Warning Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Dangerously High
Blood sugar is a vital part of our overall well-being and when there’s an imbalance your health is at risk for serious complications like heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. “Simply put, it’s your body’s main source of energy. You can’t survive without it,” Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, Urgent Care Medical Director and Physician, Carbon Health and Saint Mary’s Hospital tells us. The symptoms of high blood sugar can range from subtle to signs you can’t ignore and Dr. Curry-Winchell explains what to look out for and why. Read onand to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
If You Have Chronic Complications
When you have one chronic complication, youre much more at risk of developing other complications of diabetes. So if your blood vessels are damaged in your feet for example, the damage can happen to other parts of your body like your kidneys and heart too. This means you need to stay on top of your health checks and blood sugar levels when youre managing other problems.
This is serious, thats why we want you to have all the facts so you can prevent complications from getting worse.
Are You At Risk For High Blood Sugar How To Know
- Eat too many processed or fast foods
- Dont exercise regularly
- Eat large meals, or engage in binge eating
- Are under a lot of stress on a regular basis, either from work, dating, or another factor
- Have recurring illnesses
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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 Do I Check For Ketones
There are two ways to check for ketones:
Steps to check for urine ketones:
- Gather the supplies
- Small paper cup to pee in
- Timer or watch with a second hand
- Dip the test end of the strip into the cup of fresh urine.
- Take it out right away.
- Remove extra urine by drawing it along the rim of the cup.
- Exactly 15 seconds after dipping it in the urine, compare the ketone strip with the color chart on the bottle of ketone strips.
- If you have ketones, follow these instructions.
Ketone strip storage
- Keep ketone strips at room temperature between 59Â° and 86Â° F. Keep them out of direct sunlight.
- Step 8 After opening the first time, write the date on the bottle.
- Always put the lid back on right away after opening.
- Do not keep them in the bathroom because the moisture could ruin the strips.
- Throw the ketone strips away 6 months after first opening if they are not gone.
- Do not use them after the expiration date. Call your pharmacy for a refill.
Steps to check for blood ketones:
- Gather the supplies:
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Managing Your Diabetes Devices
If you are using an insulin pump, talk to your diabetes team about how to best manage hyperglycemia. In general, be sure to check your pump first. Make sure all parts are connected and working correctly. Check your bolus history and temporary basal rate. Also check your insulin to make sure it has not expired or gotten too warm.
If you use a CGM, try not to react to it too often. You might be tempted to give another dose of insulin too soon, before the first one finishes working, which is known as stacking insulin this can cause low blood sugar .
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Diabetes And Your Heart
You can lower your risk for heart disease with lifestyle changes.
Diabetes and heart disease often go hand in hand. Learn how to protect your heart with simple lifestyle changes that can also help you manage diabetes.
Heart disease is very common and serious. Its the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. If you have diabetes, youre twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke than someone who doesnt have diabetesand at a younger age. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to have heart disease.
But the good news is that you can lower your risk for heart disease and improve your heart health by changing certain lifestyle habits. Those changes will help you manage diabetes better too.
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What Is Considered High Blood Sugar
Blood sugar levels are considered high in people with diabetes once theyre more than the recommended 120 mg/dL, however, having a blood sugar of 145 mg/dL usually wont cause any problems .
For most people, high blood sugars become symptomatic once the blood sugar level reaches between 180-200 mg/dL.
Blood sugars above 200 mg/dL need to be treated immediately with insulin , and any blood sugar over 250 mg/dL requires that you do a urine test for ketones, to make sure youre not spiraling into diabetic ketoacidosis .
This is when the bodys blood turns acidic due to prolonged, dangerously high blood sugar levels and ketones in the blood. This can be fatal if not treated immediately.
This can occur when one is sick or battling an infection, due to a pump infusion site failure or even if you forgot to take your insulin for a few days.
Unfortunately, about 25% of newly diagnosed people with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed when they are already in DKA.
If you are experiencing a blood sugar higher than 250 mg/dL along with moderate to high ketones for several hours and cannot get your blood sugar down, contact your doctor immediately and seek emergency medical attention.
People with diabetes are at heightened risk of falling into a diabetic coma from high blood sugar once their blood sugar levels reach 600 mg/dL or higher.
