8 Warning Signs of High Blood Sugar You Shouldn’t Ignore
Updated: Apr 7, 2022
You might think you would know if you had high blood sugar or not, but did you know many people don’t realize they have high blood sugar? So if you’re unsure if you do, I’ve got you covered.
Here are eight warning signs of high blood sugar you should be aware of:
1. Frequent Urination and Increased Thirst
When there is too much sugar in your blood, i.e., high blood sugar, your kidneys start attempting to pour out more sugar to get rid of it. As your kidneys excrete the sugar, they also pull out water with it. This leads to frequent urination, meaning you have to visit the bathroom more than usual.
Increased thirst is a natural effect of peeing more. This is due to your body becoming dehydrated. If you feel thirsty all the time, it could be a sign of high blood sugar.
The dehydration also becomes cyclical, meaning the more you pee, the thirstier you become, so the more you drink, and the more you pee, and so on, and so on.
The earliest and most common sign of high blood sugar is feeling tired or fatigue. Fatigue is also a symptom that can occur in people without diabetes (or with prediabetes) when they consume a large amount of sugar or other simple carbs. This can occur even with mild and normal blood sugar fluctuations.
Fatigue or feeling tired can even be a sign of low blood sugar and is a pretty nonspecific symptom. If you notice fatigue occurring regularly right after you eat, especially after a carb-heavy meal, it may be related to rising blood sugar levels.
Some people complain of feeling tired after eating food like a large serving of pasta or potatoes, other carbohydrates, or sweets. If these foods are always making you incredibly sleepy, it could be a sign of high blood sugar.
Headaches caused by dehydration, or from any cause for that matter, can trigger headaches. Headaches can be a sign of numerous things, sometimes of something not so serious, but sometimes of something grave. Chronic headaches are worth getting checked out by a medical professional, whether it’s something new or occurring with other symptoms on this list.
It’s important to note that dehydration can worsen both your fatigue as well as your headaches.
4. Slow-healing Sores
Your body’s circulatory system is affected by high blood sugar levels, as well. This impairs blood flow and well as your body’s ability to heal itself. Sores or wounds that take a while to heal, especially on your feet, is one of the signs of high blood sugar.
5. Nausea, vomiting, confusion, and more
Although these symptoms are essentially different in kind, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, they are all signs of a life-threatening and rare state called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
Diabetic ketoacidosis can cause nausea, vomiting, confusion, as well as stomach pain, dry or flushed skin, trouble breathing, fruity-smelling breath, or even difficulty paying attention.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, diabetic ketoacidosis commonly occurs in individuals with type 1 diabetes and is often the first sign they are sick. DKA can also occur to a milder degree in type 2 diabetes, but this is rare.
Diabetic ketoacidosis happens when your liver is unable to use the sugar in your blood for energy without insulin. Your liver then begins to break down body fat into ketones, a type of fuel, at such a high rate, they make the blood acidic and become toxic.
Diabetic ketoacidosis can be fatal if left untreated, so it is important that anyone experiencing these symptoms seek medical care immediately.
6. Blurred Vision
Dr. Hatipoglu from the Cleveland Clinic explains that when there’s excess sugar in your blood, it can affect some unexpected parts of the body, such as your eyes. Extra sugar, paired with a little water, gets trapped in the lens in the middle of the eye and causes a blurred effect.
Blurred vision is temporary and is not the same as the potential damage to the eye that can occur with a condition like diabetes in the long term.
7. Recurring Infections
One of the high blood sugar symptoms is recurring infections. Consistent and chronic hyperglycemia can weaken your body’s immune response. High blood sugar makes it harder for your body to fight off certain infections, thus making them more lingering, frequent, or serious.
Frequent yeast infections are common in females who have diabetes. This is due to excess sugar from high blood sugar pouring out through the urine that helps feed the bacteria that cause these infections. According to the CDC, diabetes can also make an individual more prone to UTIs.
8. Dental Issues
Along with your blood, glucose is also present in your saliva. When there’s too much glucose, harmful bacteria in your mouth can grow and combine with food particles and create plaque.
Plaque leads to issues like cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, gingivitis, and bad breath. One of the first things to look out for are swollen, tender, and bleeding gums.
Many people don’t realize they have high blood sugar. Often your annual medical check-up may not reveal a problem because you are not in a pre-diabetic or diabetic state yet. The best time to address blood sugar imbalances is before disease sets in.