Keep Your Feet Dry To Reduce The Risk Of Infection
Make sure that drying your feet is part of your hygiene routine. The space between the toes is very airtight, says Tillett. Skin gets moist and breaks down, leading to infection. Prevent this by toweling off thoroughly after washing your feet and by removing wet or sweaty socks or shoes immediately. As mentioned previously, you can still use moisturizer to prevent dry, cracked skin just avoid putting it between your toes.
Nausea Vomiting Confusion And More
These seemingly disparate symptoms are all signs of a rare and life-threatening state called diabetic ketoacidosis , according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. DKA can cause the symptoms above, as well as stomach pain, trouble breathing, dry or flushed skin, fruity-smelling breath, or difficulty paying attention. It usually occurs in people with type 1 diabetes and is sometimes the first sign they are sick, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. DKA happens when the liver is unable to use the sugar in the blood for energy without insulin and begins to break down body fat into a type of fuel called ketones at such a high rate that they become toxic and make the blood acidic, the U.S. National Library of Medicine explains. DKA can be fatal if left untreated, so anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek care immediately.
Over time, untreated high blood sugar can cause additional symptoms, such as:
Quit Smoking To Improve Circulation In Your Feet
The dangers of smoking run from your head to your feet. The chemicals in cigarette smoke damage and constrict your blood vessels, which means that if you smoke, you’re depriving your feet of the nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood that fights infection and keeps them healthy. Diabetic patients already have risk factors that compromise their blood vessels. Its never too late to stop smoking, says Tillett.
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About High Blood Sugar
High glucose levels occur when the body doesn’t have enough insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it has to shuttle glucose from the bloodstream to the bodys muscles, organs, and tissues for fuel, ONeill says. As a result, the amount of sugar in the blood builds up.
Hyperglycemia typically happens when you consume more carbohydrates or bigger portions of food than usual if you don’t take enough insulin or other diabetes medication as prescribed and if you decrease your levels of physical activity, she says. Heightened stress levels can also increase blood sugar levels. Non-diabetes-related medications that are known to raise blood sugar levels include steroids, beta-blockers, birth control pills, and many mental health medications, she explains.
Signs of high blood sugar include frequent urination, fatigue, dry or itchy skin, feeling thirsty, more frequent infections, and eating more food but not gaining as much weight as usual, says Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD, the corporate vice president for the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute in La Jolla, California.
High blood sugar levels can cause these symptoms through various mechanisms, according to the Mayo Clinic. For example, high blood sugar levels damage blood vessels and nerves throughout the body. They can also deprive organs of energy and can cause fluid to accumulate in the eyes. And in an attempt to get your blood sugar to a healthier level, your body will often increase urine output.
What Else Can I Do To Protect My Eyes Heart Nerves Feet And Kidneys From Diabetes
Work with your healthcare team to develop a treatment plan that helps you manage diabetes.
- Get regular exercise.
- Lose weight, if you need to.
- Eat healthy foods and follow your diabetes meal plan.
- Take all your medicines as instructed by your healthcare provider.
- Get regular checkups for your eyes.
- Get regular checkups for your feet. Be sure to wear shoes that fit properly and check your feet every day for injuries, blisters, or redness.
- If you smoke, ask your healthcare provider about a plan to help you quit.
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Why Do I Need To Know My Blood Sugar Numbers
Your blood sugar numbers show how well your diabetes is managed. And managing your diabetes means that you have less chance of having serious health problems, such as kidney disease and vision loss.
As you check your blood sugar, you can see what makes your numbers go up and down. For example, you may see that when you are stressed or eat certain foods, your numbers go up. And, you may see that when you take your medicine and are active, your numbers go down. This information lets you know what is working for you and what needs to change.
You Feel Tiredness And Fatigue Constantly
Fatigue and extreme tiredness are symptoms of uncontrolled blood sugar, the ADA says. Simply put, when your body is not processing insulin properly or it doesnt have sufficient amounts of insulin, the sugar is staying in our blood rather than getting into our cells to be used for energy, Zanini says. Also, frequent urination can lead to dehydration, which Bandukwala identifies as another contributing factor to fatigue.
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You Have Noticeably Blurry Vision And Frequent Headaches
You may notice that your vision isnt as clear as it used to be and that things may appear a bit blurry. High blood sugar levels can lead to swollen lenses in your eye from fluid leaking in, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. This changes the shape of the lens, which makes it unable to properly focus, causing blurred vision. You may also find yourself struggling at work, having difficulty driving, and suffering from frequent headaches, Emanuele notes.
What If It Goes Untreated
Hyperglycemia can be a serious problem if you don’t treat it, so it’s important to treat as soon as you detect it. If you fail to treat hyperglycemia, a condition called ketoacidosis could occur. Ketoacidosis develops when your body doesn’t have enough insulin. Without insulin, your body can’t use glucose for fuel, so your body breaks down fats to use for energy.
When your body breaks down fats, waste products called ketones are produced. Your body cannot tolerate large amounts of ketones and will try to get rid of them through the urine. Unfortunately, the body cannot release all the ketones and they build up in your blood, which can lead to ketoacidosis.
Ketoacidosis is life-threatening and needs immediate treatment. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
Talk to your doctor about how to handle this condition.
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How Do I Prevent Hyperglycemia
- Exercise to help lower blood sugar. Work with your healthcare provider to make a daily activity plan.
- Follow your meal plan if you have one. Learn how carbohydrates impact your blood sugar, and work with your diabetes care team to find the best meal plan for you.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Dont smoke.
- Limit drinking alcohol. Alcohol can raise blood sugar levels, but can also cause dangerously low blood sugar levels. Work with your provider to determine how much is safe to drink.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/11/2020.
Can High Levels And Dka Be Prevented
These two problems don’t sound like much fun, so you’re probably wondering how to prevent them. The solution is to keep your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible, which means following your diabetes management plan. Checking your blood sugar levels several times a day will let you and your parents know when your blood sugar level is high. Then you can treat it and help prevent DKA from happening.
What else can you do? Wear a medical identification bracelet that says you have diabetes. Then, if you are not feeling well, whoever’s helping you even if the person doesn’t know you will know to call for medical help. And the doctors will be able to get you better more quickly if they know you have diabetes. These bracelets also can include your doctor’s phone number or a parent’s phone number. The quicker you get the help you need, the sooner you’ll be feeling better!
Support Groups And Counseling For High Blood Sugar
You or family members may wish to join a support group with other people to share your experiences. The American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation are both excellent resources. Your health care provider will have information about local groups in your area. The following groups also provide support:
American Association of Diabetes Educators100 W Monroe, Suite 400Chicago, IL 60603
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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How To Test For Ketones
You can use a urine test strip or blood ketone meter and ketone test strip to test for ketones at home. Testing either urine or blood is important, but when possible, a blood test is preferred because it gives you and your care team more precise information about your ketone levels. Because urine may have been in the bladder for some time, the results from these tests may show levels that are either higher or lower than the ketone levels that are actually circulating in your body. It is also very important to know that urine test trips degrade over time, so if you are using this method, you need to look at expiration dates carefully.
Your diabetes care team can give you specific directions about when you should check for ketones, but in general, you should check for them when your blood glucose is 240 mg/dL or higher. You should also check for ketones if you notice any of the DKA symptoms listed above or if you are sick it is possible to have ketones while your blood glucose levels are within range .
At-home urine test strips will change color to show the level of ketones in the urine. They typically report results as negative, trace, small, moderate or large. Blood ketone meters will provide a number that indicates the ketone levels. The following ranges are generally used:
Diabetes Medications That Work With The Pancreas
Most people who have type 2 diabetes need to take prescription medications, some of which act specifically on the pancreas to lower A1C.
Sulfonylureas and Meglitinides
How they work: Lower blood sugar by encouraging the pancreas to produce more insulin
How they work: Block the enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase 4, which increases the amount of GLP1 in the body
GLP-1 Receptor Agonists
How they work: Mimic the effects of the hormone GLP-1, which triggers your pancreas to produce more insulin after you eat and decreases glucagon. These drugs also help you feel full after a meal and slow the rate at which the stomach empties, which may help you lose weight
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What Are The Warning Signs Of Diabetes
Untreated diabetes tends to cause worsening symptoms over time as chronically high blood sugar levels cause more damage to your tissues and organs. You may not recognize these warning signs in the beginning if theyre mild.
