What Happens If You Have High Blood Sugar - DiabetesProHelp.com (2023)

How To Prevent Kaleidoscope Vision

7 Alarming Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Too High

You may be able to prevent kaleidoscope vision, depending on its cause. For example, eating a healthy diet and exercising are key to preventing diseases like diabetes that can cause vision problems.

You may consider medication to prevent migraines if you have two or more migraines in a given month and they cause disabilities for at least three days per month. You may also consider preventative medication if you find yourself taking medicine to treat migraines more than twice per week or if treatments do not seem to work.6

Consult your doctor about your symptoms and whether or not preventative care is right for you. Though millions of Americans suffer from migraines that cause visual symptoms, only three to 13% are on preventative therapy. Meanwhile, an estimated 38% of them need preventive care.2

In this article

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What To Think About When Your Blood Sugar Is High

High blood sugar can harm you. If your blood sugar is high, you need to know how to bring it down. If you have diabetes, here are some questions to ask yourself when your blood sugar is high:

  • Are you eating right?
  • Are you eating too much?
  • Have you been following your diabetes meal plan?
  • Did you have a meal or a snack with a lot of carbohydrates, starches, or simple sugars?

Are you taking your diabetes medicines correctly?

  • Has your doctor changed your medicines?
  • If you take insulin, have you been taking the correct dose? Is the insulin expired? Or has it been stored in a hot or cold place?
  • Are you afraid of having low blood sugar? Is that causing you to eat too much or take too little insulin or other diabetes medicine?
  • Have you injected insulin into a scar or overused area? Have you been rotating sites? Was the injection into a lump or numb spot under the skin?

What else has changed?

To prevent high blood sugar, you will need to:

  • Follow your meal plan
  • Take your diabetes medicines as instructed

You and your doctor will:

  • Set a target goal for your blood sugar levels for different times during the day. This helps you manage your blood sugar.

If your blood sugar is higher than your goals over 3 days and you don’t know why, check your urine for ketones. Then call your health care provider.

Moderate To Severe High Blood Sugar

You may have moderate to severe symptoms if your blood sugar levels are consistently high. These symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision.
  • Flushed, hot, dry skin.
  • Restlessness, drowsiness, or difficulty waking up.

People with type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes produce little or no insulin. These people may also have:

  • Rapid, deep breathing.
  • A fast heart rate and a weak pulse.
  • A strong, fruity breath odor.
  • Loss of appetite, belly pain, and/or vomiting.

If your blood sugar levels continue to rise, you may:

  • Become confused and sluggish.
  • Pass out if your blood sugar levels are very high.

Also Check: What Is An Average Blood Sugar Level For Diabetics

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.

High Blood Sugar Levels

If you have diabetes, you can find out if your blood sugar level is high by having a blood sugar test.

You may have regular tests by your care team or GP surgery, or you may have tests you can do at home.

Types of diabetes test and high blood sugar levels.
Type of testHigh level
Test done by a health professional to check your blood sugar level over the last 2 or 3 months 48 mmol/mol or over
Test done by a health professional after not eating for a few hours Over 7 mmol/L
Home test done after waking up or before eatingOver 7 mmol/L
Home test done at any other timeOver 11 mmol/L

Also Check: What If My Glucose Is High

How Does Too Much Sugar Affect Your Body

Chances are you already know that eating too much sugar isnât good for you. Yet youâre probably still overdoing it. Americans average about 270 calories of sugar each day, thatâs about 17 teaspoons a day, compared to the recommended limits of about 12 teaspoon per day or 200 calories.

Sugary drinks, candy, baked goods, and sweetened dairy are the main sources of added sugar. But even savory foods, like breads, tomato sauce, and protein bars, can have sugar, making it all too easy to end up with a surplus of the sweet stuff. To complicate it further, added sugars can be hard to spot on nutrition labels since they can be listed under a number of names, such as corn syrup, agave nectar, palm sugar, cane juice, or sucrose.

No matter what itâs called, sugar is sugar, and in excess, it can negatively affect your body in many ways. Hereâs a closer look at how sugar can mess with your health, from head to toe.

