes for glucose / insulin disbalance. First, pancreas produces too little insulin or you have a condition called insulin-resistance , which means that glucose-lowering effects of insulin do not work for your body cells. Type 1 diabetes is less common and occurs only in 10% of all diabetes cases. This condition is caused by an auto-immune damage to the pancreas, which means that your body’s immune system destroys your pancreas cells impairing its normal work.
High blood sugar means that your are on your way to diabetes or may already have it. However, the condition can be reversed. The earlier you take action the greater the chance to get back to healthy blood sugar levels.
Symptoms Signs Causes Of Levels Of High Blood Sugar In The Blood
High blood sugar or hyperglycemia is an abnormally high blood sugar level in the blood. Hyperglycemia is a hallmark sign of diabetes and prediabetes.
Signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia include blurred vision, headaches, hunger, and …
The normal ranges for blood sugar levels in adults who do not have diabetes while fasting are 72-99 mg/dL. These ranges may increase to 80-130 mg/dL for those being treated for diabetes.
According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes should have
- blood sugar levels of 80-130 mg/dL before eating a meal , and
- less than 180 mg/dL about 1-2 hours after eating a meal
High blood sugar ranges for people who dont have diabetes begin at 140 mg/dL, while those being treated for diabetes have a high range beginning at 180 mg/dL.
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Type 1 Diabetes And High Bgls Can Be Serious
If you have type 1 diabetes, blood glucose levels above 15mmol/L can be very serious. Your body will try to get energy from fat stores and as a result produce ketones, which in large amounts are toxic. Dont wait for symptoms! Try and work out the cause/s, and bring your blood glucose levels back into range. Talk to your doctor or diabetes educator for advice and have a sick day plan ready.
If your blood glucose levels are higher than 15mmol/L for six hours or more, you have elevated ketones, and/or you feel unwell, start your sick day plan. This fact sheet explains, when to follow them, what to include, tips on staying well and when to seek urgent medical help.
Youre Getting Yeast Infections More Often Than Usual
Hyperglycemia may lead you to get more frequent genital yeast infections. The culprit is often a type of yeast known as Candida albicans, per the ADA. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in females the symptoms can include: vaginal itching, redness or soreness pain during sexual intercourse pain or discomfort during urination and thick, abnormal vaginal discharge. While yeast infections are common in people who dont have diabetes, having more glucose in your blood puts you at higher risk of getting them. The yeast feeds off the glucose, and if your blood sugar is high theres more glucose in the urinary tract, explains Bandukwala. Uncircumcised men with hyperglycemia are also at risk, he says.
Were also seeing this happen a little more now with patients who take SGLT-2 inhibitors, which force the body to expel more glucose through the urine, the endocrinologist adds. The FDA has added a warning to the prescribing information for SGLT-2 inhibitors about a far more rare and potentially fatal genital condition, known as necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum, or Fourniers gangrene .
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Blood Sugar Level Rises Every Time You Eat
Your blood sugar level rises immediately after eating a meal or snack . In a healthy person, insulin then starts working, and the blood sugar level returns to the pre-meal level 2 hours after eating. In untreated diabetes patients, the blood sugar level does not return to the pre-meal level of its own accord. Some people’s blood sugar level remains high two hours after eating, even though on an empty stomach it would be at a normal level. As a result, the risk of developing diabetes increases as insulin is not properly secreted, or does not work properly in the body. In order to make sure insulin works properly, it is important not to overeat and to avoid becoming obese. Knowing which foods will not cause a sudden and extreme spike in blood sugar level and using this knowledge in your daily life will help you to prevent obesity and diabetes, and maintain good health.
Main Symptoms Of High Blood Glucose
While an individual can have no noticeable symptoms and still have high blood glucose, knowing what kinds of symptoms tend to accompany high blood glucose helps us take the right action before things get worse. If for no other reason, keeping these markers of high blood glucose in mind can help you identify it more quickly in yourself.
The most common symptoms to be aware of are:
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When Should I Go To The Hospital For Blood Sugar
Certain symptoms of blood sugar levels signal when you should seek medical help. Typically, if you feel extremely fatigued, notice increased thirst and urination, or weight loss, you should seek help right away. These symptoms can signify an abnormal blood sugar level and/or other health conditions.
A routine health check is also advised, even if you do not show any symptoms.
Lack Of Physical Activity
Lack of physical activity can increase your blood sugar, as skeletal muscles are a main part of the body that uses glucose for energy or stores extra glucose as glycogen for later use. With low levels of physical activity, the muscles become inactive and do not remove glucose efficiently from the blood.
Regular exercise can help lower blood sugar levels by increasing the need for muscles to remove glucose from the blood to use for energy.
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Signs & Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
Keeping blood glucose levels in a healthy range can be challenging.
When the amount of sugar in your blood has dropped below your target range , it is called low blood sugar .
If your blood sugar has dropped, you may feel:
- shaky, light-headed, nauseated
- an increase in heart rate
- sweaty, headachy
- weak, drowsy
- numbness or tingling on your tongue or lips
Symptoms of very low blood sugar are more severe and can make you:
- confused and disoriented
- lose consciousness
- have a seizure
Make sure you always wear your MedicAlert® identification and talk to your doctor or diabetes educator about prevention and emergency treatment for severe low blood sugar.
How To Effectively Manage High Blood Sugar
While diabetes is a dangerous disease, it is often possible to manage it and control blood sugar levels.
The patient should start by discussing the high blood sugar level with their doctor. The doctor will be able to perform a few tests to give them a better view of the patients diabetes.
