High Blood Sugar Symptoms
If you’ve had diabetes for any length of time at all, you’ve probably seen lists of the signs and symptoms of high blood glucose dozens of times. Doctors and diabetes educators hand them out. Hundreds of websites reprint them. Most diabetes books list them. You likely know some of the items on the list by heart: thirst, frequent urination, blurry vision, slow healing of cuts, and more.
But have you ever stopped to wonder why these symptoms occur? How does high blood glucose cause frequent urination, make your vision go blurry, or cause all of those other things to happen? Here are some answers to explain what’s going on in your body when you have high blood glucose.
Setting the stage for high blood glucose
High blood glucose (called hyperglycemia by medical professionals) is the defining characteristic of all types of diabetes. It happens when the body can no longer maintain a normal blood glucose level, either because the pancreas is no longer making enough insulin, or because the body’s cells have become so resistant to insulin that the pancreas cannot keep up, and glucose is accumulating in the bloodstream rather than being moved into the cells.
What is high blood sugar?
Blood glucose is commonly considered too high if it is higher than 130 mg/dl before a meal or higher than 180 mg/dl two hours after the first bite of a meal. However, most of the signs and symptoms of high blood glucose don’t appear until the blood glucose level is higher than 250 mg/dl. Some of the symptoms have a rapid onset, while others require a long period of high blood glucose to set in. Continue reading