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What Does High Blood Glucose Mean

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What Should My Blood Sugar Level Be

Type 2 Diabetes: How can high glucose levels harm your body?

When youâre first diagnosed with diabetes, your diabetes care team will usually tell you what your blood sugar level is and what you should aim to get it down to.

You may be advised to use a testing device to monitor your blood sugar level regularly at home.

Or you may have an appointment with a nurse or doctor every few months to see what your average blood sugar level is. This is known as your HbA1c level.

Target blood sugar levels differ for everyone, but generally speaking:

  • if you monitor yourself at home with a self-testing kit a normal target is 4 to 7mmol/l before eating and under 8.5 to 9mmol/l 2 hours after a meal
  • if your HbA1c level is tested every few months a normal HbA1c target is below 48mmol/mol

The Diabetes UK website has more about blood sugar levels and testing.

Blood Sugar Levels: What’s Normal What’s Not And How To Measure

What do blood glucose levels mean and what range is healthy? Here’s what you need to know.

Caroline Roberts

Digital Editorial Intern

Caroline Roberts writes articles and notifications for CNET. She studies English at Cal Poly, and loves philosophy, Karl the Fog and a strong cup of black coffee.

We all want to keep track of our health in every way we can — you may weigh yourself, keep track of your blood pressure or monitor your resting heart rate. But how close of an eye do you keep on your blood sugar?

People with diabetes are all too familiar with their blood sugar levels, but the rest of us might not even think about it much. However, consistently high blood sugar levels can coexist with Type 2 diabetes and cause serious health conditions like kidney disease, nerve problems or stroke.

While that’s no reason to panic, when it comes to our health, it’s important to know exactly what’s going on inside of our bodies. Without further ado, let’s get into what blood sugar means, how to measure it and everything else you need to know.

I Feel Fine So I Dont Need To Test My Levels

Zanini points out that having high blood glucose can come as a surprise to anyone. âIt’s possible they didn’t notice any symptoms or were simply feeling ‘more tired than usual,ââ she says. âIt’s easy to attribute being tired to many other things. . .so this is why regular physicals with your healthcare provider are important.â The bottom line? Listen to your body, take note of symptoms as they arise, and consider monitoring your continuous glucose values.

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When To See A Healthcare Provider

Getting professional medical advice from a healthcare provider like an endocrinologist is the best way to learn more about whether your blood sugar levels are where they should be. Not getting proper treatment for low or high blood sugar levels can be serious and lead to health complications, especially for those with diabetes. Diabetes complications include nerve damage, kidney disease, heart disease, or heart attacks.

If you see a healthcare provider about your blood sugar levels, be prepared to answer questions about risk factors like what you eat, how much you exercise, and about your family history. Some healthcare providers may want to take a blood sample to test your blood sugar levels. They may also order an A1C test, which is a blood test that measures blood sugar control over three months. You may have to fast eight hours beforehand to get accurate test results, so its always a good idea to check before your appointment. Your healthcare provider can create a diabetes treatment plan if you are prediabetic or have diabetes.

Be sure your treatment plan includes instructions on when you would need to seek emergency medical care. Emergency rooms are equipped to handle high blood sugar levels and can administer treatments like insulin therapy and fluid or electrolyte replacement.

What You Can Do Now

What Does a High Glucose Level Mean?

Your doctor will provide you with clear steps to follow aimed at lowering your blood sugar levels. Its important that you take their recommendations to heart and make any necessary lifestyle changes to improve your health. If left untreated, hyperglycemia can lead to serious, and sometimes life-threatening, complications.

Your doctor may recommend that you buy a blood glucose meter to use at home. This is a simple and effective way to monitor your blood sugar and act quickly if your levels have spiked to an unsafe level. Being aware of your levels can empower you to take charge of your condition and live a healthy lifestyle.

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Why The Test Is Performed

Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of diabetes . More than likely, the doctor will order a fasting blood sugar test.

The blood glucose test is also used to monitor people who already have diabetes.

The test may also be done if you have:

  • An increase in how often you need to urinate
  • Recently gained a lot of weight
  • Blurred vision

SCREENING FOR DIABETES

This test may also be used to screen a person for diabetes.

High blood sugar and diabetes may not cause symptoms in the early stages. A fasting blood sugar test is almost always done to screen for diabetes.

If you are over age 45, you should be tested every 3 years.

If you’re overweight and have any of the risk factors below, ask your health care provider about getting tested at an earlier age and more often:

  • High blood sugar level on a previous test
  • Blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or higher, or unhealthy cholesterol levels
  • History of heart disease
  • Member of a high-risk ethnic group
  • Woman who has been diagnosed with gestational diabetes
  • Polycystic ovary disease
  • Close relative with diabetes
  • Not physically active

Children age 10 and older who are overweight and have at least two of the risk factors listed above should be tested for type 2 diabetes every 3 years, even if they have no symptoms.

