Treating high blood sugar symptoms promptly is essential to avoid damage to your nerves, blood vessels, and kidneys. Learn more about symptoms here.
For people with diabetes, the best way to prevent a bout of high blood sugar is to stick to your plan of care — appropriate meals and exercise and medication. Even if you stay on your plan, an infection or virus can bring on symptoms of high blood sugar. So can stress or a bout of strenuous activity.
Signs to notice: feeling thirsty, headaches, trouble concentrating, blurred vision, frequent peeing, fatigue and weakness, and weight loss. You might be hungry even after eating.
The tricky part is that the symptoms vary from one person to the next, and you may have no symptoms at all.
There are simple at-home ways of treating high blood sugar symptoms. You can drink more water. It will remove the extra sugar through urine.
You can increase your exercise, though you shouldn’t jump up too quickly. If you have diabetes and your blood sugar is high, test your urine for ketones. If you do have ketones, don’t exercise!
You might need to eat fewer carbohydrates in any one meal. You may need to keep a food journal and see a dietician for advice.
But it’s important to stay alert and communicate with your doctor. Test yourself whenever you are suspicious and call your doctor’s office. Often you’ll be asked for several tests to pin down a pattern. If you consistently get readings beyond a normal blood glucose level, you’ll probably need to change the amount, timing, or kind of medication you take.
Never ignore the issue: People who often veer from a normal blood glucose level develop a variety of problems. Taking care of diabetes is easier than living with the consequences of neglect.
What could go wrong? Your cuts may begin to heal slowly and become infected. Your vision may decline. If you get nerve damage in your feet, they may become painful or feel cold. You might even lose sensitivity in your feet. Some people lose hair on their legs. Men can develop erectile dysfunction.
If you put off treating high blood sugar symptoms too long you could damage your eyes, blood vessels and kidneys.
Extremely high blood sugar can be deadly in people with type 2 diabetes. Your body may become unable to process sugar, a condition called hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome. You’ll notice that you’re urinating more often and then less often, and by then your urine may be dark. You will be dehydrated.
If you don’t have a diagnosis of diabetes but notice symptoms of high blood sugar, ask for testing. One test is to check your blood sugar after fasting for at least eight hours. If it is higher than 126 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) you are considered to have diabetes.
Another approach is to measure your blood sugar two hours after a standard meal. People without diabetes rarely have blood sugar levels over 140 mg/dL. If yours is 200 mg/dL or more, you are in the diabetes range.
May 23, 2019
Janet O’Dell, RN