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Can You Die From High Blood Sugar

Blood Sugar At : What To Do

10 Alarming Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Too High

When your blood sugar is at 400 mg/dL you need to stay calm!

Your first step is to wash your hands and use your blood glucose monitor to re-check and verify the result.

If your second reading is still high, call your doctor for further instructions.

Beyond that, there are other steps you can take to help your situation, and your doctor may recommend these too.

Faq: How Low Can Blood Sugar Go Before Death

If your blood sugar drops below 70 milligrams per deciliter , you may have symptoms, such as feeling tired, weak, or shaky. If your blood sugar drops very low and you do not get help, you could become confused or drowsy or even lose consciousness and possibly die.

How low can blood sugar go before you die?

  • Doctors say that a blood sugar level below 50 is fatal. Levels below 60, even in a healthy person, are potentially fatal, especially if the blood sugar drops quickly.

What To Do If You Get Sick

If you start feeling sick, stay home. Check your blood sugar more often than usual. COVID-19 can reduce your appetite and cause you to eat less, which could affect your levels. You also need more fluids than usual when you’re sick. Keep water close by, and drink it often.

Some over-the-counter medicines that relieve virus symptoms like fever or cough can affect your blood sugar levels. High doses of aspirin or ibuprofen can lower blood sugar levels. Acetaminophen can cause falsely high readings on a continuous glucose monitor. Many liquid cough and cold medicines are high in sugar, which can raise your blood sugar levels. Before you take them, check with your doctor or diabetes team. Tell your doctor if you’ve taken them and your blood sugars are out of control.

Call your doctor if you get coronavirus-like symptoms such as a dry cough, fever, or shortness of breath. Have your most recent blood sugar and ketone readings available to share with your doctor.

Get medical help right away if you have:

  • Moderate or large ketones

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Can You Die From High Blood Sugar

Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.

Sexual Function And Diabetes

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Reduced blood supply and nerve damage can affect sexual function. Erectile dysfunction in men is the persistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. This is a common problem for men of all ages and is more common in men with diabetes. Erectile dysfunction is not a disease, but a symptom of some other problem physical, psychological or a mixture of both. Most cases of erectile dysfunction are physical, such as nerve or blood vessel damage. In women, sexual dysfunction is also reported, although there is a lack of research in this area. It is difficult to know whether this is directly related to hormonal changes such as menopause, or to diabetes.It is important to seek help from your doctor, diabetes educator or organisations such as Healthy Male Andrology Australia.

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Learn To Manage Stress

Managing diabetes is not always easy. Feeling stressed, sad, lonely, or angry is common when you are living with diabetes. You may know what to do to stay healthy but may have trouble sticking with your plan over time. Long-term stress can raise your blood glucose and blood pressure, but you can learn ways to lower your stress. Try deep breathing, gardening, taking a walk, doing yoga, talking with a loved one, working on a hobby, or listening to your favorite music. Learn more about healthy ways to cope with stress.

Risks With High Blood Sugar Levels

The most immediate issue with high blood sugar is the concern for diabetic ketoacidosis Although more commonly associated with type 1 diabetes, this can still occur in type 2 diabetics, and it is life threatening.

You need to contact your doctor any time a blood sugar reading above 400 mg/dL is observed, unless given other instructions by your healthcare team. DKA usually requires treatment in the hospital, so its best to be on the safe side.

Other problems associated with high blood sugar are complications such as:

  • blood vessel damage
  • kidney damage
  • eye damage

Over time, chronically high blood sugar can damage blood vessels, which is how these complications arise. And they can be very serious so please dont take it lightly!

Blood that contains high amounts of sugar is more gummy compared to normal blood, this can create a sticky mess inside your vascular system. In fact, people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease compared to age matched subjects.

Neuropathy, or nerve damage, is another painful side effect of chronically high blood sugars.

Symptoms include:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Burning

Prevention is better than cure! Because once diagnosed, nerve damage isnt fully reversible. Lowering your blood sugar and A1c can help slow the progression of the damage. And of course, keeping your blood sugars in a healthy range can prevent nasty consequences!

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More Serious Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

The milder symptoms may pass people by, and they may not notice them or they may not experience them at all. However, there are several symptoms that indicate your type 2 diabetes has progressed and could pose an acute health threat 2. These symptoms include being slow to heal, especially in your extremities changes in the skin, where it takes on a darkened and thickened appearance in the armpits, groin and even the neck and itchiness of the skin. Sufferers can have frequent yeast infections and become impotent. Vision can become impaired and you may notice numbness in your hands or feet. Lastly, weight gain, specifically, a look of bloating, is common in serious cases of type 2 diabetes 2.