Can High Levels And Dka Be Prevented

These two problems donât sound like much fun, so youâre 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, whoeverâs helping you even if the person doesnât 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 doctorâs phone number or a parentâs phone number. The quicker you get the help you need, the sooner youâll be feeling better!

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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.

Take Your Insulin As Prescribed

What does it mean to have high blood sugar

High blood sugar occurs when your body has too little insulin, or your body cant use insulin properly. Administering insulin can bring your blood sugar levels down.

Talk to your doctor about how much rapid-acting insulin you should administer when your blood sugar is high.

You may want to check your blood sugar about 1530 minutes after taking insulin to make sure your blood sugar is going down and that its not dropping too low.

Also Check: What Does Insulin Do To Blood Sugar

S Of Blood Sugar Control

There exist a few ways to monitor blood glucose to prevent developing diabetes:

  • self-control blood glucose test using a glucometer
  • using a continuous glucose monitoring system
  • research with professional continuous glucose monitoring

These are diabetes tests for people who have been already diagnosed with diabetes mellitus type 1 or type 2 or for patients who have risk factors of developing diabetes. Healthy people with no major health problems do not need such intense diabetes care.

However, the above-mentioned categories of insulin-dependent patients should be especially careful to maintain insulin and glucose within normal ranges.

Does A High Glucose Level Mean I Have Diabetes

I have been told I have a high glucose level. Does this mean I may have diabetes? I’m a bit in the dark. I can appreciate just why you feel in the dark. Whether or not you have diabetes mellitus, or sugar diabetes, depends upon the exact nature of your ‘high glucose level’ and how it was discovered. The diagnosis of diabetes is usually made if the fasting plasma glucose is 7.0mmol/l or above, or if the random level is greater than 11.1mmol/l. Cut off levels for diagnosis may vary a little between different hospital lab units. It is also possible for someone to have glucose in their urine and not have diabetes. This occurs when the kidneys have difficulty in filtering glucose out from the urine. If this was the case you would have what’s known as a low renal threshold for glucose. If your doctor has not specifically mentioned diabetes to you, it’s possible there is still uncertainty as to the diagnosis and further investigation may be required. Yours sincerely The NetDoctor Medical Team Other Qs & As Last updated 03.04.2011Continue reading > >

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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Dka

The symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis usually don’t develop all at once they usually come on slowly over several hours. People who have DKA may:

  • feel really tired
  • feel really thirsty or pee way more than usual
  • have a dry mouth and signs of dehydration

These symptoms are caused by the high blood sugar levels that usually happen before someone develops DKA. If the person doesn’t get treatment, these signs of DKA can happen:

  • abdominal pain
  • unconsciousness

Main Symptoms Of High Blood Glucose

How to lower blood sugar level easily?

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:

  • Thirst
  • Increased cravings for carbs and sweets
  • âHangerâ
  • Poor energy levels or midday crashes
  • Fatigue
  • Read Also: Risk Factors Of Diabetes Mellitus

    How Can I Prevent Or Reverse Insulin Resistance And Prediabetes

    Physical activity and losing weight if you need to may help your body respond better to insulin. Taking small steps, such as eating healthier foods and moving more to lose weight, can help reverse insulin resistance and prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in people with prediabetes.

    The National Institutes of Health-funded research study, the Diabetes Prevention Program , showed that for people at high risk of developing diabetes, losing 5 to 7 percent of their starting weight helped reduce their chance of developing the disease.3 Thats 10 to 14 pounds for someone who weighs 200 pounds. People in the study lost weight by changing their diet and being more physically active.

    The DPP also showed that taking metformin, a medicine used to treat diabetes, could delay diabetes. Metformin worked best for women with a history of gestational diabetes, younger adults, and people with obesity. Ask your doctor if metformin might be right for you.

    Making a plan, tracking your progress, and getting support from your health care professional, family, and friends can help you make lifestyle changes that may prevent or reverse insulin resistance and prediabetes. You may be able to take part in a lifestyle change program as part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program.

    Can Hyperglycemia Be Treated

    Your doctor may recommend a low-impact exercise program as your first line of defense. If youre already following a fitness plan, they may recommend that you increase your overall level of activity.

    Your doctor may also suggest that you reduce glucose-rich food intake. Its important to maintain a balanced diet and stick to healthy food portions. If you arent sure where to begin, your doctor can refer you to a dietician or nutritionist who can help you establish a diet plan.

