Signs That Blood Sugar Levels Are High
People with high blood sugar may:
- pee a lot. When blood sugar levels get too high, the kidneys flush out the extra glucose into your urine , which is why people who have high blood sugar levels need to pee more often and in larger amounts.
- drink a lot. Because you’re losing so much fluid from peeing so much, you can get very thirsty.
- lose weight. If there isn’t enough insulin to help the body use glucose, the body starts to break down your muscle and fat for energy and you lose weight.
- feel tired. Because the body can’t use glucose for energy properly, you may feel really tired.
High blood sugar levels don’t always cause these symptoms. Sometimes you can have high blood sugar levels without even knowing it. But if left untreated, they can cause serious health problems. That’s why it’s important to work with your parents and diabetes team to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. This can mean checking your blood sugar levels a few times a day, even when you feel fine.
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.
Hyperglycemia Symptom #: Urination
With the drinking comes the peeing. Not just because of the extra fluids, but because my body is intentionally flushing itself out. The word diabetes comes from the Greek for siphon, and thats exactly what I become when I have hyperglycemia. Im a mere vessel for fluids to run through. Much like the urge to drink, the need to urinate is not really resolved by the act of peeing itself. If youve ever had a urinary tract infection before, you will likely understand how uncomfortable this feeling is.
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Hyperglycemia Symptom #: Brain Fog
The final symptom of hyperglycemia that I regularly experience is brain fog. It should be no surprise that an exhausted person consumed by the urge to drink and pee isnt at their best mentally. But hyperglycemic brain fog is more than just distraction. Its a fuzz around the edges of everything I see and hear. Its a dulling of all that should be sharp, both inside and outside of my mind. It sometimes presents as intense apathy. I dont care very much about anything in this stateexcept perhaps nappingand I dont care that I dont care.
I said before that hyperglycemia turns me into a sleepy pee monster, but it would be more accurate to say that it turns me into a sleepy pee zombie.
Symptoms Youre Feeling On The Outside
Youre constantly drinking water and running to the bathroom. You know your blood sugar is high, and you shouldnt eat, but youre starving. Your mouth is dry, your skin is dry, and your body feels bloated and full. There you go with the fatigue, and the foggy-brained feeling.
You want to drag back to bed, but life wont let you. You get a hot feeling, and sometimes a headache. You get nausea, sometimes vomiting, and weight loss. When you get ketones in your urine, you may have the fruity breath, shortness of breath, and a feeling of your heart racing away with you. This signifies that your body may be going into Ketoacidosis. Thats why its important to contact your doctor if you have 2 or more blood sugars over 240 mg/dl.
When blood sugars are 150-200 mg/dl, you may feel one way. Then when they get much over 200 mg/dl, you may begin to feel other symptoms. Some people dont feel much before they hit about 250 mg/dl. Others still are unable to tell until they reach ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar syndrome. Then you are at risk for dehydration and coma, or even death.
Knowing your own symptoms is what is important, and checking your blood sugars often if youve been having high blood sugars. Again, dont wait too long to call your doctor and drink plenty of non-caloric fluids such as water.
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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
The following risk factors may make developing type 2 diabetes more likely:
- having certain genes
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.
Signs Of High Blood Sugar
Someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes will be familiar with how it feels to have hyperglycemia. But for the millions of people who have diabetes or prediabetes and are unaware of it, knowing the signs of high blood sugar could prompt them to seek care and get a diagnosis as soon as possible.
While type 1 diabetes symptoms can come on suddenly and severely, its important to note that type 2 diabetes symptoms can creep up gradually and be so mild that theyre not noticeable, the NIDDK explains. And most people with prediabetes actually have no symptoms, per the NIDDK. So its extremely important to get screened if you have risk factors, like having a family history, being overweight, or being over age 45, the NIDDK says.
Still, there are many potential signs of high blood sugar in the short and long term that it doesnt hurt to be conscious of, especially if you are at elevated risk.
Early on, hyperglycemia can make you feel off in a variety of ways:
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The Types Of High Blood Sugar
Diabetes mellitus usually falls into one of either classification: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes share similar symptoms, although the first classification is the result of decreased insulin from a loss of beta cells, likely from an autoimmune response. Gestational diabetes, on the other hand, occurs among pregnant women with no past history of high blood sugar.
What It Feels Like When You Have High Blood Sugar
What are the symptoms associated with hyperglycemia and how to know if your blood sugar levels are too high?
If a person has abnormal levels of blood sugar, measuring more than 11.1 mmol/l , it is likely they will exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
In rare cases, higher than normal blood sugar levels may lead to:
- Cardiac arrhythmia
A severe complication of high blood sugar is diabetic ketoacidosis, caused by a lack of insulin, often triggered by improper insulin administration, infection, stroke, or the use of steroids. Procedures to diagnose this complication include testing for ketoacids, low blood pH, and high blood sugar in blood plasma or in the urine.
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How Long Will The Effects Last
The effects of low blood sugar will continue and may even get worse until treatment brings your blood sugar level back to normal. It may take several minutes for the symptoms to go away after you start treatment. This may be a temporary problem while you and your healthcare provider are adjusting your medicine. If you are always prone to having low blood sugar, you may need to take special care for the rest of your life to keep your blood sugar at the proper level.
