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:
Consequences Of Blood Sugar Levels
Whilst most symptoms of low and high blood sugar levels are mild, they can worsen if left untreated and sometimes have long term consequences and/or complications. Overtime, a high blood sugar level is what can cause consequences. Lack of treatment can cause severe damage to the blood vessels and lead to complications such as:
- Damage to the eyes and/or loss of vision
- Nerve problems in the feet leading to infections
To avoid long term consequences and complications, it is advised to take all precautionary measures and treat your blood sugar level so that it can be maintained at your ideal reading. So do so, follow all treatment methods, stay on track with checking your level daily and seeking help if symptoms persist.
If you have any more questions, here are a few of the most frequently asked questions which may answer your concerns:
How To Lower Blood Sugar
Its best to always talk to your doctor about what to do if a certain situation presents itself. For example, your doctor may recommend you take an additional dose of insulin to lower blood sugar. Make sure youre aware of the dose that should be taken, as well as what level it should be taken at.
While lowering blood sugar for some requires taking insulin or other medication, there are some simple things that can be done to help get blood sugar moving in the right direction.
Drinking water is a simple, effective way to help lower blood sugar. It wont get you all the way back to normal when your blood sugar level is very high, but it will usually help get it moving downward. When your body needs to get rid of extra glucose, it can dispose of it through urine. In order for this to happen, you need to be properly hydrated.
Additionally, exercising can serve as a long term proactive means of lowering average blood sugar. When you exercise, your body becomes more sensitive to insulin in your body and can pull sugar from the blood to use for energy. This is another effective way to lower your blood sugar levels naturally. Make sure that the exercise youre doing isnt too strenuous. Even going for a walk can be the exercise the body needs to use some of the excess glucose in the blood.
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Ketoacidosis: When Hyperglycemia Becomes Severe For People With Type 1 Diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes, it is important to recognize and treat hyperglycemia because if left untreated it can lead to a dangerous condition called .
This happens because without glucose, the body’s cells must use ketones as a source of energy. Ketoacidosis develops when ketones build up in the blood. It can become serious and lead to diabetic coma or even death.
According to the American Diabetes Association, ketoacidosis affects people with type 1 diabetes, but it rarely affects people with type 2 diabetes.
Many symptoms of ketoacidosis are similar to hyperglycemia. The hallmarks of ketoacidosis are:
High level of ketones in the urine
Shortness of breath
Additionally, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and confusion may accompany ketoacidosis. Immediate medical attention is highly recommended if you have any of these symptoms.
Some people with diabetes are instructed by their doctor to regularly test ketone levels. Ketone testing is performed two ways: using urine or using blood.
For a urine test, you dip a special type of test strip into your urine. For testing blood ketones, a special meter and test strips are used. The test is performed exactly like a blood glucose test.
If ketone testing is part of your self-monitoring of diabetes, your health care professional will provide you with other information including prevention.
Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome : When Hyperglycemia Becomes Severe For People With Type 2 Diabetes
Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome is very rare, but you should be aware of it and know how to handle it if it occurs.
HHNS is when your blood glucose level goes way too highyou become extremely hyperglycemic. HHNS affects people with type 2 diabetes.
HHNS is most likely to occur when you’re sick, and elderly people are most likely to develop it.
It starts when your blood glucose level starts to climb: when that happens, your body will try to get rid of all the excess glucose through frequent urination. That dehydrates your body, and you’ll become very thirsty.
Unfortunately, when you’re sick, it’s sometimes more difficult to rehydrate your body. For example, it might be difficult to keep fluids down.
When you don’t rehydrate your body, the blood glucose level continues to climb, and it can eventually go so high that it could send you into a coma.
To avoid hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome, you should keep close watch on your blood glucose level when you’re sick .
Talk to your health care professional about having a sick-day plan to follow that will help you avoid HHNS.
You should also be able to quickly recognize the signs and symptoms of HHNS, which include:
Extremely high blood glucose level
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How Can I Pay For Tests And Diabetes Supplies
Medicareexternal icon, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans pay for the A1C test and fasting blood sugar test as well as some diabetes supplies. Check your plan or ask your health care team for help finding low-cost or free supplies, and see How to Save Money on Diabetes Care for more resources.
