What Are The Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar
Some common symptoms of hyperglycemia may include:
Urinating more often than usual: Normally your body reabsorbs sugar as it passes through your kidneys. When the kidneys cant keep up, the excess is forced to come out through the urine.
Excessive thirst: The more you urinate, the more dehydrated you become, causing you to drink more.
Fatigue: High blood sugar affects the bodys ability to get sugar from the blood into the cells for energy, which can cause extreme tiredness.
Blurred vision: When there is excess sugar in the blood, it causes the lens of the eye to swell, which affects your ability to see.
Headaches: Dehydration caused by urinating more often may trigger headaches too. Its a vicious cycle.
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:
- 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.
What Is A Normal Blood Sugar Level In Type 1 Diabetes
The answer to the question what is a normal blood sugar level is as follows:
Fasting normal blood sugarNormal for person without diabetes: 7099 mg/dl Official ADA recommendation for someone with diabetes: 80130 mg/dl
Normal blood sugar 2 hours after mealsNormal for person without diabetes: Less than 140 mg/dl Official ADA recommendation for someone with diabetes: Less than 180 mg/dl
HbA1cNormal for person without diabetes: Less than 5.7%Official ADA recommendation for someone with diabetes: Less than 7.0%
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What Else Can I Do To Help Manage My Blood Sugar Levels
- Keep track of your blood sugar levels to see what makes them go up or down.
- Eat at regular times, and dont skip meals.
- Choose foods lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
- Track your food, drink, and physical activity.
- Drink water instead of juice or soda.
- Limit alcoholic drinks.
- For a sweet treat, choose fruit.
- Control your food portions .
What Is Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. As a result, the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Type 1 diabetes is also characterized by the presence of certain autoantibodies against insulin or other components of the insulin-producing system such as glutamic acid decarboxylase , tyrosine phosphatase, and/or islet cells.
When the body does not have enough insulin to use the glucose that is in the bloodstream for fuel, it begins breaking down fat reserves for energy. However, the breakdown of fat creates acidic by-products called ketones, which accumulate in the blood. If enough ketones accumulate in the blood, they can cause a potentially life-threatening chemical imbalance known as ketoacidosis.
Type 1 diabetes often develops in children, although it can occur at any age. Symptoms include unusual thirst, a need to urinate frequently, unexplained weight loss, blurry vision, and a feeling of being tired constantly. Such symptoms tend to be acute.
Diabetes is diagnosed in one of three ways a fasting plasma glucose test, an oral glucose tolerance test, or a random plasma glucose test all of which involve drawing blood to measure the amount of glucose in it.
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Whats The Difference Between Hyperglycemia And Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar. Hyperglycemia, on the other hand, occurs when blood sugar levels are too high.
Hyperglycemia happens when you dont have enough insulin to handle the sugar. This can be because you:
- took too little insulin
- ate more than you planned
- exercised less than you thought you would
- are already feeling sick or stressed
Symptoms of hyperglycemia include thirst and frequent urination.
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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What Is Considered High Blood Sugar
Blood sugar levels are considered high in people with diabetes once theyre more than the recommended 120 mg/dL, however, having a blood sugar of 145 mg/dL usually wont cause any problems .
For most people, high blood sugars become symptomatic once the blood sugar level reaches between 180-200 mg/dL.
Blood sugars above 200 mg/dL need to be treated immediately with insulin , and any blood sugar over 250 mg/dL requires that you do a urine test for ketones, to make sure youre not spiraling into diabetic ketoacidosis .
This is when the bodys blood turns acidic due to prolonged, dangerously high blood sugar levels and ketones in the blood. This can be fatal if not treated immediately.
This can occur when one is sick or battling an infection, due to a pump infusion site failure or even if you forgot to take your insulin for a few days.
Unfortunately, about 25% of newly diagnosed people with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed when they are already in DKA.
If you are experiencing a blood sugar higher than 250 mg/dL along with moderate to high ketones for several hours and cannot get your blood sugar down, contact your doctor immediately and seek emergency medical attention.
People with diabetes are at heightened risk of falling into a diabetic coma from high blood sugar once their blood sugar levels reach 600 mg/dL or higher.
This is a true medical emergency, is extremely dangerous, and can be life-threatening. If you are in this situation, you should call 911.
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How Does My Diet Affect Diabetes
A healthy diet is an important part of managing Type 1 diabetes. The right foods can help keep your blood pressure and blood glucose in check. Healthy meal planning for people without Type 1 diabetes is similar to healthy meal planning for people with Type 1 diabetes:
- Avoid foods with added sugar, sodium and trans fats.
- Eat a balance of proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats.
- Read nutrition labels to select foods with more fiber and less sugar.
- Skip the highly processed foods found in cans or packages.
In addition, it’s important for people with Type 1 diabetes to understand how foods with carbohydrates impact their blood sugar levels and how much insulin to take for various amounts of carbs. Work with your healthcare team to figure out the best plan for you.
Recommended Target Blood Glucose Level Ranges
The NICE recommended target blood glucose levels are stated below for adults with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and children with type 1 diabetes.
