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What Does It Feel Like To Have High Blood Sugar


Whats Going On Inside

What It Feels Like to Have a Low Blood Sugar

Inside your body, its an acute situation and you cant use the energy from the food you eat. It floats in sugar molecules in your blood stream, and becomes rather sticky. That is why it can stick to the sides of your arteries and cause heart problems, or to the inside of your veins and cause circulation problems. Its like a syrup running through your system of veins and arteries.

Meanwhile, your poor body cells are starving to death. The cells in your brain, hands, feet, heart, and all over are not getting the blood sugar which is the energy that they need to live. So close, yet so far away! The blood sugar is floating nearby in the circulatory system, but there is either no insulin there or the insulin is not working like it should.

What A High Blood Sugar Feels Like

The American Diabetes Association cites the following symptoms as indicative of high blood sugar:

  • High blood glucose
  • High levels of sugar in the urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst

And if high blood sugar goes untreated?


Hyperglycemia can be a serious problem if you dont treat it, so its important to treat as soon as you detect it. If you fail to treat hyperglycemia, a condition called ketoacidosis could occur. Ketoacidosis develops when your body doesnt have enough insulin. Without insulin, your body cant use glucose for fuel, so your body breaks down fats to use for energy.

When your body breaks down fats, waste products called ketones are produced. Your body cannot tolerate large amounts of ketones and will try to get rid of them through the urine. Unfortunately, the body cannot release all the ketones and they build up in your blood, which can lead to ketoacidosis.ADA website

But what does a high blood sugarfeel like?; Because when you see someone who is working through an elevated blood sugar, they may not look terribly out of sorts.; But what is happening inside of them is real, and plays out in a myriad of ways for every person with diabetes.; Ive tried to write about it several times, but each high is different, and affects me in different ways:

One thing that remains consistent is the permeating feeling of failure that coincides with out-of-range blood sugars:

How To Efficiently Treat High Blood Sugar

For those who may be at risk of high blood sugar, measurements of blood plasma using a glucose meter are necessary to assess and treat abnormalities.


For minor instances of hyperglycemia, directly administering insulin and also the implementation of a healthier lifestyle would efficiently treat most cases. Examples of lifestyle modification include dietary intervention, physical exercise, and the administration of treatments like metformin.

Metformin is a commonly used first-line drug intervention for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. First discovered in 1922, and then marketed in France in the late-1970s, the anti-diabetic medication received FDA approval in 1994. Its mechanism of action is not fully understood and is currently the subject of vigorous research.

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, meglitinides, sodium-glucose transporter 2 inhibitors, and thiazolidinediones, are other interventions used to stabilize abnormal levels of blood glucose.

Recent studies targeting new potential drug interventions for diabetes mellitus have shown more efficiency toward symptoms and may strengthen our understanding of the condition and significantly improve the lifestyle of those affected.

Where To Buy A Blood Glucose Meter?

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If You Regularly Have High Blood Sugar Levels

Having high blood sugar levels regularly is not something you should live with. This is because in the long-term it can increase your risk of developing diabetes complications, such as neuropathy and retinopathy.

If you notice that your blood sugar levels are often high, you should contact your diabetes healthcare team. They will review your treatment and provide you with advice on how to get your blood sugar levels back within your target range. This advice may include increasing your medication.

In the video below, Lynsey talks to Khalida about feeling anxious after getting a high blood sugar level reading. If youre finding it hard to deal with similar feelings, weve got information on emotional health that you may find helpful.

How Do I Prevent Hyperglycemia

What Does High Blood Sugar Feel Like?
  • 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 02/12/2020.

References

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How Does High Blood Sugar Affect The Body

High sugar in the blood can lead to a number of other symptoms and complications. Here are just a few.

Urination and thirst: High blood sugar goes into the kidneys and urine. This attracts more water, causing frequent urination. This can also lead to increased thirst, despite drinking enough liquids.

Weight loss: High blood sugar can cause sudden or unexplained weight loss. This occurs because the bodys cells are not getting the glucose they need, so the body burns muscle and fat for energy instead.

Numbness and tingling: High blood sugar can also cause numbness, burning, or tingling in the hands, legs, and feet. This is due to diabetic neuropathy, a complication of diabetes that often occurs after many years of high blood sugar levels.

Blood Sugar Spike: What To Do

Its important to know the symptoms of hyperglycemia. If you suspect that you have high blood sugar, perform a finger stick to check your level.


Exercising and drinking water after eating, particularly if youve consumed a lot of starchy carbs, can help lower your blood sugar.

You can also use an insulin injection, but be careful only to use this method while closely following the recommendation of your doctor regarding your dose. If used improperly, insulin can cause hypoglycemia .

