If you don’t control your blood sugar, you can develop serious side effects of type 2 diabetes over time. Here’s how to recognize high blood sugar and low blood sugar symptoms and what to do about them.
More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The vast majority, 90 to 95 percent, have type 2 diabetes, which often starts in middle age and is mostly linked to being overweight and a lack of exercise. The rest have type 1 diabetes, which often begins in childhood or young adulthood and is believed to be an autoimmune condition that attacks the pancreas.
Type 1 is sometimes considered the more serious form of the disease — after all, there’s no cure for it while type 2 diabetes can often be prevented, improved, and even reversed with lifestyle changes. But the truth is, not keeping blood sugar under control has serious health consequences for people with either type of diabetes.
In fact, the side effects of type 2 diabetes can be just as severe as type 1.
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) dangers
Although hypoglycemia (low blood sugar of 70 mg/dL or less) is more common in type 1 diabetes, it can occur in type 2 — especially if you take insulin or certain types of diabetes drugs (such as sulfonylureas and meglitinides) and don’t eat enough carbohydrates for your dose of medication.
You can also develop low blood sugar if you skip or delay meals. In addition, increasing your amount of exercise beyond what you normally do can lower your blood sugar for up to 24 hours, the National Institute of Diabetes Digestive and Kidney Diseases notes.
February 28, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN