The focus of most articles about diabetes is warning about hypoglycemia, low blood sugar. No doubt that is important. However, knowing how to tell if your blood sugar is too high is as important. In some ways, even more so.
Excessive levels of glucose in the bloodstream cause the medical condition known as hyperglycemia or high blood sugar levels. This condition causes symptoms even in its early stages, and recognizing them is the key to preventing complications.
- If you’re having stomach issues often, constantly feel hungry, and gain weight even though you have limited your calorie intake, you may be experiencing some of the early symptoms of hyperglycemia.
Note that even healthy people experience blood sugar levels spikes after eating candy, cakes, or drinking sodas. But, if these levels remain high for longer periods of time, they may lead to a diagnosis of diabetes or other serious health issues.
Learning how to tell if your blood sugar is too high can prevent severe complications, help you stabilize your levels and keep them under control.
Hyperglycemia may be the result of, and should encourage you to take a look at some of the following:
- Your stress level (see link to article at the bottom of the page)
- Poor diet
- Lack of regular exercise
- The use of certain medications
- A number of other health conditions
High blood sugar does not mean that you have diabetes, but it is a symptom of diabetes.
- Hyperglycemia doesn’t cause symptoms until glucose values are significantly elevated — above 200.
- The symptoms develop slowly over several days or weeks.
- The longer blood sugar levels stay high, the more serious the symptoms become.
It’s important to note, however, that some people who’ve had Type 2 diabetes for a long time may not show any symptoms despite elevated blood sugars.
The Early Signs and Symptoms include:
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst/dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- A headache
The Most Common Indicators of high blood sugar also include:
- Constant hunger
- Stomach problems
- Slow healing of cuts and wounds
- Recurrent infections
- Dry, itchy skin
- Daily fatigue or extreme tiredness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Excess abdominal fat/weight gain
- Nerve problems (Neuropathy)
- Frequent urination and/or urination during the night
- Erectile Dysfunction, Impotence
Later signs and symptoms
If hyperglycemia remains untreated, it can cause toxic acids (ketones) to build up in your blood and urine (ketoacidosis).
- Excess ketones accumulate in the blood and eventually “spill over” into the urine.
Left untreated, diabetic ketoacidosis can lead to a diabetic coma and be life-threatening.
- Fruity-smelling breath
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Dry mouth
- Abdominal pain
Complications of untreated hyperglycemia include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Nerve damage (neuropathy)
- Kidney damage (diabetic nephropathy) or kidney failure
- Damage to the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness
- Clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye (cataract)
- Foot problems caused by damaged nerves or poor blood flow that can lead to serious infections, and in some severe cases, amputation
- Bone and joint problems
- Skin problems, including bacterial infections, fungal infections, and non-healing wounds
- Teeth and gum infections
The Best Tool for any diabetic is the Glycemic Index.
In plain English, it ranks the foods on a scale (from 1 to 100) based on the effects they have on the blood-sugar levels.
The Glycemic Index evaluates foods according to the extent they raise blood sugar levels after being consumed. (See the link at the bottom of the page for detailed information).
- Foods high on the Glycemic Index are quickly digested, and low-Glycemic Index foods are digested slowly.
- The foods that are low on the glycemic scale offer multiple health benefits and reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance, thus preventing elevated sugar levels in the blood.
Stay alert to the signals your body sends you.
- You’re sick and can’t keep any food or fluids down
- Your blood glucose levels are persistently above 240 mg/dL (13 mmol/L) and you have ketones in your urine
Make an appointment with your doctor if:
➡ You have ongoing diarrhea or vomiting, but you’re able to take some foods or drinks
➡ You have a fever that lasts more than 24 hours
➡ Your blood glucose is more than 240, even though you’ve taken your diabetes medication
➡ You have trouble keeping your blood glucose within the desired range
Stay informed, and, as always, feel free to send me any questions by using the Get In Touch Link on the top menu bar.
- How Stress Affects Your Blood Sugar
- Diabetic Retinopathy-Protecting Yourself From Vision Loss
- Hearing Loss-Do You Need Another Reason To Manage Your Diabetes?
Kidney Disease In Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes: