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What Does Elevated Sugar Levels Mean

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How Can I Prevent Low Blood Glucose

What does it mean to have high blood sugar

All people with diabetes:

  • If you experience low blood glucose often, ask your doctor if setting a higher goal for your A1C level may be appropriate.
  • Ask your doctor to look at the test results from your home blood glucose monitor. These results reveal how often you have low blood glucose and when these episodes occur. Your doctor will look for patterns to see if low glucose happens after exercise or at certain times of day, for example.
  • If youve had low blood glucose in the past, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet so that others will know that you have diabetes in the event of an emergency.
  • Keep a fast-acting carbohydrate in your bag, desk drawer, car and other places for easy access. Good options include hard candy, fruit juice or glucose paste or tablets, which can be purchased at most pharmacies.
  • Ask your doctor for an emergency glucagon kit. This kit contains a fast- acting medication that can be injected in case of loss of consciousness because of low blood glucose. Keep one kit at home and one at work or school.
  • Monitor your blood glucose regularly so that low levels can be corrected before symptoms progress.

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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.

When Would I Need A Blood Glucose Test

There are three main reasons why you may need a blood glucose test:

  • Your healthcare provider may have ordered routine bloodwork called a basic metabolic panel or a comprehensive metabolic panel , which both include a glucose blood test.
  • You may be having symptoms of high blood sugar or low blood sugar, which could indicate diabetes or another condition.
  • If you take a long-term medication that affects your blood sugar levels, such as corticosteroids, you may need routine glucose blood tests to monitor your levels.

The most common use of a blood glucose test is to screen for Type 2 diabetes , which is a common condition. Certain people are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. If you have risk factors, your provider will likely recommend regular screening no matter your age. The American Diabetes Association recommends regular screening for anyone age 35 or older.

Your provider will also order a blood glucose test if you have symptoms of high blood sugar or low blood sugar .

Symptoms of diabetes and high blood sugar include:

  • Feeling very thirsty .
  • Intense hunger.
  • Anxiousness or irritability.

You need to consume carbohydrates to treat hypoglycemia, such as a banana or apple juice. Severe hypoglycemia can be life-threatening.

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What Are Blood Sugar Targets

A blood sugar target is the range you try to reach as much as possible. These are typical targets:

  • Before a meal: 80 to 130 mg/dL.
  • Two hours after the start of a meal: Less than 180 mg/dL.

Your blood sugar targets may be different depending on your age, any additional health problems you have, and other factors. Be sure to talk to your health care team about which targets are best for you.

When To See A Healthcare Provider

Does High Sugar Level Mean Diabetes

If you have diabetes and experience a randomly high blood sugar from time to time, there is usually no need to panic. Try to understand what changes could have triggered a blood sugar spike, whether by looking at your diet or activity levels. Knowing the reason behind high blood sugar helps you figure out how to prevent it from happening again.

On the other hand, if you have been experiencing high blood sugars regularly, you may need a change in your treatment plan. This doesn’t mean you havent been managing your diabetes well. Rather, diabetes is a progressive disease that can change how it affects you over time. That means changes to things like medications, meal plans, and exercise regimens might be needed to help you achieve better control over your blood sugar levels.

If you do not have diabetes and suspect that you are experiencing high blood sugar, consider making an appointment with a healthcare provider.

Regardless of whether you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you should also seek care if you are experiencing any symptoms of DKA or HHS. For both conditions, quick treatment is crucial.

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What Causes Low Blood Glucose In People With Diabetes

Low blood glucose levels can be a side effect of insulin or some other medicines that help your pancreas release insulin into your blood. Taking these can lower your blood glucose level.

Two types of diabetes pills can cause low blood glucose

  • sulfonylureas, usually taken once or twice per day, which increase insulin over several hours
  • meglitinides, taken before meals to promote a short-term increase in insulin

The following may also lower your blood glucose level

What Causes Hyperglycemia In People With Diabetes

  • The dose of insulin or oral diabetes medication that you are taking is not the most helpful dose for your needs.
  • Your body isnt using your natural insulin effectively .
  • The amount of carbohydrates you are eating or drinking is not balanced with the amount of insulin your body is able to make or the amount of insulin you inject.
  • You are less active than usual.
  • Physical stress is affecting you.
  • Emotional stress is affecting you.
  • You are taking steroids for another condition.
  • The dawn phenomenon is affecting you.

