Whats Going On Inside
Inside your body, its an acute situation and you cant use the energy from the food you eat. It floats in sugar molecules in your blood stream, and becomes rather sticky. That is why it can stick to the sides of your arteries and cause heart problems, or to the inside of your veins and cause circulation problems. Its like a syrup running through your system of veins and arteries.
Meanwhile, your poor body cells are starving to death. The cells in your brain, hands, feet, heart, and all over are not getting the blood sugar which is the energy that they need to live. So close, yet so far away! The blood sugar is floating nearby in the circulatory system, but there is either no insulin there or the insulin is not working like it should.
Your Legs And Feet Are Swollen
When there’s too much sugar in the system, it can pull water into cells, which will swell up over time if you don’t get these fluids moving through your body regularly.
The American Diabetes Association claims that people who have diabetes tend to have legs and feet up to five times larger than they should be, which can lead to complications within the circulatory system, including infections and reduced blood flow.
If you notice your feet and ankles begin to swell up, make sure to keep them elevated when possible. It’s important to treat swelling as soon as possible by elevating your legs higher.
Heart And Blood Vessel Diseases
Over time, high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels and nerves in your heart. People with diabetes also have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack and stroke.
Untreated high blood sugar can also block blood vessels. This can lead to infections and foot ulcers. In serious cases, it can lead to amputation of a toe, foot, or lower leg.
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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.
Urgent Advice: Call Your Care Team Immediately Or Get Help From Nhs 111 If:
You think you have high blood sugar and:
- you’re feeling sick, being sick or have stomach pain
- you’re breathing more quickly than usual or your heart is beating faster than usual
- you feel drowsy or are struggling to stay awake
- your breath has a fruity smell
- you feel confused or have difficulty concentrating
- you have a high level of ketones in your blood or pee
These could be signs you’re becoming seriously unwell.
You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.
Page last reviewed: 26 May 2022 Next review due: 26 May 2025
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You’re Noticing Skin Tags And Other Skin Issues
Skin tags and other skin issues can be a sign that something is wrong with your blood glucose levels. People with diabetes frequently have to deal with these types of things because high glucose levels affect the way cells produce collagen, making it difficult for the body to heal itself properly after an injury or wound occurs.
In addition, high glucose levels can cause blood vessels to become damaged, which leads to skin issues such as spider veins and rosacea. It’s important that you make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin A in your meal plan, so the body has what it needs to keep itself strong and healthy.
High Blood Glucose With Ketones
DKA is the short name for diabetic ketoacidosis.
Usually only affecting people with type 1 diabetes, DKA occurs when the body does not have enough insulin to change sugar into energy. When there’s not enough insulin, glucose stays in the blood and cannot be used for fuel.
Since the body still needs fuel for energy, it must then burn body fat instead.
When the body burns fat, it forms waste products called ketones, which build up in the blood and come out in the urine.
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What It Feels Like When You Have High Blood Sugar
What are the symptoms associated with hyperglycemia and how to know if your blood sugar levels are too high?
If a person has abnormal levels of blood sugar, measuring more than 11.1 mmol/l , it is likely they will exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
In rare cases, higher than normal blood sugar levels may lead to:
- Cardiac arrhythmia
A severe complication of high blood sugar is diabetic ketoacidosis, caused by a lack of insulin, often triggered by improper insulin administration, infection, stroke, or the use of steroids. Procedures to diagnose this complication include testing for ketoacids, low blood pH, and high blood sugar in blood plasma or in the urine.
Yellowish Scaly Patches On And Around Your Eyelids
These develop when you have high fat levels in your blood. It can also be a sign that your diabetes is poorly controlled.The medical name for this condition is xanthelasma.
- Tell your doctor about the yellowish scaly patches around your eyes.
- Talk with your doctor about how to better control your diabetes. Controlling diabetes can clear the scaly patches.