Causes Of High Blood Sugar
The leading causes of high blood sugar or hyperglycemia include:
Diet: Glucose comes from food, so what you are eating causes high blood sugar. Carbohydrates are the most common culprit as they are broken down into glucose very quickly in the body. High-sugar foods, high-fat foods, and processed foods also cause blood glucose spikes and should be replaced with healthier options.
Stress: When you are stressed, more stress hormones and chemicals are released, which drives blood sugar levels up too. If the stress is only temporary, this is not a serious issue, but if you experience chronic stress or an anxiety disorder, you may experience high blood sugar levels more often.
Metabolic Syndrome: These are a collection of conditions that occur at the same time and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. High blood pressures, excess fat around the waist, and high cholesterol or triglycerides are examples of these conditions. When these occur in the body together, your risk for diabetes increases as does your blood sugar and the risk for potential complications.
Physical Inactivity: A lack of physical activity contributes to elevated blood sugar. When you are physically active each day, insulin works more efficiently, and your blood sugar can be maintained.
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What Is High Blood Sugar
Elevated blood sugar levels are known as hyperglycemia. Blood sugar levels are measured using a small sample of blood that is tested in a lab. Blood sugar can also be tested using at home devices such as a handheld glucometer. Levels that indicate hyperglycemia are indicative of prediabetes and both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Normal ranges of blood sugar will vary depending on the test being done. In general, a normal fasting glucose level will be between 70-100 mg/dL. After a meal, these levels are expected to rise slightly around 1 to 2 hours after the beginning of a meal, but should be less than 180 ml/dL.
Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is important not only for metabolic health, but heart health too. Over time, high blood sugar can damage blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart. People with diabetes are also more likely to have other conditions that raise the risk for heart disease:
- High blood pressure increases the force of blood through your arteries and can damage artery walls. Having both high blood pressure and diabetes can greatly increase your risk for heart disease.
- Too much LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream can form plaque on damaged artery walls.
How Often Is A1c Tested
To keep A1C levels in check, patients should have the test repeated regularly. If the A1C is less than 5.7, indicating you dont have diabetes, you should have it checked every three years, according to Robert Williams, MD, a family doctor and geriatrician in Lakewood, Colorado, and a medical advisor for eMediHealth. If it is between 5.7 and 6.4, indicating you are at risk of developing diabetes, you should have it rechecked every one to two years. If you have a confirmed diabetes diagnosis, and your blood sugar is well-controlled, you should have an A1C test every six months. If you already have diabetes and your medications change, or your blood sugar is not well-controlled, you should have an A1C test every three months.
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What Is High Blood Glucose
People who do not have diabetes typically have fasting plasma blood glucose levels that run under 100 mg/dl.
Your physician will define for you what your target blood glucose should be identifying a blood glucose target that is as close to normal as possible that you can safely achieve given your overall medical health. In general, high blood glucose, also called ‘hyperglycemia’, is considered “high” when it is 160 mg/dl or above your individual blood glucose target. Be sure to ask your healthcare provider what he or she thinks is a safe target for you for blood glucose before and after meals.
If your blood glucose runs high for long periods of time, this can pose significant problems for your long-term increased risk of complications, such as eye disease, kidney disease, heart attacks and strokes and more. High blood glucose can pose health problems in the short-term as well. Your treatment plan may need adjustment if the blood glucose stays over 180 mg/dl for 3 days in a row. It is important to aim to keep your blood glucose under control and treat hyperglycemia when it occurs.
- Increased thirst
- Slow healing cuts and sores
- Unexplained weight loss
- Too little exercise or physical activity
- Skipped or not enough diabetes pills or insulin
- Insulin that has spoiled after being exposed to extreme heat or freezing cold
- Stress, illness, infection, injury or surgery
- A blood glucose meter that is not reading accurately
When To Talk To A Doctor About Your Blood Sugar
Routine check-ups with your doctor including blood work are imperative for preventing and treating high blood sugar. As mentioned, because many symptoms of prediabetes may go unnoticed, a medical exam including blood work is the best way to detect high blood sugar.
Its also important to speak with your doctor if you have a family history of diabetes, feel as though you may be experiencing symptoms or have any concerns about your blood sugar.