Other possible causes

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What Blood Sugar Levels Are Healthy

This is the big question.

Weve established what normal non-diabetic blood sugar looks like, more or less. And we know what blood sugar goals the medical authorities set for people with diabetes. The problem is that theres some distance between those two levels. Many in the Diabetes Daily community have reasoned that it is best to get their blood sugar as close to normal as is reasonably possible. Should your target be normal blood sugar, the ADA target, or something in between?

The truth is that this is something of a gray area both in the diabetes recommendations and in the medical research. Speaking very generally, the long-term studies that the ADA uses to set its glycemic targets tend to show that the risk of long-term complications such as kidney disease and retinopathy drops off significantly when a patients A1C is lower than 6.5-7 percent. There are plenty of individual studies suggesting that even lower blood sugar levels are as associated with even better health, but the diabetes establishment has not yet made it a priority to issue guidance on the matter.

That leaves us with a situation in which some doctors and endocrinologists tell their patients that an A1C of 7 percent is good enough, while others encourage their patients to try and get as close to normal as possible provided that it doesnt involve an undue risk of hypoglycemia. Some, like the popular Dr. Richard Bernstein, have made the latter approach the guiding philosophy of their practices.

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

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

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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    What Do Glucose Levels Mean

    Glucose levels are primarily about glucose / insulin balance (also called glucose homeostasis in your blood stream. Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas which your body needs to burn the sugar and convert it into energy.High glucose level means that glucose / insulin balance is disturbed and may need to be corrected. Higher amounts of glucose need more insulin to be processed. Diabetes is a condition when you blood glucose levels are higher that your insulin can manage, so glucose in not burnt and its levels in the blood remain high while you experience energy shortage symptoms, like weakness or dizzness, because your body cells cannot get glucose from your blood and starve. In this state yor can also feel thirsty or urinate often.

    There are two major causes for glucose / insulin disbalance. First, pancreas produces too little insulin or you have a condition called insulin-resistance , which means that glucose-lowering effects of insulin do not work for your body cells. Type 1 diabetes is less common and occurs only in 10% of all diabetes cases. This condition is caused by an auto-immune damage to the pancreas, which means that your body’s immune system destroys your pancreas cells impairing its normal work.

    High blood sugar means that your are on your way to diabetes or may already have it. However, the condition can be reversed. The earlier you take action the greater the chance to get back to healthy blood sugar levels.

    What Is A Blood Sugar Spike

    A blood sugar spike happens when glucose builds up in the bloodstream and your blood sugar levels increase. This may happen after eating.

    Its important to know the early symptoms of high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia. Early testing and treatment can help prevent more severe symptoms.

    Early signs of high blood sugar can include:

    • feeling thirsty
    • having a very dry mouth
    • urinating frequently
    • having blurred vision

    If you suspect that you have high blood sugar, you can perform a finger stick to check your level.

    Exercising and drinking water after eating, particularly if youve consumed a lot of starchy carbs, can help lower your blood sugar.

    You can also use an insulin injection, but be careful to only use this method while closely following the recommendation of a doctor regarding your dose. If used improperly, insulin can cause hypoglycemia .

    If your blood sugar stays elevated for too long, you may develop diabetic ketoacidosis.

    If high blood sugar levels go untreated for too long, glucose will build up in your bloodstream and your cells will be starved for fuel. Your cells will use fat for fuel instead.

    When your cells use fat instead of glucose, the process produces a byproduct called ketones:

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    Biological Causes Of High A1c But Normal Bg Levels

    The rate of red blood cell turnover is variable from person to person:As some studies found that there are people who turnover their red blood cells in about 80 days,they expected that those people have less sugar attached to their RBCs, thus they see lower-than-expected A1C levels.while those with longer lifetime span of RBCs may have a turnover of 140 days, thesy accumulate more sugar on their red cells and therefore see higher-than-expected A1C levels.Who is prone to short turnover rate and false low A1c are:Anemic patient have low red blood cells count and low hemoglobin level, so that the A1c is falsely decreased.Do you know: What Does Anemic Mean?Patients with pre-existing diabetes: DM patient have short-live red blood cells, which in turn lead to false low hemoglobin A1c results.People who donate blood or have any internal bleeding:Their blood cells generated at a faster way and therefore the new RBCs have no glucose attached yet, this fact will lead to unreal low Hgb A1c values.Whos prone to long turnover and false high A1c are:Non-Diabetes persons have longer RBCs lifespan than those with diabetes, which may or may not alter the real HbA1c results.You can see All FAQs of Hemoglobin A1c Test.