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High Blood Sugar Causes
You may be thinking that hyperglycemia can happen just from eating a super-sugary food, but its not really as simple as that. Sure, eating a lot of sugar or carbs can elevate your blood sugar level, but thats typically when your pancreas kicks into gear and creates insulin to move that glucose into cells throughout the body.
But when someone has diabetes, this finely tuned system gets thrown out of whack. In type 2 diabeteswhich accounts for 90% to 95% of diabetes in adults, according to the CDCthe body either cant make enough insulin or cant utilize insulin well, according to the NIDDK. If someone has prediabetes, their blood glucose will be higher than normal but not quite in the type 2 diabetes range yet, per the NIDDK. And in type 1 diabetes, the body does not make insulin or makes very little.
In any case, the result is extra sugar hanging around the bloodstream, making you feel like total crap in the short term and putting your health at risk in the long term.
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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Avoiding High Blood Sugar And Dka
No matter how well they take care of themselves, people with diabetes will sometimes have high blood sugar levels. But the best way to avoid problems is to keep your blood sugar levels as close to your desired range as possible, which means following your diabetes management plan. Checking your blood sugar levels several times a day will let you know when your blood sugar level is high. Then you can treat it and help prevent DKA from happening.
High blood sugar levels don’t always cause symptoms, and a person who isn’t testing regularly might be having blood sugar levels high enough to damage the body without even realizing it. Doctors may use the HbA1c test to find out if someone has been having high blood sugar levels over time, even if the person has not had obvious symptoms.
Here are some other tips for avoiding high blood sugar levels and preventing DKA:
- Try to eat all your meals and snacks on time and not skip any.
- Take the right amount of insulin.
- Check your blood sugar levels regularly and your ketone levels when your diabetes management plan recommends it.
- Stick to your diabetes management plan.
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 Does It Feel Like When Your Blood Sugar Is Too High
Glucose is a vital energy source in living organisms. However, too much of it can be problematic.
In the human body, the consumption of certain foods containing carbohydrates converts into glucose, which then transports to the cells through the bloodstream. For the glucose to be put to good use, the body relies on a hormone known as insulin produced by an organ in the digestive system called the pancreas.
Among people who feel their blood sugar is too high often do so with accompanying symptoms. Too much sugar, or glucose, in the bloodstream is a hallmark indicator of diabetes mellitus and can also be referred to as hyperglycemia. It is typically caused by the bodys inability to use or produce insulin.
In this discussion, we list five essential sets of facts you should know regarding high blood sugar.
Extremely Dry Itchy Skin
Dry, itchy skin
If you have diabetes, youre more likely to have dry skin. High blood sugar can cause this. If you have a skin infection or poor circulation, these could also contribute to dry, itchy skin.
- Tell your doctor about your extremely dry skin. Gaining better control of diabetes can reduce dryness.
- If you continue to have dry skin after you gain better control of your diabetes, a dermatologist can help.
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Hyperglycemia Symptom #: Thirst
Thirst isnt an adequate word for the feeling that comes with hyperglycemia, because thirst can be quenched. Hyperglycemic thirst cant. Have you ever been so thirsty that you drank long and deep enough to gasp for air when you were donemaybe after playing a sport in the heat, for example? Its kind of like that level of need, except the chugging doesnt satisfy the urge to drink. Even with a mouthful of water, I need more.
Yellow Reddish Or Brown Patches On Your Skin
This skin condition often begins as small raised solid bumps that look like pimples. As it progresses, these bumps turn into patches of swollen and hard skin. The patches can be yellow, reddish, or brown.
You may also notice:
- The surrounding skin has a shiny porcelain-like appearance
- You can see blood vessels
- The skin is itchy and painful
- The skin disease goes through cycles where it is active, inactive, and then active again
- Get tested for diabetes, if you have not been diagnosed.
- Work with your doctor to better control your diabetes.
- See a dermatologist about your skin. Necorbiosis lipodica is harmless, but it can lead to complications.