This is a true medical emergency, is extremely dangerous, and can be life-threatening. If you are in this situation, you should call 911.
The Best Foods To Eat To Help Avoid Or Lower Your High Blood Sugar
While theres no such thing as a hyperglycemia diet per se, your eating choices still play an important role in regulating your blood sugar levels.
First, know you cant just cut all carbs or avoid foods with sugar to prevent blood sugar spikes. After all, healthy foods such as fruits and veggies also contain carbs and sugar. The value of carbs differs according to their complexity, and sugar in food is different from blood sugar.
- White bread, pasta, and rice
- Packaged and processed snacks, such as chips, pretzels, cookies, and candy
- Foods high in saturated fat, such as hot dogs, bacon, and sausage
- Foods high in trans fats, like margarine and certain packaged baked goods
- Foods that can raise your cholesterol, like liver, red meat, and full-fat dairy
Tracking your carb intake, especially if you have diabetes, is also critical for avoiding blood sugar spikes.
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Testing For Heart Disease
Your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and weight will help your doctor understand your overall risk for heart disease. Your doctor may also recommend other tests to check your heart health, which could include:
- An electrocardiogram to measure your hearts electrical activity. Your heartbeat is the result of an electrical impulse traveling through your heart.
- An echocardiogram to examine how thick your heart muscle is and how well your heart pumps.
- An exercise stress test to see how well your heart functions when its working hard.
High Blood Glucose: Hyperglycemia
Hyperglycemia means that you have too much blood glucose. It happens when your blood glucose level is around 200 mg/dL or higher. Hyperglycemia can happen if you miss taking your diabetes medications, eat too much or do not get enough exercise. Sometimes, the medications you take for other problems cause high blood glucose.
Symptoms of hyperglycemia include:
- Having blurry vision
- Having to urinate often
If you have these symptoms, check your blood glucose right away. If its too high, follow these steps:
- Check your blood glucose every four hours. If your level does not go down after two checks or your symptoms get worse, call a member of your diabetes team.
- Drink water or other sugar-free liquids, such as diet soda or Crystal Light.
- You may need to take an extra dose of insulin. Your diabetes educator talks with you more about this.
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Learn To Manage Stress
Managing diabetes is not always easy. Feeling stressed, sad, lonely, or angry is common when you are living with diabetes. You may know what to do to stay healthy but may have trouble sticking with your plan over time. Long-term stress can raise your blood glucose and blood pressure, but you can learn ways to lower your stress. Try deep breathing, gardening, taking a walk, doing yoga, talking with a loved one, working on a hobby, or listening to your favorite music. Learn more about healthy ways to cope with stress.
What Causes Complications Associated With Diabetes
High sugar levels in your blood over a long period of time can seriously damage your blood vessels. If your blood vessels arent working properly, blood cant travel to the parts of your body it needs to. This means your nerves wont work properly either and means you lose feeling in parts of your body. Once youve damaged the blood vessels and nerves in one part of your body, youre more likely to develop similar problems in other parts of your body. So if your feet are damaged, serious heart problems can follow.
We know that the higher your HbA1c level, the more youre at risk of developing complications. HbA1c is is glycated haemoglobin. This is made when glucose, which we call sugar, sticks to your blood cells and builds up in your blood. It’s measured by a blood test that shows your average blood sugar levels over the last three months. A high HbA1c means you have too much sugar in your blood.
Even a slightly high HbA1c increases your risk.
But its not just about blood sugars. High blood pressure, smoking and a lot of fat in your blood can all damage your blood vessels and put you even more at risk.
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How Do Doctors Diagnose Heart Disease In People With Diabetes
- how likely they are to have heart disease
- a physical exam
- results from tests and procedures
Tests used to monitor your diabetesA1C, blood pressure, and cholesterolhelp your doctor decide whether it is important to do additional tests to check your heart health or to refer you to a specialist such as a cardiologist.
Ask your health care team these questions.
- What can we do to lower my chances of getting heart disease?
- How can we work together to help me maintain my goals for A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol?
- What medicines, such as aspirin or a statin, will help protect my heart?
- Are there diabetes medicines that will help protect my heart?
Complications From Chronic High Blood Sugar
Over time, high blood sugar damages the arteries and vessels of the body. When these vessels are damaged, complications can occur.
