Side Effects of Way "Too High Blood Sugar"

·7 min read

High blood sugar or hyperglycemia is a common issue that mostly affects diabetes and if left untreated can cause major health issues like damage to your organs, nerves and blood vessels, and increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. Managing your blood sugar is vital for overall good health and Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies explains side effects of high blood sugar to watch out for and how to manage it. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

What to Know About Blood Sugar

Diabetic woman taking blood sample with lancet pen at home.
Diabetic woman taking blood sample with lancet pen at home.

Dr. Mitchell says, "Blood sugar, also called glucose, is an essential source of energy for the body. All the cells in the body need glucose for fuel, and the brain needs it to function correctly. When blood sugar levels are too low, it can cause symptoms like fatigue, shakiness, and difficulty thinking clearly. However, if blood sugar levels get too high, it can lead to serious health problems like diabetes. That's why it's essential to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise can help to keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range. If you have diabetes, you may need to take medication to help control your blood sugar levels. By taking care of your blood sugar, you can help to keep your body healthy and prevent serious health problems down the road."

2

People Without Diabetes Should Also Monitor Their Blood Sugar

female using lancelet on finger to checking blood sugar level by Glucose meter
female using lancelet on finger to checking blood sugar level by Glucose meter

"Blood sugar, or glucose, is the body's primary source of energy," Dr. Mitchell states. "All consumed carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is then used by the cells for energy. To maintain proper blood sugar levels, the body needs to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps move glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. People with diabetes either do not produce enough insulin, or their bodies do not use insulin properly. As a result, their blood sugar levels can become dangerously high. For this reason, people with diabetes must carefully monitor their blood sugar levels and take steps to keep them within a safe range.

However, even people who do not have diabetes can benefit from monitoring their blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels can fluctuate throughout the day, depending on what you have eaten and how much you have exercised. For example, if your blood sugar levels get too low, you may experience symptoms such as dizziness or fatigue. Monitoring your blood sugar levels can help you to avoid these problems. As a clinician, I have found that home glucose monitoring is not always necessary for patients without risk factors for elevated blood sugar levels. However, I still monitor their blood work, fasting sugars, and hemoglobin A1c levels regularly. The hemoglobin A1c is a much more accurate indicator of average blood sugar levels, so it is so important to be mindful of dietary and lifestyle choices that can impact our blood sugar levels. We might not realize that we are affecting our blood sugars daily, but small decisions can make a big difference. For example, athletes know what foods to eat before a game to maintain optimal blood sugar levels. Likewise, we should all be aware of our choices that can impact our blood sugar levels."

3

How to Manage Blood Sugar

"Diet is the key to managing blood sugar levels," Dr. Mitchell emphasizes. "Foods high in sugar and simple carbohydrates cause spikes in blood sugar, while complex carbs and proteins help keep levels stable. Therefore, it is essential to include a variety of healthy foods in your diet. Whole grains, vegetables, and lean protein should make up most of your meals, while sugary snacks should be limited. In addition, regular exercise can also help to regulate blood sugar levels. Aerobic exercise helps to increase insulin sensitivity, while resistance training helps promote muscle growth. Therefore, combining both types of exercise is ideal for managing blood sugar. Finally, it is also essential to monitor blood sugar levels regularly. Checking levels before and after meals can help you identify patterns and make necessary adjustments to your diet and lifestyle. You can effectively manage your blood sugar levels by following these simple tips."

4

Increased Thirst and Urination

Close-up of pretty young woman drinking water from glass
Close-up of pretty young woman drinking water from glass

According to Dr. Mitchell, "Increased urination is a common symptom of diabetes and can be caused by elevated blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels are high, the body tries to get rid of the excess sugar by urinating more frequently. This can lead to increased thirst as the body attempts to replenish the fluids lost through increased urination. In addition, elevated blood sugar levels can damage the kidneys and cause them to work less efficiently. As a result, the body may retain more fluids, leading to even more thirst and urination. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health complications, including kidney failure and blindness. Therefore, it is essential for people with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar levels carefully and seek medical treatment if necessary."

5

Fatigue

Woman feeling headache and touching her head.
Woman feeling headache and touching her head.

Dr. Mitchell explains, "When blood sugar levels are elevated, the body responds by releasing insulin. Insulin helps transport sugar from the bloodstream into the cells, where it can be used for energy. However, if too much sugar is present in the blood, the cells can become overwhelmed and begin to resist insulin. As a result, sugar levels remain high, and the body cannot properly use glucose for energy. This can lead to feelings of fatigue and lethargy. In addition, when blood sugar levels fluctuate rapidly, it can cause mood swings and irritability. For people with diabetes, managing blood sugar levels is essential for preventing fatigue and other health complications."

6

Blurred Vision

"When blood sugar levels are high, it can cause the lenses of your eyes to swell, resulting in blurred vision," Dr. Mitchell states. "When blood sugar levels are elevated, the body retains more water, causing the tissues and muscles to swell. In the case of the eyes, this swelling can cause the lenses to change shape and no longer focus properly. While blurred vision is usually a temporary side effect of high blood sugar levels, it can occasionally signify more serious complications, such as diabetic retinopathy."

7

Slow Healing of Wounds

Dr. Mitchell shares, "When you have a cut or other wound, your body works to repair the damage by sending blood to the injury site. The blood contains special cells that help close the wound and prevent infection. However, this process can be slowed down if you have elevated blood sugar. High blood sugar interferes with the ability of blood vessels to carry oxygen and nutrients to the wound site. This can delay healing and increase the risk of infection. In addition, high blood sugar levels can damage the collagen fibers that are responsible for wound strength and elasticity. As a result, wounds heal more slowly and are more likely to reopen. Treating high blood sugar can help to speed up the healing process."

8

Weight Gain

weight gain in middle age, doctor measuring patient's stomach
weight gain in middle age, doctor measuring patient's stomach

"Weight gain is often a sign of elevated blood sugar levels," Dr. Mitchell says. "When blood sugar levels are high, the body stores more fat. This can lead to weight gain and an increased risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Weight gain can also be a side effect of some medications used to treat type 2 diabetes, such as insulin. If you are gaining weight unexpectedly, it is essential to talk to your doctor about your blood sugar levels and whether you may need to adjust your medication. Maintaining a healthy weight is an integral part of managing diabetes and reducing your risk for complications."

9

Erectile Dysfunction

Sad man sitting on a bed, girlfriend in the background.
Sad man sitting on a bed, girlfriend in the background.

Dr. Mitchell says, "Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a condition that affects a man's ability to achieve or maintain an erection. While this can be caused by various factors, such as stress or anxiety, it can also be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as diabetes.  Problems in the bedroom are often one of the signs a man might notice before diagnosing diabetes. High blood sugar levels can damage the essential blood vessels and nerves for achieving an erection. In addition, diabetes can cause other problems that can lead to ED, such as low testosterone levels or poor circulation. As a result, ED can be an early warning sign of diabetes. However, if you are experiencing difficulties with erections, it is essential to talk to your doctor about the possibility of diabetes. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent severe complications from this condition." And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.