What Is A Healthy Blood Sugar Level
- People who have high blood sugar should discuss their target levels with their doctor. Regular testing may be needed to find out if the patient is within a healthy range. Each individual is different and levels can vary from person to person.
- To determine a person’s blood sugar levels, blood tests may be taken after not eating for 8 hours, 2 hours after a meal, or at both times. Some people may also take a glucose tolerance test, which requires the patient to drink a sugary liquid and get blood tests afterward.
- The American Diabetes Association recommend a pre-meal blood sugar level of 80-130 milligrams per deciliter. Around 1 to 2 hours after the beginning of a meal, blood sugar should be less than 180 milligrams per deciliter.
- The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists state that blood sugar should be below 110 milligrams per deciliter after fasting. Around 2 hours after eating a meal, the AACE recommend a blood sugar target of fewer than 180 milligrams per deciliter.
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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.
Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar
Depending on the cause of your high blood sugars, the symptoms could develop quickly or gradually.
People with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes will develop nearly all of the symptoms of high blood sugar very quickly, over the course of a few weeks, because their blood sugar levels are rising rapidly while insulin production is declining rapidly.
People with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes may not notice these symptoms for months or years because gradually increasing insulin resistance and beta-cell dysfunction can take a long time to become severe enough to produce noticeable symptoms.
Visit your local emergency room immediately if you are experiencing any of these severe symptoms.
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What Does It Feel Like To Have High Blood Sugar Levels
- Blood sugar is fuel for the body’s organs and functions. But having high blood sugar doesn’t provide a boost in energy. In fact, it’s often the opposite.
- Because the body’s cells can’t access the blood sugar for energy, a person may feel tiredness, hunger, or exhaustion frequently.
- In addition, high sugar in the blood goes into the kidneys and urine, which attracts more water, causing frequent urination. This can also lead to increased thirst, despite drinking enough liquids.
- High blood sugar can cause sudden or unexplained weight loss. This occurs because the body’s cells aren’t getting the glucose they need, so the body burns muscle and fat for energy instead.
- High blood sugar can also cause numbness, burning, or tingling in the hands, legs, and feet. This is caused by diabetic neuropathy, a complication of diabetes that often occurs after many years of high blood sugar levels.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar Levels
Signs of high blood sugar levels include:
- Peeing a lot: The kidneys respond by flushing out the extra glucose in urine. People with high blood sugar need to pee more often and in larger amounts.
- Drinking a lot: Someone losing so much fluid from peeing that often can get very thirsty.
- Losing weight even though your appetite has stayed the same: If there isnât enough insulin to help the body use glucose, the body breaks down muscle and stored fat instead in an attempt to provide fuel to hungry cells.
- Feeling tired: Because the body canât use glucose for energy properly, a person may feel unusually tired.
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When Should I Call My Doctor About Having High Blood Sugar
If you dont have a diagnosis of diabetes and think you might be having symptoms of high blood sugar, it would be a good idea to have a blood sugar screening done to determine if you have prediabetes or diabetes.
This is especially important if you also have one or more of the risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes , such as:
For those with diabetes, medical attention should be sought will depend on the person and their individual blood sugar targets and normal blood sugar trends.
However, in general, its advisable to contact your healthcare provider if blood sugar levels are consistently above 200 mg/dL. Medical attention should also be sought for the following symptoms, especially when coupled with high blood sugar:
- Trouble breathing
- Breath that smells like fruit
People with type 1 diabetes may want to keep ketone strips on hand to test for ketones and diabetic ketoacidosis. Having ketones present in the urine is a sign of very high blood sugar and low insulin levels and needs to be treated to prevent complications.
Learn How To Deal With High Blood Sugar Levels
Be sure to know the steps for dealing with high blood sugar and how fast your insulin medicine will work to bring your blood sugar down. Some insulins work very fast while regular insulin takes a little longer to bring the sugar level down. Knowing how fast your insulin works will keep you from using too much too quickly.
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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.
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:
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Natural Treatment For High Blood Pressure
Preventing high blood pressure is key, however, there are natural treatment options available that could help to reduce your blood pressure.
Managing stress with meditation or deep-breathing exercises Quit smoking Eating more food rich in calcium and magnesium
Eating foods rich in potassium can help
In Addition to the options listed above, there are several natural supplements that may also help to lower blood pressure or prevent it from elevating, to begin with.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Dka
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:
- abdominal pain
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Ask Your Doctor How Often You Should Be Checking Your Blood Sugar
Blood sugar control is crucial when youre living with type 2 diabetes. Dips and spikes can not only make you feel cranky and sluggish, but they can also wreak havoc on your personal health.
The most serious effects of blood sugar swings are a higher risk for diabetes-related health complications such as stroke, heart disease, and nerve damage .
For the record, the American Diabetes Association notes that you have diabetes if one of the following applies to you:
- Your blood glucose after fasting is 126 milligrams per deciliter or higher.
- Your blood glucose two hours after eating a meal is 200 mg/dl or higher.
- Your hemoglobin A1C is 6.5 or higher.
The tricky part is that with type 2 diabetes you may not feel it when blood sugar levels are too high, according to the ADA. It feels different for everyone. Not everyone will have the same symptoms, and some individuals will have no symptoms at all, says Lori Zanini, RD, CDE, a Los Angelesbased former spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
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Because blood sugar management is so important to your overall health with type 2 diabetes, you need to take action if you think your levels may be out of control, even if youre feeling totally fine.