    If these changes dont help lower your high blood sugar, your doctor may prescribe medication. If you have diabetes, your doctor may prescribe oral medications or change the amount or type of insulin youve already been prescribed.

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    Normal Hemoglobin Hgb A1c And High Blood Sugar Means One Or All Of These:

  • Your overall blood sugar past 3 months is within the goal level but the day of testing fasting blood sugar you have something wrong including you forgot your pills or taken a high-sugar meal before the fasting sugar test.
  • New to pre-diabetes, so that your A1c is still at baseline while sugar level at the same day is elevated.
  • Frequent illness like a stroke or heart attack can lead to temporary elevated blood sugar levels.
  • At times of stress it induce the release of cortisol and adrenaline to increases the availability of glucose to repair tissues at the stressful time.
  • You may have taken medications such as beta blockers, epinephrine, or thiazide diuretics prior to testing, which lead to high fasting blood glucose but normal A1c results.
  • You may be on corticosteroids, niacin, pentamidine, protease inhibitors or any antipsychotics.
  • Amphetamine one of the illegal drugs can cause Urine Sugar Levels to increase.
  • If you have one of the double action anti-depressants such as Zyprexa and Cymbalta, therefore you may experience hyperglycemia but normal hemoglobin A1c.
  • Active blood infection sepsis often come with hyperglycemia without increase in HbA1c results.
  • Monitor Blood Sugar Levels Closely

    7 Alarming Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Too High

    High blood sugar levels often do not cause symptoms until they run well over 200 mg/dL. As such, it is essential for a person with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar several times a day. Doing so will mean that blood sugar levels never get that high.

    A person with diabetes can use a home glucose monitor to check blood sugar levels. These are available for purchase online.

    Recommendations for how frequently to check glucose levels during the day will vary from person to person. A doctor can make the best recommendations regarding blood sugar monitoring to a person with diabetes.

    Recommended Reading: What To Do If You Think You Are Diabetic

    Is There Anything Else I Should Know About A Blood Glucose Test

    If you have diabetes, you may need to do blood sugar testing at home every day to help manage your blood glucose levels. There are two ways to do this:

    • Blood glucose meters require you to prick your finger with a small device called a lancet. You apply a drop of blood to a test strip and insert it into a small, electronic glucose meter, which measures the glucose is in your blood.
    • Continuous glucose monitors use a tiny sensor that you insert under your skin. Every few minutes, the sensor measures glucose levels in fluids between your cells. If your glucose is too high or too low, you use a blood glucose meter to check your blood levels before making changes to raise or lower your glucose level.

    How Do I Prepare For The Plasma Glucose Level Test And How Are The Results Interpreted

    To get an accurate plasma glucose level, you must have fasted for at least 8 hours prior to the test. When you report to the clinic or laboratory, a small sample of blood will be taken from a vein in your arm. According to the practice recommendations of the American Diabetes Association, the results of the blood test are interpreted as follows:

    Fasting blood glucose level

    • If your blood glucose level is 70 to 99* mg/dL . . .
    • What it means: Your glucose level is within the normal range
  • If your blood glucose level is 100 to 125 mg/dL . . .
  • What it means: You have an impaired fasting glucose level . . .
  • If your blood glucose level is 126 mg/dl or higher on more than one testing occasion
  • What it means: You have diabetes
  • *Values between 50 and 70 are often seen in healthy people

    **The condition of “prediabetes” puts you at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and blood lipid disorders

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/21/2018.

    References

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    Managing Blood Sugar Levels

    Many people with diabetes must check their blood sugar levels daily with a glucose meter. This device takes a drop of blood, usually from a finger, and displays the sugar level within a few seconds.

    People with type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin as their doctor recommends, usually several times a day.

    Those with type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes may need to change their diet and exercise habits. They may also need to take oral medications or insulin.

    A number of strategies can help prevent hyperglycemia.

    People should:

    • check their blood sugar levels as their doctor advises and take the correct amount of insulin, if they have type 1 diabetes
    • speak to their healthcare provider or dietitian about which foods to eat or avoid, how much to eat, and how often
    • take precautions to avoid infections, for example, through regular hand washing, as illness, such as a cold, can trigger a rise in blood pressure
    • plan their food intake and exercise to balance blood sugar levels
    • minimize stress, as far as possible, for example, through exercise, getting enough sleep, and stress-reducing activities such as meditation or yoga

    Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can happen when a person:

    • has certain medical conditions
    • does a lot of exercise
    • skips meals or eats too little

    It can also be a side effect of diabetes medicines. Taking too much insulin can result in low blood sugar levels.

    Symptoms of low blood sugar may include:

    • visit a doctor regularly

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