Risks Of Very High Blood Sugar
Hyperglycemia can be dangerous, especially for people with type 1 diabetes. It can lead to a deadly condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis .
The risk for DKA starts at 240 mg/dL, but is more likely in much higher blood sugar levels.
Signs of DKA include nausea or vomiting, fruity-smelling breath, extreme thirst, and frequent urination. You can test for ketones at home using a urine test. If you have high ketones, call your doctor or go to the emergency room.
In people with type 2 diabetes, high blood sugar can cause hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome . HHS is potentially fatal and can occur after several days or weeks of sustained high blood sugar.
In people with diabetes, high blood sugar is caused by things like:
- Eating too many carbohydrates
- Not getting enough physical activity
- Stress from an illness or infection
- Taking a corticosteroid, like prednisone
- Skipping or not taking enough glucose-lowering medication
Problems Caused By High Blood Sugar
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:
- life-threatening conditions such as diabetic ketoacidosis
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.
High Blood Glucose: Diabetic Ketoacidosis
If your insulin level is too low, your blood glucose could become so high that it is unsafe. You might develop a serious problem called diabetic ketoacidosis . This usually happens in people with Type 1 diabetes and those with glucose levels over 500.
If you have DKA, chemicals called ketones start to make a lot of acid in your body. The acid and high blood glucose can make you very sick. You might also become dehydrated . You can prevent DKA by carefully giving yourself the correct insulin dose every day.
If you have any of the following symptoms of DKA, get to your local emergency department right away. You need to be treated with insulin and fluids that are given to you through an IV :
- Dry mouth, eyes or skin
- Feeling very weak or tired
- Fruity-smelling breath
- Stomach pain, nausea or vomiting
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How To Manage A Blood Sugar Spike
The best way to manage high blood sugar is to check your blood sugar and take your medication as instructed. If you frequently experience blood sugar spikes, your doctor may change your medication routine.
You can also lower your blood sugar by exercising. However, if your blood sugar level is repeatedly above 240 mg/dL , check your urine for ketones using a test kit.
If you do have ketones, do not exercise. In this case, exercising may make your blood sugar levels go even higher.
If you think you may have DKA, you can test your urine for ketones using a test kit. If ketones are high, call a doctor and seek emergency medical attention immediately.
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.
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What Spice Helps Control Diabetes
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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.
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When To Call For Medical Advice
It is important to note that very high blood glucose levels can be dangerous and it is important to be aware of the symptoms and risk factors of the following conditions:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis a short term complication most commonly associated with type 1 diabetes
- Hyperosmolar Hyperglycaemic State a short term complication most commonly associated with type 2 diabetes
If you are struggling to keep your blood glucose levels under control, speak to your GP or consultant who can advise you or refer you onto a diabetes education course.
How Does Your Body Regulate Low Blood Sugar
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Type 2 Diabetes And Blood Glucose Levels
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition. This means that your blood glucose levels are likely to increase over time. Regular monitoring is needed. Again, illness may cause an increase in your blood glucose levels. If you have acute elevations over 15mmol/L for 8-12 hours, or are unwell, follow your sick day plan.
Make Physical Activity Part Of Your Daily Routine
Set a goal to be more physically active. Try to work up to 30 minutes or more of physical activity on most days of the week.
Brisk walking and swimming are good ways to move more. If you are not active now, ask your health care team about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you. Learn more about being physically active with diabetes.
Following your meal plan and being more active can help you stay at or get to a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, work with your health care team to create a weight-loss plan that is right for you.
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How To Control High Blood Sugar At Home
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What Is A Bad Glucose Level
The test for A1C, or hbA1c, is a non-fasting blood test that measures the average amount of glucose in your blood stream over a period of three months and is measured in percentages. A healthy percentage is under 5.7%. A result between 5.7 and 6.4% suggests prediabetes. Anything higher than 6.5% indicates diabetes.
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If You Regularly Have High Blood Sugar Levels
Having high blood sugar levels regularly is not something you should live with. This is because in the long-term it can increase your risk of developing diabetes complications, such as neuropathy and retinopathy.
If you notice that your blood sugar levels are often high, you should contact your diabetes healthcare team. They will review your treatment and provide you with advice on how to get your blood sugar levels back within your target range. This advice may include increasing your medication.
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How Do I Treat Hyperglycemia
You can often lower your blood glucose level by exercising. However, if your blood glucose is above 240 mg/dl, check your urine for ketones. If you have ketones, do not exercise.
Exercising when ketones are present may make your blood glucose level go even higher. You’ll need to work with your doctor to find the safest way for you to lower your blood glucose level.
Cutting down on the amount of food you eat might also help. Work with your dietitian to make changes in your meal plan. If exercise and changes in your diet don’t work, your doctor may change the amount of your medication or insulin or possibly the timing of when you take it.
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:
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Managing Weight Through Exercise
Being overweight or having obesity is a risk factor for prediabetes, and regular physical activity can help with weight management. Losing even 5% to 7% of your body weight can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Before you start an exercise program, ask your healthcare provider if it is safe for you to do so. Even brisk walking, several times a week for 30 minutes, five times a week helps.
Not only does exercise help with weight management, but it also helps the body more effectively use insulin .
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.
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Who Is Most At Risk For Developing Diabetes
The following categories of people are considered “high-risk” candidates for developing diabetes:
- Individuals who have overweight or obesity.
- Individuals who are 45 years of age or older.
- Individuals with first-degree relatives with diabetes .
- Individuals who are Black, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asia American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders.
- People who developed diabetes while they were pregnant or gave birth to large babies .
- Individuals with high blood pressure .
- Individuals with high-density lipoprotein below 25 mg/dl or triglyceride levels at or above 250 mg/dl.
- Individuals who have impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance.
- Individuals who are physically inactive engaging in exercise less than three times a week.
- Individuals who have polycystic ovary syndrome, also called PCOS.
- Individuals who have acanthosis nigricans, which are dark, thick and velvety skin around your neck or armpits.
In addition to testing the above individuals at high risk, the American Diabetes Association also recommends screening all individuals age 45 and older.