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Increased Risk Of Cardiovascular Events
Cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke are common and affect millions of people around the globe. According to the CDC, every year, about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of the total number of heart attacks, about 525,000 are a first cardiovascular event of this kind while 210,000 occur in people who have already had a heart attack.
On the other hand, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the US. About 140,000 die each year due to stroke. Every year, around 795,000 people suffer a stroke, and nearly three-quarters happen in people older than 65.
Risk factors that lead to cardiovascular problems are numerous, and high blood sugar is one of them. Although evidence on this subject is still relatively scarce, preliminary findings do show that hyperglycemia is an important prognostic factor in acute heart failure.
Studies show that hyperglycemia could increase the risk of heart attack and stroke due to the fact that glucose fluctuations are triggers for inflammatory responses through enhanced mitochondrial superoxide production.
The biggest problem here is that an inflammatory response induced by one short-term episode of hyperglycemia may last for several days. As if the problem isnt severe enough, inflammation leads to insulin resistance, which only worsens hyperglycemia. Basically, a vicious circle is created.
Swollen Or Bleeding Gums Which Increase Your Infection Risk
Gum disease is a complication of diabetes, notes the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. It can also make diabetes harder to control, because the bodys response to infection is to release more glucose into the bloodstream, according to the ADA.
Your saliva contains glucose and the more it contains, the more there is to feed the bacteria that combine with food in your mouth to form plaque and cause gum disease. Symptoms can include red or inflamed gums at first. If they are unaddressed, they can progress to periodontitis, which can cause your gums to pull away from your teeth, the appearance of pus or ulcers, or even tooth loss, notes the Mayo Clinic. Get your blood sugar under control and see a dental professional to prevent damage to your gums and teeth.
Additional reporting by Diana Rodriguez and Andrea Peirce.
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You Feel Tiredness And Fatigue Constantly
Fatigue and extreme tiredness are symptoms of uncontrolled blood sugar, the ADA says. Simply put, when your body is not processing insulin properly or it doesnt have sufficient amounts of insulin, the sugar is staying in our blood rather than getting into our cells to be used for energy, Zanini says. Also, frequent urination can lead to dehydration, which Bandukwala identifies as another contributing factor to fatigue.
What If It Goes Untreated
Hyperglycemia can be a serious problem if you don’t treat it, so it’s important to treat as soon as you detect it. If you fail to treat hyperglycemia, a condition called ketoacidosis could occur. Ketoacidosis develops when your body doesn’t have enough insulin. Without insulin, your body can’t use glucose for fuel, so your body breaks down fats to use for energy.
When your body breaks down fats, waste products called ketones are produced. Your body cannot tolerate large amounts of ketones and will try to get rid of them through the urine. Unfortunately, the body cannot release all the ketones and they build up in your blood, which can lead to ketoacidosis.
Ketoacidosis is life-threatening and needs immediate treatment. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
Talk to your doctor about how to handle this condition.
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What Does High Blood Sugar Feels Like
- You may be wondering what having high blood sugar feels like. You may find the following:
- You feel thirstier than usual
- You may need to urinate more frequently
- You have an increased appetite and feel hungrier
- Your vision becomes blurrier
- Your hands and feet may start to tingle
- You might also feel more tired than usual, get infections on your skin, or notice that cuts and sores take a long time to heal.
The Causes Of High Blood Sugar
In general, higher than normal blood glucose levels can be caused by:
- not taking your diabetes medicine when you’re supposed to or not taking the right amounts
- eating more food than your meal plan allows
- not getting enough exercise
- having an illness, like the flu
- taking other kinds of medicines that affect how your diabetes medicines work
Keeping blood sugar levels close to normal can be hard sometimes, and nobody’s perfect. Grown-ups can help you stay in balance if you have diabetes. Sometimes blood sugar levels can be high because you’re growing and your doctor needs to make some changes in your diabetes treatment plan.
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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.