    High Hemoglobin A1c Normal Blood Sugar Due To An Error In The Blood Sugar Tests:

    What are dangerous blood sugar levels?

    Starvation before a blood sugar test can lower sugar results falsely:If you fast more than 8 hours for fasting sugar test the body utilize the blood sugar and thus appear below the actual elevated reading.When you intake less than 75 g of glucose before the post-postprandial glucose test, it may decrease the actual elevated value by mistake.If you have taken a high dose of sugar-lowering medication before fasting:You may taken the treatment at the incorrect time or the dose is higher than prescribed by your doctor.If you have taken the treatment prior to testing PPBG:For type 2 pills or type 1 insulin injection, mark the time of starting the eating or the time after drinking the 75 g of glucose to avoid mistaken time errors.You can increase your knowledge of: Blood Glucose Levels Chart

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    How Does High Blood Sugar Affect The Body

    Monitoring your blood sugar is essential if you have diabetes. Symptoms will get worse if treatment is not provided, and serious health complications can arise as a result. The signs of high blood sugar to look for include fatigue, blurred vision, and headaches along with:

    • Frequent urination and thirst: Excess sugar in the blood is passed through the kidneys and into urine. This draws more water into the urine which means more frequent urination. High glucose levels cause thirst even when you are drinking enough fluids.
    • Weight loss: Elevated blood sugar levels over time can lead to unexplained weight loss as a result of cells not getting the glucose they need. As a result, they start burning fat instead.
    • Numbness: High blood sugar can cause tingling and numbness in the extremities. It is important to note that this is a complication of long-term diabetes and uncontrolled blood sugar levels.

    How Can You Lower High Blood Sugar

    There are several ways to lower blood sugar, including making changes to your diet, exercising, and taking oral medications or injected medications. The best way for you to lower your blood sugar will depend on how high your blood sugar is, how long it has been elevated, and what type of diabetes you most likely have.

    Some individuals with diabetes, especially those on insulin, may need to monitor their own blood glucose levels daily or even several times a day. You can either use a finger prick method or a continuous glucose monitor . Your doctor can help you decide whether it is necessary to check your blood glucose and help you find a monitor thats right for you.

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    What About Dramatic Changes In Blood Sugar

    So far, we have learned that high glucose causes fatigue and low glucose causes fatigue. Guess what, these swings also zap our energy. When we have large swings in blood sugar it increases the amount of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is associated with chronic fatigue. This is just another way in which glucose dysregulation is associated with decreased energy levels, fatigue, and decreased alertness.

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    What Can I Expect During A Blood Glucose Test

    Type 2 Diabetes What Do These Blood Sugar Levels Mean

    You can expect the following during a venous glucose test, or blood draw:

    • Youll sit in a chair, and a phlebotomist will check your arms for an easily accessible vein. This is usually in the inner part of your arm on the other side of your elbow.
    • Once theyve located a vein, theyll clean and disinfect the area.
    • Theyll then insert a small needle into your vein to take a blood sample. This may feel like a small pinch.
    • After they insert the needle, a small amount of blood will collect in a test tube.
    • Once they have enough blood to test, theyll remove the needle and hold a cotton ball or gauze on the site to stop the bleeding.
    • Finally, theyll place a bandage over the site, and youll be finished.

    You can expect the following during a capillary blood glucose test :

    • A healthcare provider will ask you which finger youd like them to use.
    • Theyll disinfect your fingertip with an alcohol swab and prick it with a small needle called a lancet, which is usually contained within a small plastic device.
    • Theyll squeeze your fingertip to form a drop of blood.
    • Theyll place your finger/the drop of blood against a test strip thats inserted into a glucometer.
    • After they have enough blood for the test, theyll give you a cotton ball or gauze to hold against your fingertip to stop the bleeding.
    • The glucometer will show your blood glucose level within seconds.

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