How To Check Your Blood Sugar Levels
As Dr. Emanuele says, glucose monitoring can be an important tool to help you get your blood sugar under control. Typically, you would do it yourself using a glucose meter or glucometer, which analyzes a drop of blood that you draw by sticking your finger with a lancet and placing the blood on a disposable test strip that you insert into the meter. Your blood sugar goals are set by you and your doctor, but blood glucose for an adult without diabetes is below 100 mg/dl before meals and at fasting and less than 140 mg/dl two hours after a meal, notes the ADA.
Some people will check their blood sugar daily or multiple times a day, sometimes using a continuous monitor that is worn on the body particularly those who have type 1 diabetes or who have type 2 but take insulin. Yet how frequently a person should monitor their blood sugar is based on a number of factors, including but not limited to whether theyre on insulin, whether they’re taking oral medication, and how well their blood sugar is controlled and how old they are.
Meanwhile, keep an eye out for these nine key warning signs and symptoms that blood sugar is too high and talk to your doctor about whether you need to adjust your management plan.
Mild High Blood Sugar
If your blood sugar levels are consistently higher than your target range to 350 mg/dL in adults and 200 mg/dL to 240 mg/dL in children), you may have mild symptoms of high blood sugar. You may urinate more than usual if you are drinking plenty of liquids. Some people who have diabetes may not notice any symptoms when their blood sugar level is in this range. The main symptoms of high blood sugar are:
- Increased thirst.
- Increased appetite.
Young children are unable to recognize symptoms of high blood sugar. Parents need to do a home blood sugar test on their child whenever they suspect high blood sugar.
If you don’t drink enough liquids to replace the fluids lost from high blood sugar levels, you can become dehydrated. Young children can become dehydrated very quickly. Symptoms of dehydration include:
- A dry mouth and increased thirst.
- Warm, dry skin.
What Are Target Blood Sugar Levels For People With Diabetes
A target is something that you aim for or try to reach. Your health care team may also use the term goal. People with diabetes have blood sugar targets that they try to reach at different times of the day. These targets are:
- Right before your meal: 80 to 130
- Two hours after the start of the meal: Below 180
Talk with your health care team about what blood sugar numbers are right for you.
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How Common Is Low Blood Glucose
Low blood glucose is common among people with type 1 diabetes and among people with type 2 diabetes who take insulin or some other diabetes medicines. In a large global study of people with diabetes who take insulin, 4 in 5 people with type 1 diabetes and nearly half of those with type 2 diabetes reported a low blood sugar event at least once over a 4-week period.2
Severely low blood glucose, defined as when your blood glucose level drops so low you cant treat it yourself, is less common. Among U.S. adults with diabetes who take insulin or some diabetes medicines that help the pancreas release insulin into the blood, 2 in 100 may develop severely low blood glucose each year.3
This Is Done Because Blood Pressure Is The Primary Indicator
These routine screenings check for everything from liver function to hig. When this happens, itâs called a blood clot. Most of us have experienced having our blood pressure taken, as itâs standard practice in virtually every medical providerâs office, from an optometrist to a general practitioner. Your blood needs to keep flowing through your veins and arteries. If your blood pressure is very high, your doctor may want you to start taking blood press. When youâre diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor will likely help you adopt a new health regimen to improve your diet and start exercising. Also known simply as blood sugar, blood glucose provides the fuel your body needs to power the brain, heart and muscles. For people with diabetes, routinely monitoring your blood sugar can be the key to feeling well and functioning normally. Left untreated, high blood sugar can be life threatening, leading to a diabetic coma. When you go for your yearly physical and sometimes when you have a regular doctorâs appointment, your healthcare provider may order certain tests, such as blood tests. A beginnerâs guide to fear, fatigue, and the fraternity of boxing d. When it comes to maintaining your health, your blood glucose level is one of the most important readings in your body. The blood clots that form at the site of an injury usually break down after th.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperglycemia
Its especially important to know the early signs of hyperglycemia if you have type 1 diabetes. If hyperglycemia is left untreated in people with type 1 diabetes, it can develop into ketoacidosis, where ketones, which are toxic acids, build up in the blood. This condition is an emergency situation that can lead to coma or death.
Early symptoms of hyperglycemia include:
- High blood sugar.
- Unusual fruity smell on the breath.
- Deep labored breathing or hyperventilation.
- Rapid heartbeat.
You Notice Tingling And Numbness In Your Hands Or Feet
As mentioned, uncontrolled blood sugar can cause nerve damage, also known as diabetic neuropathy. What you may notice is a tingling sensation or even numbness in your hands and feet. Some people experience pain in their hands and feet as well. Though neuropathy is most common in people who have had diabetes for a long time, it can occur in anyone with poorly controlled diabetes.
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Is Diabetes An Autoimmune Disease
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Stick To Your Medication And Insulin Regimen
Skipping a dose of medication or insulin can be harmful to your body and increase your blood sugar levels.
Its important to stick to your treatment plan and follow your doctors instructions for taking your medication.
Healthful lifestyle habits can help people manage their blood sugar levels over the long term, such as eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, staying hydrated, and getting good sleep.
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Supporting Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels during the day is a good way to prevent high blood sugar at night. That means exercising regularly, taking the right amount of diabetes medications if you use them, and managing stress levels.