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Signs You May Have Hypoglycemia

Many people – even those without diabetes – exhibit signs of low blood sugar. Read on for 5 subtle signs of hypoglycemia. Feeling suddenly weak or shaky is one of the better known signs of low blood sugar, but that doesnt mean its always easy to notice. Weakness, particularly in the arms or legs, or a feeling of being jittery or trembling could also mean its time to eat. Physical symptoms arent the only signs of low blood sugar; emotional instability can also occur. In fact, if you suspect you have fluctuating blood sugar, your symptoms might include things such as feeling suddenly overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, irritated, or like you could burst into tears. Find yourself breaking into a cold sweat for no reason? Low blood sugar may be to blame. The stress on your body means that it has to work harder, and a cold sweat is a classic sign that your body is having to work too hard to function. Other symptoms might be a rapid or irregular heartbeat, or even blurred vision. Hypoglycemia can bring on feelings of nausea or extreme hunger. Traditionally, eating sugar helps raise blood sugar levels, but try to eat a balanced snack or meal soon afterward, to avoid a repeat sugar crash. When blood sugar is low, it can make you a little spacey. You may find yourself rambling, or others may have a tough time following your conversation. But slurred speech or confusion are more serious signs of dangerously low blood sugar, and should not be taken lightly.Continue reading >>

Hyperglycemia Symptom #1: Thirst

What a High Blood Sugar Feels Like

Thirst isnt an adequate word for the feeling that comes with hyperglycemia, because thirst can be quenched. Hyperglycemic thirst cant. Have you ever been so thirsty that you drank long and deep enough to gasp for air when you were donemaybe after playing a sport in the heat, for example? Its kind of like that level of need, except the chugging doesnt satisfy the urge to drink. Even with a mouthful of water, I need more.;


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How To Stabilize Your Blood Sugar Overnight

The most important thing you can do to stabilize your blood sugar is monitor your glucose levels at bedtime, during the night, and when you wake up to look for patterns. This will help you determine whats going on in your body and how you can fix it. While there are many strategies people use to stabilize blood sugar at night, every person is different youll have to look for trends in your body, experiment with ways to lower glucose levels over a period of time, and learn what works best for your body.

  • Check your blood sugar before bed. If its already high, your blood sugar levels may remain high throughout the night. To address this, youll want to start by adjusting when you eat your evening meal and what it consists of, and how much mealtime insulin you take to cover it.

  • Avoid eating lots of food close to bedtime. For diaTribe writer Adam Brown, the key to staying in range overnight is low-carb, early dinners, with no snacking after dinner.

  • Consider eating less food at night and taking more basal insulin to cover your evening meal.

  • Check your blood sugar during the night, between midnight and 3am. If you were in range before bed but have high glucose levels between midnight and 3am, you may need to adjust your basal insulin dosage and timing. If you are low during that time, you may experience a rebound high blood sugar later on this is usually associated with overcorrecting the low.

  • Can Drinking A Lot Of Water Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels

    Although feeling very thirsty is a symptom of a hyper, drinking a lot of water will not bring your blood sugar levels down. It will only help to reduce your risk of dehydration.

    Its important that you take your diabetes medication to bring your blood sugar levels down. If you have consistently high blood sugar levels, you will need to follow the advice;below and speak to your diabetes healthcare team.

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    Is Hyperglycaemia Serious

    The aim of diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar levels as near to normal as possible.

    But if you have diabetes, no matter how careful you are, you’re likely to experience hyperglycaemia at some point.

    It’s important to be able to recognise and treat hyperglycaemia, as it can lead to serious health problems if left untreated.

    Occasional mild episodes are not usually a cause for concern and can be treated quite easily or may return to normal on their own.

    But hyperglycaemia can be potentially dangerous if blood sugar levels become very high or stay high for long periods.


    Very high blood sugar levels can cause life-threatening complications, such as:

    • diabetic ketoacidosis ; a condition caused by the body needing to break down fat as a source of energy, which can lead to a diabetic coma; this tends to affect people with type 1 diabetes
    • hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state ; severe;dehydration caused by the body;trying to get rid of excess sugar; this tends to affect people with type 2 diabetes

    Regularly having high blood sugar levels for long periods of time can result in permanent damage to parts of the body such as the eyes, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels.

    If you experience hyperglycaemia regularly, speak to your doctor or diabetes care team.

    You may need to change your treatment or lifestyle to keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range.

    Make Some Small Changes

    What Does Low Blood Sugar Feel Like?