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When To Go To The Er
High blood sugar can be very concerning because your body can start burning fat for energy instead of blood glucose.
This can cause conditions such as DKA and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome . These conditions are medical emergencies and can be fatal if left untreated.
DKA is a serious complication of type 1 diabetes. Its rare in people with type 2 diabetes, but can occur.
Symptoms that can indicate you should go to the emergency room include:
- ketones in your urine, as diagnosed using a urine dipstick test
High blood sugar levels can cause a fluid imbalance in the body and can cause the blood to become acidic in a manner that doesnt support life.
Medical treatments for these conditions include administering intravenous insulin on a continuous basis and IV fluids to correct dehydration.
High blood sugar can become a medical emergency. Go to the ER if you suspect DKA or HHS.
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A1c Test For Blood Glucose
If your fasting blood sugar result was above the normal range, your doctor may repeat the test to confirm it or may order a hemoglobin A1C test, which shows blood sugar levels over the past three months. “That fasting value only gives us a certain snapshot of how the person is doing,” says Deena Adimoolam, MD, an assistant professor of endocrinology at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York City. “The hemoglobin A1C will help us to understand how long this issue has been going on and how high the person’s blood glucose levels have been over a certain amount of time.”
A hemoglobin A1C result of 6.5 percent or higher confirms a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. An A1C result between 5.7 and 6.5 percent is considered prediabetes. While prediabetes puts you at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, Dr. Eckel notes that your A1C result can give you a clearer picture of your risk. “If your hemoglobin A1C is 5.8 or 5.7, that chance of developing type 2 diabetes is less than if it’s 6.3 or 6.4,” he says.
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Normal Blood Sugar Levels In Healthy Individuals
Youreconsidered as a diabetic, a term used to call an individual with diabetes, whenthe level of your blood sugar is higher than normal. Unfortunately, some people are probably unaware whentheir level is high since they dont know what diabetes symptoms look like.
Accordingto NIDDK ,a staggering 25 percent of individuals with diabetes dont realize they livewith the disease. Furthermore, 1 out of 3 people probably has acondition called pre-diabetes, one CDC report suggests. Pre-diabetes isborderline diabetes, a phase when your blood sugar is higher than normal butits not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
Its usually hard to tell whether or not youre diabetic if you only rely on the symptoms. The best way to accurately catch it is by measuring your blood sugar level! This can help figure out whether youre in a healthy range.
Blood sugar levels are usually classified into two categories when fasting and after eating . In most healthy individuals, these are as follows :
It seemsthe normal level may also vary from person to person. For some people, 60 mg/dL is probably still OK ask a doctor for more guidance!
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 donÃ¢t 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 itÃ¢s not treated.
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A Few Final Notes On Keeping Blood Sugar Stable
Taking an active, intentional approach to your blood sugar levels is crucial to your quality of life and overall health, ONeill says. Avoiding too-high or too-low blood sugar levels will help you avoid adverse symptoms and health complications, and staying within your target range can enable you to feel your best and do whatever you want to do in life, she says.
Test your blood sugar regularly, listen to your body, and dont ever hesitate to reach out to your doctor.
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Large Meals With A Lot Of Carbohydrates
Eating a large meal high in fats and carbohydrates takes longer to digest. As a result, it might lead to a sustained rise in spiking blood sugar levels. Compared to the recommended 2-3 hours, you frequently observe that the glycemic reactions to these meals take five or more hours to return to normal.
Fried foods, cheesy pasta, pizza, and other fatty and carbohydrate-rich foods are examples of such meals. The fat in these meals slows down the digestion and absorption of the glucose, resulting in a protracted period during which the glucose gets digested slowly.
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If My A1c Is Normal My Glucose Is Good
An A1C result thatâs below 5.7% is normal âs standards, but having a result below that number isnât the end of the story. Pregnancy, hemoglobin variants, anemia, liver disease, and certain medications can cause inaccurate A1C results.
Additionally, the A1C test is measuring your average glucose value over the past 3 months, but averages inherently do not capture highs and lows. So, you could have a normal average while also having abnormal glucose spikes. The A1C test should only supplement your regular blood sugar testing, not replace it completely.
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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