Key Points About Hyperglycaemia

  • Hyperglycaemia occurs when there is too much glucose in your bloodstream.
  • No matter how careful you are, if you have diabetes, you will get hyperglycaemia from time to time.
  • Regularly checking blood glucose levels and recognising and treating hyperglycaemia is an important part of diabetes management.
  • Occasional mild episodes are not usually a cause for concern and can be treated quite easily or return to normal on their own.
  • However, if blood glucose levels stay high for longer periods this can lead to permanent damage to parts of your body, such as your heart, brain, eyes, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels.
  • If blood glucose levels rise dangerously high this can lead to life-threatening complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state.
  • Seek urgent medical advice if you have high blood glucose and experience the following symptoms:
    • feeling sick or being sick
    • a fever for more than 24 hours
    • signs of dehydration, such as a headache, dry skin and a weak, rapid heartbeat
    • difficulty staying awake.

    These symptoms could be a sign of more serious complications of hyperglycaemia, such as diabetic ketoacidosis or a hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state, and you may need to be looked after in hospital.

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    What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis

    When the body doesn’t have enough insulin, glucose stays in the blood and can’t get into the body’s cells to be used for energy. This can happen, for example, when someone skips doses of insulin or when the need for insulin suddenly increases and the doses are not adjusted.

    When the body can’t use glucose for fuel, it starts to use fat. When this happens, chemicals called ketones are released into the blood. Some of these ketones, like extra glucose, pass out of the body through the urine.

    High levels of ketones in the blood can be a problem because they cause the blood to become acidic. Too much acid in the blood throws off the body’s chemical balance and causes the symptoms listed below. In people with diabetes, this problem is called diabetic , or DKA. DKA is a very serious condition that can lead to coma or death if it’s not treated. The good news, though, is that it’s preventable and can be treated.

    DKA happens more often in people with type 1 diabetes, but can sometimes also happen to those with type 2 diabetes.

    How Do I Treat Hyperglycemia

    10 Alarming Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Too High

    You can often lower your blood glucose level by exercising. However, if your blood glucose is above 240 mg/dl, check your urine for ketones. If you have ketones, do not exercise.

    Exercising when ketones are present may make your blood glucose level go even higher. You’ll need to work with your doctor to find the safest way for you to lower your blood glucose level.

    Cutting down on the amount of food you eat might also help. Work with your dietitian to make changes in your meal plan. If exercise and changes in your diet don’t work, your doctor may change the amount of your medication or insulin or possibly the timing of when you take it.

    Recommended Reading: Normal A1c Range For Diabetics

    When Should I Check My Blood Sugar

    How often you check your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have and if you take any diabetes medicines.

    Typical times to check your blood sugar include:

    • When you first wake up, before you eat or drink anything.
    • Two hours after a meal.

    If you have type 1 diabetes, have type 2 diabetes and take insulin, or often have low blood sugar, your doctor may want you to check your blood sugar more often, such as before and after youre physically active.

    What Causes Hyperglycemia

    Your diet may cause you to have high blood sugar levels, particularly if you have diabetes. Carbohydrate-heavy foods such as breads, rice, and pasta can raise your blood sugar. Your body breaks these foods down into sugar molecules during digestion. One of these molecules is glucose, an energy source for your body.

    After you eat, glucose is absorbed into your bloodstream. The glucose cant be absorbed without the help of the hormone insulin. If your body is unable to produce enough insulin or is resistant to its effects, glucose can build up in your bloodstream and cause hyperglycemia.

    Hyperglycemia can also be triggered by a change in your hormone levels. This commonly happens when youre under a lot of stress or when youre feeling ill.

    Hyperglycemia can affect people regardless of whether they have diabetes. You may be at risk of hyperglycemia if you:

    • lead a sedentary or inactive lifestyle
    • have a chronic or severe illness
    • are under emotional distress
    • use certain medications, such as steroids
    • have had a recent surgery

    If you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels may spike if you:

    • dont follow your diabetes eating plan
    • dont use your insulin correctly
    • dont take your medications correctly

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    Oral Health And Diabetes

    People with poorly managed diabetes are at increased risk of tooth decay and gum infections. This is because the small blood vessels that help nourish your teeth and gums can become damaged. Poor oral care can cause the gums to become inflamed and loosen around your teeth. It’s also strongly linked with an increased risk of heart disease.To reduce your risk of teeth and gum problems:

    • See your dentist regularly for a check-up.
    • Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day.
    • If you have dentures, make sure you brush your dentures and gums with a soft toothbrush.