It also helps the doctor determine what type of diabetes the patient has. This may be type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes in some cases. Patients also need to be aware that insulin resistance can develop into diabetes. Thus, if the patient is insulin resistant, they need to take action.
There are medications that can help. Some drugs help to ensure there is enough insulin in the body. Others rather have a direct effect on blood sugar levels. This can help to reduce the risk of a blood sugar spike. Failure to manage high blood sugar levels can lead to dangerous problems, such as diabetic coma.
A healthy diet is also critical for a person with diabetes. Carbohydrate counting is important, and you should learn what an appropriate portion size is for you. Meals should be balanced to avoid low blood sugar levels and a spike in blood glucose. It is also important that you take your medication with food.
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Only Diabetics Get High Glucose Values
While a high glucose value can indicate diabetes, nondiabetics can also have higher values than normal. When researchers studied people wearing a continuous glucose monitor who did not have a diabetes diagnosis, they found 93% of individuals reached glucose levels that are considered dangerous, with 10% spending over 2 hours per day in these dangerous levels. Traditional glucose measurements, like a single point in time blood glucose value, are unable to capture these abnormalities.
There are actually several causes of high blood sugar unrelated to diabetes that the CDC recognizes. These include certain foods, like artificial sweeteners and coffee. Other factors like stress can do it, too. If you live with an endocrine or pancreatic condition, had surgery recently, or are experiencing intense physical stress , you may also see your glucose value rise.
Causes Related To Lifestyle
Exercising prompts your body to burn more energy than usual, and, as a result, consume more glucose. Maintaining a low level of physical activity, on the other hand, means more glucose will remain in the bloodstream. This raises your overall blood glucose values in the process.
Exercise also makes our body more insulin sensitive, which means we will require less insulin for the rest of the day to control glucose levels.
Part of the bodyâs fight-or-flight response to stress is to produce additional glucose. Another facet of that response is an increase in the hormone cortisol. High cortisol can reduce the bodyâs sensitivity to insulin. As a result, blood glucose levels may also increase.
A lack of quality sleep can inhibit how much insulin your body can release. It can also cause the production of cortisol, which makes it harder for insulin to work. When your bodyâs insulin cannot properly metabolize the glucose in your blood, the glucose remains there and your glucose levels rise.
Get better insight into your glucose levels
Want to gain a better understanding of how your body responds to glucose? Try monitoring your glucose levels in real time with the Nutrisense Continuous Glucose Health Program.
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Things To Know About High Blood Sugar
- Low high blood sugar is abnormally high blood levels of insulin in the blood. Hyperglycemia is a hallmark sign of diabetes and prediabetes, and diabetes is the most common cause of it. Severely elevated glucose levels can result in a medical emergency like diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome .
- The primary symptom of hyperglycemia is excessive amounts of sugar in the urine. Other symptoms and signs of high blood sugar levels in the blood are blurred vision, hunger , and headaches.
- Other conditions that can cause high blood sugar are pancreatitis, Cushing’s syndrome, unusual hormone-secreting tumors, pancreatic cancer, certain medications, and severe illnesses.
- Insulin is the treatment for people with type 1 diabetes, and life-threatening increases in glucose levels. People with type 2 diabetes may be managed with a combination of different oral and injectable medications. Hyperglycemia due to medical conditions other than diabetes is generally treated by treating the underlying condition responsible for elevated glucose.
You Experience Sudden Mood Swings Or Feelings Of Irritability
Dr. Mitchell explains that, “Sudden mood swings or feelings of irritability can be a sign that your blood sugar levels are off balance. When blood sugar levels are too high or too low, it can cause problems with focus and energy levels, which can lead to feeling cranky or on edge. If you’re experiencing sudden mood swings or irritability, it’s a good idea to check your blood sugar levels and see if they are in the normal range. If they’re not, you may need to adjust your diet or take medication to bring them back into balance. Either way, it’s important to talk to your doctor so that you can get your blood sugar levels under control and feel better.”
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You Develop Sores That Tend To Heal More Slowly Than Usual
Cuts, scrapes, bruises, and other wounds heal more slowly in the presence of uncontrolled blood sugar, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Diabetes causes nerve damage and affects circulation, especially in the lower legs and feet, which can delay healing because there isnt enough blood flow to the area. Even minor wounds are more prone to infections, which can become very serious and even result in amputations of the foot. You may notice drainage seeping onto your socks or an unpleasant smell if you develop a foot ulcer, notes the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Complications Of High Blood Sugar
Diabetes is one of the main causes of high blood sugar levels, but there are other causes that can impact your blood glucose and your risk for hyperglycemia.
Hyperglycemia is the medical term for high blood sugar levels. You can have temporary spikes in blood sugar after eating a large meal or as a result of medication side effects. Chronically elevated blood sugar levels are dangerous and common in those with diabetes. Without treatment, you run the risk of a diabetic coma.
Ketoacidosis is a condition that develops when elevated blood glucose levels go untreated. Without glucose to use for fuel, your body begins to burn fat instead and produces ketones. When there are too many ketones in the blood, it will turn acidic, which can very quickly lead to ketoacidosis, a diabetic coma, and even death.
People without diabetes can develop a similar condition known as ketosis, but they can tolerate a certain level of ketones because inulin is still effectively working.
Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome is another serious complication of high blood sugar. This is more common among individuals with type 2 diabetes and is triggered by an infection or illness.
As a result of the high blood sugar, your body tries to push out the excess glucose by passing it through your urine. Without treatment, this can result in life-threatening dehydration so prompt medical attention would be necessary.
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