In addition, the International Diabetes Federations target ranges for people without diabetes is stated.
The table provides general guidance. An individual target set by your healthcare team is the one you should aim for.
*The non-diabetic figures are provided for information but are not part of NICE guidelines.
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Risk Factors For High Blood Sugar
Doctors do not know exactly what causes diabetes. Some factors may increase the risk, however.
Type 1 diabetes
Researchers believe certain genetic or environmental factors may make people more likely to get type 1 diabetes.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases say certain genes play a role, and other factors such as viruses and infections may have an impact.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation say that there is nothing a person can do to prevent type 1 diabetes. Eating, exercise, or other lifestyle choices will not change the outcome.
Type 1 diabetes usually begins during childhood or early adulthood, but it can happen at any age.
Type 2 diabetes
People who have high blood sugar should discuss their target levels with their doctor.
They may need regular testing to keep these within a healthy range. Each person is different and levels can vary between individuals.
To find out their blood sugar levels, the person may need to fast for 8 hours, 2 hours after a meal, or at both times.
Some people may also take a glucose tolerance test, in which they drink a sugary liquid and have a blood test after.
The American Diabetes Association recommend a pre-meal blood sugar level of 80130 milligrams per deciliter . Around 1 to 2 hours after the beginning of a meal, blood sugar should be less than 180 ml/dL.
What Causes High Blood Sugar
There are many causes of blood sugar to spike, some of which include:
- Not taking enough insulin for the carbohydrates you eat
- Eating more than you planned
- Being inactive or exercising less than you usually do
- Drinking alcohol
- Emotional stress
- Skipping your insulin or oral glucose-lowering medications
- Other problems with insulin or insulin administration
Have you ever wondered why you sometimes have high blood sugars in the morning for no apparent reason? You might be suffering from something called the dawn phenomenon. Find out more about it and why it happens here.
What Is Considered A High Blood Sugar Level
If you just received a diabetes diagnosis, you may be wondering what blood sugar levels mean and how you should be creating goals based off of your blood glucose tracking. One of the most important things for you to know is what blood sugar levels are and when theyre considered to be high. Learning what steps to take if you find your levels are too high will help you stay safe.
Because diabetes is such an individual condition, the best first step is to consult your doctor about what is a healthy range for your blood sugar. Once youve gotten advice from your medical expert, you can begin to modify your lifestyle and continue to do additional research to improve your health and benefit your diabetes management journey. Before researching online, its important to remember that blood sugar levels are an individual, personal reaction to many factors, and can vary while still being within an acceptable range. Generalized numbers are often not a 100% accurate measure of personal health and there may be other factors that are affecting your blood sugar, resulting in confusing numbers when you check.
Make sure that you carefully follow the instructions your doctor has created for you. Diabetes can have negative effects if not managed properly. By understanding healthy blood sugar ranges, you can take steps to reduce or avoid added diabetes complications, and better understand what changes in blood sugar may be reflecting about your bodys health.
Preventing Low Blood Sugar
Monitor your blood sugar regularly
Monitoring on a regular basis will help you identify patterns where you may have lower blood glucose levels. If you feel any symptoms of hypoglycemia, test your blood sugar level right away. If you cannot test your blood sugar, start treatment to help prevent worsening of symptoms.
Fast acting carbohydrates
Carry glucose tablets or another form of fast-acting carbohydrate with you at all times.
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How Do You Treat High Blood Sugar
There are several ways to get your blood sugars levels back on track:
- Taking insulin will help to lower high blood sugar, but dont overdo it. Taking too much insulin can lead to low blood sugar which can also be dangerous. For more information about managing hypoglycemia click here.
- Moderate exercise such as walking is another way to lower blood sugar. But dont make it too intense as this can lead to a stress response and increase blood sugar in the short term. Do not exercise if you have ketones .
- Drinking water helps your body flush out the excess sugar from your blood and keep you hydrated.
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 .
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Is Hyperglycaemia Serious
The aim of diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar levels as near to normal as possible. But if you have diabetes, no matter how careful you are, you’re likely to experience hyperglycaemia at some point.
It’s important to be able to recognise and treat hyperglycaemia, as it can lead to serious health problems if left untreated.
Occasional mild episodes aren’t usually a cause for concern and can be treated quite easily or may return to normal on their own. However, hyperglycaemia can be potentially dangerous if blood sugar levels become very high or stay high for long periods.
Very high blood sugar levels can cause life-threatening complications, such as:
- diabetic ketoacidosis a condition caused by the body needing to break down fat as a source of energy, which can lead to a diabetic coma this tends to affect people with type 1 diabetes
- hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state severe dehydration caused by the body trying to get rid of excess sugar this tends to affect people with type 2 diabetes
Regularly having high blood sugar levels for long periods of time can result in permanent damage to parts of the body such as the eyes, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels.
If you experience hyperglycaemia regularly, speak to your doctor or diabetes care team. You may need to change your treatment or lifestyle to keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range.