Its important that you visit your doctor if you notice any potential warning signs of diabetes. If left untreated, diabetes can severely damage the tissues and organs in your body.
Earlier Signs And Symptoms Of Diabetes
- Frequent urination, especially waking up frequently in the night to go having to go to the washroom a lot is a common sign
- Increased thirst you may find you are drinking more than usual
- Increased hunger you may need to snack between meals more than in the past
- Feeling tired, even after a good nights sleep you may find you need to take a nap or feel like you have no energy
- Blurred vision that changes from day to day increased blood sugar levels can cause your vision to change
- Having cuts and wounds that are slow to heal this may be a result of poor circulation or nerve damage caused by high blood sugar
- Tingling, numbness or pain in your hands and feet increased blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage
- Skin changes, such as sudden dark spots around the nape of your neck or under your armpits
- Getting frequent urinary tract, yeast or vaginal infections people with diabetes are more susceptible to these infections
- Losing or gaining weight without trying to weight loss is usually seen more with type 1 diabetes
- Feeling itchy all the time, due to yeast infections, dry skin or poor circulation.
You can find more information about type 2 diabetes symptoms here.
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You Say Sugar I Say Glucose
Is sugar in a doughnut the same as blood sugar? Lets clear up the confusion: Sugar can have many different names, with different meanings.
When doctors and scientists talk about sugar in the blood, they often use the word glucose. Glucose is a simple carbohydrate, also known as a monosaccharide . This can also be called blood sugar.
Unlike sucrose or fructose , you wont be able to find glucose in the grocery store.
How Is Diabetes Treated
Diabetes can be treated in several ways. Diet, physical activity, and careful monitoring are important if you have diabetes, no matter which type of diabetes you have.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to take insulin for the rest of your life. Thats because your pancreas doesnt produce the insulin your body needs.
If you have type 2 diabetes, it may be possible to control your diabetes with lifestyle changes, such as diet, weight loss, and exercise. You may also need to take oral or injectable medications, including insulin or metformin, to manage your blood sugar levels.
If you have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, youll need to carefully track your diet to prevent your blood sugar levels from getting too high. This generally means watching your carbohydrate intake as well as limiting over-processed, low fiber foods, such as:
- sugary sodas
- fruit-flavored yogurt
- flavored coffee drinks
Your doctor will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan to help you control your blood sugar levels.
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What Causes High Blood Sugar Levels
Contrary to popular belief, type 2 diabetes which affects more than 29 million Americans isnt caused by an overload of sugar. In fact, there are many different factors that can increase a persons risk for the disease, including genetics, body weight, fat distribution, physical activity levels, and race.
However, it is true that people with diabetes may have to limit their sugar intake. Thats because type 2 diabetes is characterized by an inability to properly use insulin, a hormone that helps usher sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cells, where its used as energy. Eventually, the body is unable to produce enough insulin to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
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.
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How Does Diabetes Affect Your Feet And Legs
If you’re managing diabetes, you may encounter problems with your feet and legs, two common complications of the disease. Diabetes puts you at higher risk for calluses, corns, bunions, blisters, and ulcers and high blood sugar means these minor injuries and alterations may become gateways to potentially disabling infections.
But you can take several steps to help keep your feet in good shape, including wearing specialized footwear, having regular foot exams, and performing low-impact exercise.
Why does this complication occur in the first place? First, know that high blood sugar levels damage nerves. Researchers arent exactly sure how this damage happens, but they think that blood sugar may have a negative effect on the nervous systems cells and enzymes, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center. These damaged nerves may lead to diabetic neuropathy, a condition in which you lose feeling in your feet or your hands.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, neuropathy occurs in about 70 percent of people with diabetes, and its symptoms can result in harmful infections. After all, if you can’t feel your feet, you won’t be able to notice cuts, sores, or pain. And if you cant feel these irritations and wounds, they may lead to infection, and untreated infections can lead to gangrene, which in turn can require amputation.
Additional reporting by Carlene Bauer