Lack of sleep itself is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, so it is important to maintain a healthy sleep cycle as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome : When Hyperglycemia Becomes Severe For People With Type 2 Diabetes
Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome is very rare, but you should be aware of it and know how to handle it if it occurs. HHNS is when your blood glucose level goes way too highyou become extremely hyperglycemic. HHNS affects people with type 2 diabetes.
HHNS is most likely to occur when you’re sick, and elderly people are most likely to develop it. It starts when your blood glucose level starts to climb: when that happens, your body will try to get rid of all the excess glucose through frequent urination. That dehydrates your body, and you’ll become very thirsty.
Unfortunately, when you’re sick, it’s sometimes more difficult to rehydrate your body, as you know you should. For example, it might be difficult to keep fluids down. When you don’t rehydrate your body, the blood glucose level continues to climb, and it can eventually go so high that it could send you into a coma.
To avoid hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome, you should keep close watch on your blood glucose level when you’re sick .
Talk to your healthcare professional about having a sick-day plan to follow that will help you avoid HHNS.
You should also be able to quickly recognize the signs and symptoms of HHNS, which include:
Extremely high blood glucose level
What Are The Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar
In general, the American Diabetes Association recommends shooting for a blood sugar level of 80 to 130 mg/dL before a meal and a level of less than 180 mg/dL after a meal. Still, because people’s target blood glucose levels can vary, it’s best to work with your doctor or health care provider to determine the right numbers for you.
If your blood sugar levels are too high, you can experience symptoms like frequent urination and increased thirst. Left untreated, hyperglycemia can develop into diabetic ketoacidosis, which occurs when your body is no longer able to use insulin to break down glucose for energy.
Without insulin, your body begins to break down fats, triggering the production of chemicals called ketones, according to the ADA. Your body can’t harbor too many ketones, so it tries to flush them out of the body through the urine but because the body can’t always eliminate them all, they can continue to build up, causing diabetic ketoacidosis.
You Develop Sores That Tend To Heal More Slowly Than Usual
Cuts, scrapes, bruises, and other wounds heal more slowly in the presence of uncontrolled blood sugar, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Diabetes causes nerve damage and affects circulation, especially in the lower legs and feet, which can delay healing because there isnt enough blood flow to the area. Even minor wounds are more prone to infections, which can become very serious and even result in amputations of the foot. You may notice drainage seeping onto your socks or an unpleasant smell if you develop a foot ulcer, notes the American Podiatric Medical Association.
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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:
Monitor Your Glucose Levels
An important part of managing your diabetes is checking your blood glucose levels often, such as before you eat, after you eat, or at bedtime.
You should then record that number in a notebook, blood glucose log, or blood glucose tracking app so you and your doctor can monitor your treatment plan.
Knowing when your blood glucose levels are getting out of your target range can help you get your blood glucose back on track before more significant complications arise.
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When To Contact Your Healthcare Provider
Hyperglycemia can turn into a medical emergency like DKA and HHS that requires immediate intervention by your practitioner or a local emergency department. If you have two blood sugar readings of 300 mg/dL or more, or have blood sugar above your target range for more than a week, seek immediate medical help.
Signs of hyperglycemia include:
- Ketones in your urine
- Stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
Take Your Insulin As Prescribed
High blood sugar occurs when your body has too little insulin, or your body cant use insulin properly. Administering insulin can bring your blood sugar levels down.
Talk to your doctor about how much rapid-acting insulin you should administer when your blood sugar is high.
You may want to check your blood sugar about 1530 minutes after taking insulin to make sure your blood sugar is going down and that its not dropping too low.
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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.
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.
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Controlled Means Different Things To Different People
Theres no one-size-fits-all recommendation for blood sugar control.
The ADA says that a reasonable goal for many nonpregnant adults is to aim for an A1C level of less than 7. Yet some patients may be given a more stringent goal by their healthcare providers, such as 6.5, if thats reachable without harmful side effects, including hypoglycemia.
On the other hand, if you are elderly, managing other health complications, or reliant on insulin, you may be given less stringent goals. It really becomes more important to just keep in the same place, says Rahil Bandukwala, DO, an endocrinologist at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California. Keeping A1C between 7.5 and 8.5 may be very reasonable for such a patient, Dr. Bandukwala adds, echoing the ADAs recommendations.
Because elderly people are more likely to have blood sugar that swings too far downward, with fewer warning signs, managing their glucose too tightly can put them at greater risk for hypoglycemia, says Bandukwala. When you have low blood sugar, youre at a higher risk for becoming dizzy and falling or passing out, notes the ADA.
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What Should I Do If My Blood Sugar Gets Too Low
Low blood sugar is also called hypoglycemia . It means your blood sugar level drops below 70. Having low blood sugar is dangerous and needs to be treated right away. Anyone with diabetes can have low blood sugar. You have a greater chance of having low blood sugar if you take insulin or certain pills for diabetes.
Carry supplies for treating low blood sugar with you. If you feel shaky, sweaty, or very hungry, check your blood sugar. Even if you feel none of these things, but think you may have low blood sugar, check it.
If your meter shows that your blood sugar is lower than 70, do one of the following things right away:
- chew 4 glucose tablets
- drink 4 ounces of fruit juice
- drink 4 ounces of regular soda, not diet soda or
- chew 4 pieces of hard candy
After taking one of these treatments, wait for 15 minutes, then check your blood sugar again. Repeat these steps until your blood sugar is 70 or above. After your blood sugar gets back up to 70 or more, eat a snack if your next meal is 1 hour or more away.
If you often have low blood sugar, check your blood sugar before driving and treat it if it is low.
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