How Diabetes Can Cause Tremors

How to Lower High Blood Sugars

Besides all of these symptoms, diabetes can also cause life-threatening symptoms like seizures and comas, it can even cause brain damage 2. Along with these, another danger is the onset of tremors. Sufferers experience shakiness because their blood-sugar level is way too low, typically when it drops below 40 mg/dl. But how low is too low varies from person to person, and the tremors start because the brain doesn’t have enough sugar to control your body.

  • Besides all of these symptoms, diabetes can also cause life-threatening symptoms like seizures and comas, it can even cause brain damage 2.
  • But how low is too low varies from person to person, and the tremors start because the brain doesn’t have enough sugar to control your body.

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Just How Dangerous Is A Blood Sugar Reading In The 500s


Blood sugar in the 500s is dangerous, especially if it stays there for any significant period of time , says Stacy Mitchell Doyle, MD, resident physician of FoodTherapyMD and long-time advocate of plant-based nutritional protocols.

Dr. Doyle continues, If blood sugar remains this high, the body can develop a condition called ketoacidosis, which can result in organ failure.

Severe dehydration is also a complication of blood sugar in the 500 range. Your body tries to eliminate the sugar by urinating it out.

That is why one of the symptoms of hyperglycemia is frequent urination and increased thirst.

With all the urination, in the bodys attempt to rid the excess sugar, the body is left dehydrated, making the sufferer thirsty.

This dehydration damages the kidneys and other organs, says Dr. Doyle. The kidneys are working so extra hard to rid the sugar, that they become stressed and damaged.

Acute kidney failure may result. Theres nothing wrong with the kidneys structurally, but they just become so exhausted that they begin shutting down unless the blood sugar is promptly brought back to a normal level.

Renal injury may also result from the excess sugar in the renal arteries that feed the kidneys blood.

Even blood sugar in the 400, 300 and 200 range is dangerous, continues Dr. Doyle. All levels of hyperglycemia destroy the heart and vessels in the body, making you prone to heart attacks and strokes.

But the destruction is just the same ultimately.

Why Does Honk Usually Happen In Type 2 Diabetics

Unlike type 1 diabetics, type 2 diabetics still make insulin. Type 2 diabetics have high insulin resistance. It means that they need a lot of insulin to lower blood sugar just a little bit.

Blood sugars in type 1 diabetics rarely go as high as 600mg/dl. Blood sugars in type 1 diabetics go up because they dont have insulin. Without insulin, the body cant use sugars, and it starts making special acids called ketones. Too many ketones in the blood can cause severe acidosis, and leads to symptoms of diabetic acidosis, or DKA. Although some people lump DKA and HONK together as diabetic comas, they have very important differences. DKA is not truly a diabetic coma from high blood sugars. Blood sugars in DKA are rarely high enough to cause a coma. DKA can make you very sick, but the symptoms, risk factors, and treatments have very important differences. Do not mix up DKA and HONK.

Type 2 diabetics usually have enough insulin to prevent ketones but not enough insulin to bring blood sugars down effectively. They need too much insulin to do that because of the insulin resistance. That is why type 2 diabetics are more likely to have HONK, and type 1 diabetics are more likely to have DKA.

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What Are The Risks Of Hyperglycemia

Hyperglycemia can be a sign that your body isnt getting enough insulin. It is normal for patients with T1D to get hyperglycemia, and most of the time this is simply treated with insulin. If the body does not have insulin for approximately 8 hours, you could develop a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA.

In DKA, your body breaks down fat for energy because it doesnt have enough insulin to use the sugar in your blood. This produces chemicals called ketones, which make your blood more acidic.

DKA is dangerous. Too much acid in your blood can make you pass out or even cause death.

How Type 2 Diabetes Affects Life Expectancy

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Diabetes and lifespan

Type 2 diabetes typically shows up later in life, although the incidence in younger people is increasing. The disease, which is characterized by high blood glucose , or hyperglycemia, usually results from a combination of unhealthy lifestyle habits, obesity, and genes. Over time, untreated hyperglycemia can lead to serious, life-threatening complications. Type 2 diabetes also puts you at risk for certain health conditions that can reduce your life expectancy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , diabetes is the 7th most common cause of death in the United States. However, there is no defining statistic to tell you how long youll live with type 2 diabetes. The better you have your diabetes under control, the lower your risk for developing associated conditions that may shorten your lifespan.

The top cause of death for people with type 2 diabetes is cardiovascular disease. This is due to the fact that high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels, and also because people with type 2 diabetes often have high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and other factors that increase the risk of heart disease.

