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What Happens When Blood Sugar Is Too High

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10 Alarming Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Too High

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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.

How Is Dka Treated

DKA is very serious, but it can be treated if you go to the doctor or hospital right away. To feel better, a person with DKA needs to get insulin and fluids through a tube that goes into a vein in the body .

Let your parents or someone on your diabetes health care team know if you have any of these symptoms or are sick and don’t know what to do to take care of your diabetes.

Always wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace that says you have diabetes. Then, if you are not feeling well, whoever’s helping you will know to call for medical help. Medical identification can also include your doctor’s phone number or a parent’s phone number.

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What Are Risk Factors For Hyperglycemia

Major risk factors for hyperglycemia are:

  • You have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
  • You are African American, Native American, Hispanic or Asian American.
  • You are overweight.
  • You have high blood pressure or cholesterol.
  • You have polycystic ovarian syndrome .
  • You have a history of gestational diabetes.

Symptoms And Treatment Of Hyperglycemia

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Hyperglycemia doesn’t 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 doesn’t work, it’s important to get medical help right away. If someone who doesn’t have diabetes has these symptoms, quick treatment is also important.

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Signs That Your Blood Sugar Levels Are Too High

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26 May, 2022

Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main source of energy for the cells in the body. This type of sugar is found in flours, honey, carrots, and rice, amongst other foods. While we use need it for daily living, its not good when your blood sugar levels are too high.

The specific purpose of this energy is to help you perform important bodily functions, such as digestion. It keeps the heart functioning, the synapses going, and fuels a host of other processes.

The sugar found in your blood must be kept between 70 and 110 mg/dL to make the most of its benefits. If it gets too high or low, you may suffer negative health consequences.

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When your blood sugar levels are too high, this condition is called hyperglycemia. It can cause damage to various organs. Even further, when these levels are above 180 mg/dL its diagnosed as diabetes mellitus. Its important to keep this condition under strict medical observation, since it can cause many complications.

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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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.

You’re Starting To Have Vision Problems

7 Alarming Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Too High

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.

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Low Blood Sugar Symptoms

Hypoglycemia happens when blood glucose levels drop too low. Low blood sugar can be caused by many things including the two different types of diabetes, certain medications, alcohol, endocrine disorders, eating disorders, pregnancy , and disorders of the liver, kidneys, or heart.

Here are some of the most common symptoms that someone with low blood sugar might experience:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Tingling lips

If your blood sugar is low you might start to feel some of the first signs of hypoglycemia like dizziness, lightheadedness, or sweating. The only way to know for sure if your blood sugar is low is to test it with a glucose meter or other glucose monitoring device.

If you dont have access to these tools and start to feel the symptoms of low blood sugar, consume 15 grams of carbs or take a quick dissolve glucose tablet to raise your blood sugar levels and avoid further symptoms, according to the American Diabetes Association . Once your blood sugar is back in its target range, you can have a snack or meal to make sure it doesnt drop again.

Here are some other lifestyle and medicinal treatments that can help treat hypoglycemia:

  • Eat a healthy diet full of whole foods that are minimally processed.
  • Take prediabetes or diabetes medications as recommended by your healthcare provider.
  • Use a glucagon kit in emergencies. Glucagon is a hormone that raises blood sugar levels quickly.

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Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels In Check

If you’re feeling any of these early warning signs that something might be wrong with your body, then make sure to speak with a doctor or a certified diabetes educator who can provide medical advice on what steps to take next.

It doesn’t hurt to get your blood sugar regularly tested, especially if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms. The earlier something is detected, the better chance there will be at reversing it and making sure that your blood sugar levels stay in a healthy normal range.

On the contrary, if none of these apply, but your blood sugar level still seems off – please see a doctor as soon as possible! Your health matters more than anything else in this world. Never forget that. And remember: if it’s not one thing on this list or another, just go get checked out by a medical professional immediately.

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How Is Hyperglycemia Diagnosed

If you have diabetes and notice a sudden change in your blood sugar levels during your home monitoring, you should alert your doctor of your symptoms. The increase in blood sugar may affect your treatment plan.

Regardless of whether you have diabetes, if you begin experiencing any symptoms of hyperglycemia, you should speak to your doctor. Before going to your appointment, you should note what symptoms youre experiencing. You should also consider these questions:

  • Has your diet changed?
  • Have you had enough water to drink?
  • Are you under a lot of stress?
  • Were you just in the hospital for surgery?
  • Were you involved in an accident?

Once at your doctors appointment, your doctor will discuss all of your concerns. Theyll perform a brief physical exam and discuss your family history. Your doctor will also discuss your target blood sugar level.

If youre age 59 or younger, a safe blood sugar range is generally between 80 and 120 milligrams per deciliter . This is also the projected range for people who dont have any underlying medical conditions.

People who are age 60 or older and those who have other medical conditions or concerns may have levels between 100 and 140 mg/dL.

Your doctor may conduct an A1C test to determine what your average blood sugar level has been in recent months. This is done by measuring the amount of blood sugar attached to the oxygen-carrying protein hemoglobin in your red blood cells.

What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Dka

Hyperglycemia: Signs, Symptoms, and Complications

The symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis usually don’t develop all at once they usually come on slowly over several hours. People who have DKA may:

  • feel really tired
  • feel really thirsty or pee way more than usual
  • have a dry mouth and signs of dehydration

These symptoms are caused by the high blood sugar levels that usually happen before someone develops DKA. If the person doesn’t get treatment, these signs of DKA can happen:

  • unconsciousness

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Tingling Hands And Feet

Over the years, hyperglycemia can begin to impact nerve function and eventually cause nerve damage, called neuropathy, Dr. Hatipoglu says. The most common kind of neuropathy is peripheral, according to the NIDDK, which affects the extremities. You might start noticing feelings of tingling, numbness, or burning in your hands, feet, arms, and legs, per the Mayo Clinic.

Setting The Stage For High Blood Sugar

High blood sugar is the defining characteristic of all types of diabetes. It happens when the body can no longer maintain a normal blood glucose level, either because the pancreas is no longer making enough insulin, or because the bodys cells have become so resistant to insulin that the pancreas cannot keep up, and glucose is accumulating in the bloodstream rather than being moved into the cells.

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Talk With Your Healthcare Provider

If you think you’ve been doing all you can to keep your blood sugar in control, but your readings are still high, it may be time to switch medications, if you are taking them. Diabetes is a progressive disease, and over time, the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin can stop making the hormone altogether.

Ultimately, your healthcare provider will look at the full picture and do additional testing to find out if there is a bigger problem.

What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis

How to bring down high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia)

When the body doesn’t have enough insulin, glucose stays in the blood and can’t get into the body’s cells to be used for energy. This can happen, for example, when someone skips doses of insulin or when the need for insulin suddenly increases and the doses are not adjusted.

When the body can’t use glucose for fuel, it starts to use fat. When this happens, chemicals called ketones are released into the blood. Some of these ketones, like extra glucose, pass out of the body through the urine.

High levels of ketones in the blood can be a problem because they cause the blood to become acidic. Too much acid in the blood throws off the body’s chemical balance and causes the symptoms listed below. In people with diabetes, this problem is called diabetic , or DKA. DKA is a very serious condition that can lead to coma or death if it’s not treated. The good news, though, is that it’s preventable and can be treated.

DKA happens more often in people with type 1 diabetes, but can sometimes also happen to those with type 2 diabetes.

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Chronic Constipation Or Chronic Diarrhea

Both constipation and diarrhea can be caused by high blood glucose, acting on different sections of the bowel. When high blood glucose affects the small intestine, the result is often diarrhea when it affects the large intestine, the result is often constipation.

The two intestines have very different jobs, which helps to explain how high blood glucose can affect them differently. The job of the small intestine is to absorb nutrients from digested food, and the job of the large intestine is to absorb water from indigestible waste material.

When neuropathy from elevated blood glucose affects the enteric nerves the guts command and control system in the small intestine, the result can be dysfunctions in motility, leading to delayed emptying into the large intestine. This causes the stagnation of fluids in the small intestine, allowing bacterial overgrowth that causes bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Frequent diarrhea is seen in 22 percent of people with diabetes. Enteric neuropathy, in addition to laying the ground work for bacterial overgrowth, can in itself be a painful chronic condition similar to the foot pain suffered by people with peripheral neuropathy.

In a similar way, nerve damage can slow the movement of waste through the large intestine. Slow-moving waste is essentially dehydrated or dried out too much by the large intestine, resulting in constipation.

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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You Have Bad Breath And Dry Mouth

An unusual smell when you breathe in through your mouth might indicate that something is wrong with the way glucose moves throughout your system. This can cause a buildup in ketone levels within your blood, giving off an unpleasant odor, much like nail polish remover or acetone.

Sometimes people mistake this for regular bad breath, but if it happens frequently and seems to have no other cause, it could be a sign that your insulin balance is out of whack, so make sure to see a doctor as soon as possible if you notice this happening.

Gum disease is also a frequent problem for people with diabetes, so if you notice that your gums are inflamed or swollen, it might be a sign that blood sugar is starting to rise. The dry mouth associated with this problem can lead to the development of cavities and other dental issues, so make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day as well as brushing after meals if necessary.

Urgent Advice: Call Your Care Team Immediately Or Get Help From Nhs 111 If:

14 Signs Showing That Your Blood Sugar Is Very High â Info You Should Know

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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