    You might try to get more exercise, or limit carbs at your next meal, but don’t go crazy. “One blood sugar that’s high doesn’t indicate a need for major changesthat should only be done on a pattern,” says Rice, such as “continuing highs despite following a doctor’s instructions.” If a pattern continues for two to three days or more, then you might want to let your health-care provider know.


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    What Is Hyperglycemia

    Hyperglycemia, or high blood glucose, occurs when there is too much sugar in the blood. This happens when your body has too little insulin , or if your body can’t use insulin properly. The condition is most often linked with diabetes.

    Hyperglycemia is blood glucose greater than 125 mg/dL while fasting .

    • A person has impaired glucose tolerance, or pre-diabetes, with a fasting blood glucose of 100 mg/dL to 125 mg/dL.
    • A person has hyperglycemia if their blood glucose is greater than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after eating.

    If you have hyperglycemia and its untreated for long periods of time, you can damage your nerves, blood vessels, tissues and organs. Damage to blood vessels can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, and nerve damage may also lead to eye damage, kidney damage and non-healing wounds.

    When To Go To The Er

    Unstable blood sugar can be very dangerous and cause severe life-threatening ailments.


    High blood glucose levels can affect blood pressure and circulation, vision and may cause death if the person goes into a diabetic coma. High blood sugar is causing someone to lose consciousness or have difficulty being able to talk.

    They should seek treatment at a hospital right away. Some other signs of dangerously high blood sugar can include blurry vision, feeling drowsy, or confusion.

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    What Causes Hyperglycemia In People With Diabetes

    • The dose of insulin or oral diabetes medication that you are taking is not the most helpful dose for your needs.
    • Your body isnt using your natural insulin effectively .
    • The amount of carbohydrates you are eating or drinking is not balanced with the amount of insulin your body is able to make or the amount of insulin you inject.
    • You are less active than usual.
    • Physical stress is affecting you.
    • Emotional stress is affecting you.
    • You are taking steroids for another condition.
    • The dawn phenomenon is affecting you.

    Other possible causes

    Complications Of High Blood Sugar

    How it feels to have high blood sugar

    Diabetes is one of the main causes of high blood sugar levels, but there are other causes that can impact your blood glucose and your risk for hyperglycemia.;


    Hyperglycemia is the medical term for high blood sugar levels. You can have temporary spikes in blood sugar after eating a large meal or as a result of medication side effects. Chronically elevated blood sugar levels are dangerous and common in those with diabetes. Without treatment, you run the risk of a diabetic coma.

    Ketoacidosis is a condition that develops when elevated blood glucose levels go untreated. Without glucose to use for fuel, your body begins to burn fat instead and produces ketones. When there are too many ketones in the blood, it will turn acidic, which can very quickly lead to ketoacidosis, a diabetic coma, and even death.;

    People without diabetes can develop a similar condition known as ketosis, but they can tolerate a certain level of ketones because inulin is still effectively working.;

    Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome is another serious complication of high blood sugar. This is more common among individuals with type 2 diabetes and is triggered by an infection or illness.;

    As a result of the high blood sugar, your body tries to push out the excess glucose by passing it through your urine. Without treatment, this can result in life-threatening dehydration so prompt medical attention would be necessary.;


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    What Does A Sugar Crash Feel Like

    You may experience a crash after indulging in high amounts of carbohydrates, especially simple sugars such as cake and ice cream. Although the human body needs sugar, it also needs the amount of sugar to remain at a consistent level.

    When the body has more sugar than its used to, it rapidly produces insulin in an attempt to keep the levels consistent. This causes blood glucose to decrease, which results in a sudden drop in energy levels, also known as hypoglycemia, or a sugar crash.

    With this drastic drop in energy, the body can experience undesired symptoms such as:

    • hunger
    • shakiness
    • dizziness

    Sugar crashes generally cause us to be incredibly distracted throughout the day, which leads to a lack of productivity and concentration. Confusion, abnormal behavior, the inability to complete routine tasks and blurred vision are also common symptoms, especially for those who have diabetes. People with diabetes may experience more severe symptoms such as loss of consciousness, seizures or coma, if the crash is harsh enough, because of their increased sensitivity to inconsistent sugar levels.

    What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar Levels

    Signs of high blood sugar levels include:

    • Peeing a lot: The kidneys respond by flushing out the extra glucose in urine. People with high blood sugar need to pee more often and in larger amounts.
    • Drinking a lot: Someone losing so much fluid from peeing that often can get very thirsty.
    • Losing weight even though your appetite has stayed the same: If there isn’t enough insulin to help the body use glucose, the body breaks down muscle and stored fat instead in an attempt to provide fuel to hungry cells.
    • Feeling tired: Because the body can’t use glucose for energy properly, a person may feel unusually tired.
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