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What Happens When Glucose Levels Are Too High

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What Causes Hyperglycaemia

The Highs and Lows of Blood Sugar

The underlying cause of hyperglycaemia is the loss of insulin-producing cells in your pancreas or your body developing resistance to insulin.

More immediate reasons for hyperglycaemia include:

  • missing a dose of diabetic medication, tablets or insulin
  • eating more carbohydrates than your body and/or medication can manage
  • being physically or emotionally stressed
  • having an infection.

Slow Healing Of Wounds

Hyperglycemia causes a severe change in coagulation. This in turn causes a problem with the speed at which wounds heal. This change can also cause the appearance of hematomas or bruising.

If you notice that any wounds are taking a long time to stop bleeding, or that they dont heal as fast as normal, you need to address this. Once you get control of your blood sugar levels, this will cease to be a problem.

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Check Your Blood Glucose Levels

For many people with diabetes, checking their blood glucose level each day is an important way to manage their diabetes. Monitoring your blood glucose level is most important if you take insulin. The results of blood glucose monitoring can help you make decisions about food, physical activity, and medicines.

The most common way to check your blood glucose level at home is with a blood glucose meter. You get a drop of blood by pricking the side of your fingertip with a lancet. Then you apply the blood to a test strip. The meter will show you how much glucose is in your blood at the moment.

Ask your health care team how often you should check your blood glucose levels. Make sure to keep a record of your blood glucose self-checks. You can print copies of this glucose self-check chart. Take these records with you when you visit your health care team.

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What Happens When Blood Glucose Is Too High

When blood glucose levels are too high, the pancreas secretes insulin, which stimulates glucose to flow from the blood into the cells. Excess glucose is converted to glycogen in the liver and muscle cells for storage and later usage. When blood glucose levels are very high, the body’s response is to shut down normal blood flow to parts of the brain and other organs so that they do not receive more oxygen than they can use up immediately. This is called “ischaemia” and without immediate treatment it will lead to brain damage or death.

Managing Blood Sugar Levels

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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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Take Your Insulin As Prescribed

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.

What Can Happen If Your Blood Sugar Is Too High What Is A Normal Range For Blood Sugar

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Surprising Things That Can Spike Your Blood Sugar

When you first found out you had diabetes, you tested your blood sugar often. Doing so helped you understand how food, activity, stress, and illness could affect your blood sugar levels. By now, youve got it figured out for the most part. But thenbam! Something makes your blood sugar zoom up. You try to adjust it with food or activity or insulin, and it dips really low. Youre on a roller coaster no one with diabetes wants to ride.

Do you know all these blood sugar triggers?

Knowledge is power! Look out for these surprising triggers that can send your blood sugar soaring:

  • Sunburnthe pain causes stress, and stress increases blood sugar levels.
  • Artificial sweetenersmore research is needed, but some studies show they can raise blood sugar.
  • Coffeeeven without sweetener. Some peoples blood sugar is extra-sensitive to caffeine.
  • Losing sleepeven just one night of too little sleep can make your body use insulin less well.
  • Skipping breakfastgoing without that morning meal can increase blood sugar after both lunch and dinner.
  • Time of dayblood sugar can be harder to control the later it gets.
  • Dawn phenomenonpeople have a surge in hormones early in the morning whether they have diabetes or not. For people with diabetes, blood sugar can spike.
  • Dehydrationless water in your body means your blood sugar is more concentrated.
  • Nose spraysome have chemicals that trigger your liver to make more blood sugar.
  • Symptoms And Treatment Of Hyperglycemia

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

    Hyperglycemia doesnt cause symptoms immediately. After blood sugar has been high for days or weeks, you may have symptoms including:

    These symptoms can progress to mental confusion, seizures, problems with vision, and loss of consciousness.

    Hypoglycemia requires immediate action. Most of those with diabetes know to take a high-calorie drink or snack if they have symptoms of hypoglycemia. If this doesnt work, its important to get medical help right away. If someone who doesnt have diabetes has these symptoms, quick treatment is also important.

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    High Blood Sugar Over Time Leads To:

    • Kidney damage and kidney failure
    • Blood vessel damage that can cause heart attacks and strokes
    • Eye disease that can cause poor vision or blindness
    • Nerve damage that can cause pain like pins and needles in the feet
    • Sores on the feet or legs that do not heal and could lead to removal of a toe, foot, or leg
    • Sexual problems, such as not being able to get an erection

    Taking care of your diabetes and keeping most of your blood sugars near the normal range throughout your life lowers your chance for these long-term problems.

    What High Blood Sugar Feels Like

    The symptoms can include:

    • Breath that smells like fruit

    These are symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis . Your body burns glucose for energy. When your cells donât get enough of it, they burn fat. That produces chemicals called ketones. When these build up, your blood becomes more acid-like. This can be life-threatening if itâs not treated.

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    What Is The Dawn Phenomenon

    Another reason for high nighttime blood sugar levels is the dawn phenomenon. The dawn phenomenon occurs early in the morning when the body naturally signals your liver to produce glucose, giving your body the energy it needs to wake up.

    The hormonal changes associated with the dawn phenomenon happen to people with or without diabetes, though those without diabetes do not experience hyperglycemia. If you take insulin, you may need to try a new basal insulin or adjust the timing and amount of your basal dose or your nighttime basal rates to cover an early morning rise.

    Problems Caused By High Blood Sugar

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    It’s not usually a serious problem if your blood sugar is sometimes slightly high for a short time.

    But high blood sugar can cause serious problems if it stays high for a long time or gets to a very high level.