    How Can I Treat High Blood Sugar

    What Happens If You Have High Blood Sugar - DiabetesProHelp.com (2)

    Talk to your doctor about how to keep your blood sugar levels within your target range. Your doctor may suggest the following:

    • Be more active. Regular exercise can help keep your blood sugar levels on track. Important: dont exercise if ketones are present in your urine. This can make your blood sugar go even higher.
    • Take medicine as instructed. If your blood sugar is often high, your doctor may change how much medicine you take or when you take it.
    • Follow your diabetes meal plan. Ask your doctor or dietitian for help if youre having trouble sticking to it.
    • Check your blood sugar as directed by your doctor. Check more often if youre sick or if youre concerned about high or low blood sugar.
    • Talk to your doctor about adjusting how much insulin you take and what types of insulin to use.

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    How High Blood Sugar Impacts Sleep

    The symptoms you may experience with high blood sugar at night could make it difficult for you to sleep, including falling and staying asleep. Depending on when you eat prior to bedtime, your digestive system may wake you up at odd hours.

    A related issue is known as the dawn phenomenon, which is when you wake up with high blood sugar in the morning. The foods you eat in the evening may contribute slightly to this.

    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.

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    When Should You Seek Medical Assistance

    • You are sick and cant keep any food or fluids down
    • Your blood glucose levels are persistently above 15 mmol/L and you have ketones
    • Your health is deteriorating
    • You are unable to continue to care for yourself/ manage your diabetes

    Make an appointment with your doctor if:

    • You experience ongoing diarrhoea or vomiting, but youre able to eat and maintain fluid intake
    • You have a fever that lasts more than 24 hours
    • Your blood glucose is more than 15 mmol/L even though youve taken your diabetes medication
    • You have trouble keeping your blood glucose within the desired range

    Is Hyperglycaemia Dangerous

    Fasting and Blood Glucose | Jason Fung

    It is important to manage hyperglycaemia because, left untreated it can lead to short term complications that require emergency medical care like diabetic ketoacidosis in type 1 diabetes and hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state in type 2 diabetes. In the long term, persistent high blood glucose levels causes damage to blood vessels leading to complications that affect the nerves, eyes, kidneys and heart.

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    Diabetes And Healthy Weight

    If you are overweight, even losing a small amount of weight, especially around the abdomen, helps to lower your blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

    It can be difficult trying to lose weight, so to get started set yourself a short-term, achievable goal. Try thinking about the food you are eating, whether you really need it, if it’s a healthy choice, and consider the portion size. An accredited practicing dietitian can help you set a realistic meal plan and answer any food related questions you may have.

    How To Lower Blood Sugar If Too High

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    Causes And Risk Factors

    As your body goes between fed and unfed states throughout the day, your blood sugar levels will naturally fluctuate up and down. In someone without diabetes, blood sugar levels are regulated by insulin and stored glycogen to stay within normal ranges.

    If you have diabetes, you are at a higher risk of having a blood sugar spike than people without diabetes. Eating foods high in simple carbohydrates, like desserts, sugar-sweetened beverages, and refined-grain pasta and bread, are the main cause of blood sugar spikes.

    However, there are additional causes for high blood sugar levels, such as:

    • Eating more than planned
    • Over-treating low blood sugar levels
    • Dawn phenomenon: This is a natural surge in blood sugar early in the morning. It can be higher in people with diabetes who have insulin resistance.
    • Somogyi effect: This is high early morning blood sugar levels caused by a rebound effect from low blood sugar levels in the middle of the night and your body triggering a release of hormones to raise blood sugar levels.

    How To Prevent Hyperglycaemia And Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels

    What Happens If You Have High Blood Sugar - DiabetesProHelp.com (3)

    Testing your blood sugar levels regularly can help you spot the signs of hyperglycaemia. But there are some steps you can take to either prevent a hyper from happening or to bring down your blood sugar levels.

    You can start by making sure you are aware of your carbohydrate portions and how they may be affecting your blood sugar levels after eating. Carb countingis one of the ways you can manage this. Avoid foods that have a high glycemic index and choose low GI foods that can help manage your blood sugar levels more effectively. Increase the fibre in your diet. This can help slow down carbohydrate digestion, which can help limit the rise in your blood sugars.

    Try to maintain a healthy weight as this promotes regular blood sugar levels in the body. Be as active as possible, regular exercise can help your body process more of the sugar.

    Remember to take your insulin and other diabetes medication, and always take them correctly. Continue to take your diabetes medication even if you are ill and not eating.

    Concentrate on your emotional wellbeing, get a quality nights sleep and find ways to manage your stress. Stress can cause hormones to be released, which keep your blood sugar levels high.

    If your blood sugar levels continue to be high, or youre unsure of what to do, contact your doctor for further guidance.

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