- Heart disease: people with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those without diabetes. People with diabetes are also more likely to have high blood pressure, which is another risk factor for heart disease.
- Stroke: Diabetes increases the risk of stroke, as well as increases mortality when a stroke occurs.
- Kidney disease and failure: High blood sugar damages the kidneys and can lead to kidney disease. About one in four people with diabetes have kidney disease.
- Poor wound healing leading to amputations: High blood sugar inhibits proper wound healing. Diabetes is thought to be the leading cause of leg amputations worldwide.
- Neuropathy: Damage to the nerves, which can cause painful symptoms like numb and tingling legs and feet, as well as delayed stomach emptying from damage to the stomachs nerves.
- Retinopathy and blindness: Damage to the nerves in the eyes is called retinopathy, which can lead to blindness if not treated.
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Causes Of High Blood Sugar
The leading causes of high blood sugar or hyperglycemia include:
Diet: Glucose comes from food, so what you are eating causes high blood sugar. Carbohydrates are the most common culprit as they are broken down into glucose very quickly in the body. High-sugar foods, high-fat foods, and processed foods also cause blood glucose spikes and should be replaced with healthier options.
Stress: When you are stressed, more stress hormones and chemicals are released, which drives blood sugar levels up too. If the stress is only temporary, this is not a serious issue, but if you experience chronic stress or an anxiety disorder, you may experience high blood sugar levels more often.
Metabolic Syndrome: These are a collection of conditions that occur at the same time and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. High blood pressures, excess fat around the waist, and high cholesterol or triglycerides are examples of these conditions. When these occur in the body together, your risk for diabetes increases as does your blood sugar and the risk for potential complications.
Physical Inactivity: A lack of physical activity contributes to elevated blood sugar. When you are physically active each day, insulin works more efficiently, and your blood sugar can be maintained.
Diabetes And Healthy Eating
If you have diabetes its important to include a wide variety of nutritious and healthy foods in your diet, and to avoid snacking on sugary foods.
Enjoy a variety of foods from each food group be sure to include foods high in fibre and low in fat and reduce your salt intake. Its helpful to consult with a dietitian to review your current eating plan and provide a guide about food choices and food quantities.
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Symptoms Signs Causes Of Levels Of High Blood Sugar In The Blood
High blood sugar or hyperglycemia is an abnormally high blood sugar level in the blood. Hyperglycemia is a hallmark sign of diabetes and prediabetes.
Signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia include blurred vision, headaches, hunger, and …
The normal ranges for blood sugar levels in adults who do not have diabetes while fasting are 72-99 mg/dL. These ranges may increase to 80-130 mg/dL for those being treated for diabetes.
According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes should have
- blood sugar levels of 80-130 mg/dL before eating a meal , and
- less than 180 mg/dL about 1-2 hours after eating a meal
High blood sugar ranges for people who dont have diabetes begin at 140 mg/dL, while those being treated for diabetes have a high range beginning at 180 mg/dL.
How We Can Help
If you would like to talk through your worries and concerns, please do call our helpline for specialist information and advice. You will be given as much time as you need and although the service is confidential, you can choose to remain anonymous if you prefer. Our online forum is also a place you can talk about and share your concerns with others who have had similar experiences.
We’re also investing in research to help us identify and protect against diabetes complications. We’re determined to bring about improvements to treatments and care in people with diabetes, having already set up the first diabetes foot clinic in the UK, helping to reduce amputations.
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Danger Zone High Blood Sugar
Ongoing high blood sugar is a warning sign that your body is in the danger zone. Just like the displays, gauges, and lights on the dashboard of a vehicle, high blood sugar is a warning indicator you need to have your body checked out now for potential life-altering and life-threatening conditions. When our blood sugar is measured we receive a measurement for that point in time. This reading gives us markers and reference points linked to how our lifestyle choices impact our blood sugar and overall health. Our blood sugar is determined by how well our body can balance many factors. We must convert the nutrition we consume to glucose in our blood and tissue. It also depends on how well the pancreas can produce and process insulin, which plays a key role in dealing with sugar uptake and utilization. When our blood sugar is too high it means the body is unable to maintain the optimal balance needed for fuel usage, health, and wellness.
How To Prevent Hyperglycaemia And Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels
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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