    It can lead to:

    If you have high blood sugar, your doctor or care team may ask you to test your blood or pee to check for ketones. A high level of ketones is a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis.

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    Managing Your Diabetes Devices

    If you are using an insulin pump, talk to your diabetes team about how to best manage hyperglycemia. In general, be sure to check your pump first. Make sure all parts are connected and working correctly. Check your bolus history and temporary basal rate. Also check your insulin to make sure it has not expired or gotten too warm.

    If you use a CGM, try not to react to it too often. You might be tempted to give another dose of insulin too soon, before the first one finishes working, which is known as stacking insulin this can cause low blood sugar .

    What Happens If Blood Sugar Is Too High For Too Long

    High blood sugar levels have symptoms that include fatigue, headache, blurred vision, frequent urination, and increased thirst or hunger. When these things happen they serve as a warning to check your glucose levels.

    When type 1 diabetes is present, it is quite important to treat and recognize hyperglycemia at its onset. If left untreated it can lead to ketoacidosis. This is when there is not enough glucose in the body so the cells use ketones as a source of energy. Ketoacidosis is diagnosed when the ketones build up in the blood. This can become serious, leading to a diabetic coma or death.

    Symptoms of ketoacidosis are similar to hyperglycemia but also includes symptoms such as shortness of breath, fruit smelling breath, dry mouth, and high levels of ketones in the urine. Other signs include nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, and confusion. It is important to seek medical attention immediately if any of the symptoms are present.

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    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

    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.

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    What To Think About When Your Blood Sugar Is High

    16 Signs Of High Blood Sugar Levels That You Need To Know

    High blood sugar can harm you. If your blood sugar is high, you need to know how to bring it down. If you have diabetes, here are some questions to ask yourself when your blood sugar is high:

    • Are you eating right?
    • Are you eating too much?
    • Have you been following your diabetes meal plan?
    • Did you have a meal or a snack with a lot of carbohydrates, starches, or simple sugars?

    Are you taking your diabetes medicines correctly?

    • Has your doctor changed your medicines?
    • If you take insulin, have you been taking the correct dose? Is the insulin expired? Or has it been stored in a hot or cold place?
    • Are you afraid of having low blood sugar? Is that causing you to eat too much or take too little insulin or other diabetes medicine?
    • Have you injected insulin into a scar or overused area? Have you been rotating sites? Was the injection into a lump or numb spot under the skin?

    What else has changed?

    To prevent high blood sugar, you will need to:

    • Follow your meal plan
    • Take your diabetes medicines as instructed

    You and your doctor will:

    • Set a target goal for your blood sugar levels for different times during the day. This helps you manage your blood sugar.

    If your blood sugar is higher than your goals over 3 days and you don’t know why, check your urine for ketones. Then call your health care provider.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Eating Too Much Sugar

    So how do you know youre eating too much sugar? What are the symptoms? Here are 16 signs youre eating too much sugar and exactly what to do if you think you are overdosing on the sweet stuff. And if youre looking to make more changes, be sure to check out these 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.

    Type 1 Diabetes And Hyperglycemia: Handling High Blood Sugar

    One of the hallmarks of type 1 diabetes is hyperglycemia, or high blood glucose . Theres a very good reason that glucose levels climb high in type 1 diabetes, and thats a lack of insulin. When the pancreas shuts down insulin production, blood glucose levels start to climb. If there is sufficient insulin in the bloodstream, say, from an insulin injection or insulin infusion from a pump, glucose levels return to a safe level. If there is little or no insulin available, the situation becomes serious, both in the short term and the long term.

    To get cutting-edge diabetes news, strategies for blood glucose management, nutrition tips, healthy recipes, and more delivered straight to your inbox, !

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    So Whats Making You High

    As diabetics we are constantly striving to maintain a perfect blood glucose level. Having a high fasting reading constantly is a cause for major concern and can definitely affect your hbA1c and by extension your health if not corrected. For 3 or 4 days in a row, plan specific blood glucose testing times. You should also prepare your own meals during this testing period so that you are certain of the carbohydrate content. Try to have your last meal at least 2 hours before bedtime. Check your blood glucose at bedtime, wake up around 3 a.m to test again, and take the final reading at your usual wake-up time. Comparing these results can identify what is the underlying cause of your high blood glucose level in the morning. Sometimes it can also be a combination of issues. The table below is a guideline to follow to assist in identifying the problem. Always seek medical advice from your doctor pertaining to medication dosages and modifications.

    Find the Culprit of your Fasting High Blood Glucose Level
    Bedtime
    Day 3
    Day 4

    If your 2 hour post dinner time is close to your bedtime there is no need to test again. If it is more than an hour apart include both tests. These are quite a lot of test which will be done over a couple day. Your fingers will be sore but it will lead to discovering your underlying problem.

    How Do You Feel When Your Blood Sugar Is Too High

    How does the body deal with excess glucose?

    Here are some of the complaints that you may feel when your blood sugar is too high,

    • Headache and body aches
    • Loss of consciousness, coma or a seizure
    • Difficulty in concentration

    These symptoms can go on for a while till some food containing sugar is given. If this continues for long without any intake of sugar or any carbs, the condition can worsen and the blood sugar levels may further drop down, leading to complications. Very low blood sugar level can be a medical emergency too, which is why it is very important to be aware of the symptoms coming up because without an immediate treatment the patient can faint, may experience a seizure, or can even go into a coma.

    Both the high and the low blood sugar level can lead to an emergency, and therefore knowledge of how do you feel when your blood sugar is too high or low is very necessary. Early you come up with a solution faster the condition can be eased and the complication can be avoided.

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    What You Can Do Now

    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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