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Understanding Type 2 Diabetes

Symptoms, treatment, and complications from type 2 diabetes may vary from person to person. The following information will help you learn more about this disease and provide you with helpful tools, assessments and resources.

  • If left untreated or improperly managed, diabetes can lead to a variety of life-threatening complications.

Diabetes And Healthy Eating

If you have diabetes its important to include a wide variety of nutritious and healthy foods in your diet, and to avoid snacking on sugary foods.

Enjoy a variety of foods from each food group be sure to include foods high in fibre and low in fat and reduce your salt intake. Its helpful to consult with a dietitian to review your current eating plan and provide a guide about food choices and food quantities.

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Preventing High Blood Sugars

Everyone with diabetes experiences high blood sugars sometimes there are simply too many variables in the human body out of your control to prevent them altogether.

That being said, there are a few guidelines we can all follow to minimize the frequency of high blood sugars:

  • Avoid full-sugar beverages including soda, juice, coffee drinks, iced tea, etc.
  • Choose your carbohydrates carefully starchy carbs from pasta, candy, bread, desserts, etc. will spike your blood sugar the most
  • Take your medications as prescribed and contact your healthcare team if you miss a dose to determine if you can take it late
  • Exercise daily even a 20-minute walk makes a big difference on a daily basis
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration

And of course, if youre experiencing high blood sugars are a daily basis and youre unsure of the cause, talk to your healthcare team about making adjustments in your diabetes management regimen. A slight increase in your medications can have a big impact!

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Type 3 diabetes is a term that has been proposed to describe the connection between Alzheimers and diabetes. A variant of a gene, APOE4, that has been associated with Alzheimers disease seems to interfere with brain cells ability to use insulin, which may eventually cause the cells to starve and die.

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What Is Heart Disease

Heart disease includes several kinds of problems that affect your heart. The term cardiovascular disease is similar but includes all types of heart disease, stroke, and blood vessel disease. The most common type is coronary artery disease, which affects blood flow to the heart.

Coronary artery disease is caused by the buildup of plaque in the walls of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply oxygen and blood to the heart. Plaque is made of cholesterol deposits, which make the inside of arteries narrow and decrease blood flow. This process is called atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Decreased blood flow to the heart can cause a heart attack. Decreased blood flow to the brain can cause a stroke.

Hardening of the arteries can happen in other parts of the body too. In the legs and feet, its called peripheral arterial disease, or PAD. PAD is often the first sign that a person with diabetes has cardiovascular disease.

Who Is At Risk Of Honk

These are the people vulnerable to getting a diabetic coma from high blood sugars:

  • Elderly diabetics living alone: In the United States, this is the group of people that are at the highest risk of going into a diabetic coma. Frequently, they fall down and cant get up, or get too weak to get out of bed. When that happens, they may not have access to drinking water. As their blood sugars start to go up without access to water, they start to go into the spiral of events leading to a diabetic coma.
  • People with a bad infection or sepsis: Sepsis is an overwhelming response of the body to an infection. Read low blood pressure and fever: think sepsis if you would like to learn more about sepsis. Sepsis causes your blood sugars to go up and makes you dehydrated. With dehydration and high sugars, sepsis can easily push you towards HONK.
  • Diabetics who have recently had a major heart attack, major stroke, or a blood clot in the lungs: These are all very stressful on the body. When under stress, the body releases steroid hormones. These steroids raise blood sugars significantly, and push people towards a diabetic coma.
  • Alcoholics or drug abusers: These people may not feel the thirst associated with high blood sugars, and may let themselves become dehydrated enough to spiral into HONK.
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    How High Can Blood Sugar Get Before It Reaches A Dangerous Level That Would Require Immediate Attention

    Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

    Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

    HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.

    What Are The Warning Signs Of Heart Attack And Stroke

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    • pain or pressure in your chest that lasts longer than a few minutes or goes away and comes back
    • pain or discomfort in one or both of your arms or shoulders, or your back, neck, or jaw
    • shortness of breath
    • indigestion or nausea
    • feeling very tired

    Treatment works best when it is given right away. Warning signs can be different in different people. You may not have all the listed symptoms.

    Women may experience chest pain, nausea, and vomiting feel very tired and have pain that spreads to the back, neck, throat, arms, shoulders, or jaw. People with diabetes-related nerve damage may not notice any chest pain.

    If you have angina, its important to know how and when to seek medical treatment.

    • weakness or numbness of your face, arm, or leg on one side of your body
    • confusion, or trouble talking or understanding
    • dizziness, loss of balance, or trouble walking
    • trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
    • sudden, severe headache

    If you have any one of these warning signs, call 9-1-1. You can help prevent permanent damage by getting to a hospital within an hour of a stroke.

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