Blood sugar is not always the bad guy. You need some sugar (glucose) in your cells for energy, according to Tufts Medical Center. We get glucose from the foods we eat.
Yet too much sugar in your blood is not good for your health. Your body uses insulin, a hormone in the pancreas, to help move glucose from the blood into the cells. When your body does not have enough insulin or has trouble using its own insulin, glucose can’t get into your cells and builds up in your blood.
Blood sugar that stays high, or hyperglycemia, is linked with diabetes. According to EndocrineWeb.com, which has an editorial board comprised of medical professionals, people with type 1 diabetes stop making insulin to help their bodies use glucose. People with type 2 diabetes may have enough insulin, but their body doesn’t use it well, meaning they’re insulin resistant.
What could make my blood sugar high?
Summit Medical Group lists a number of possible causes for hyperglycemia, some of which we can control and some we can’t. These include:
- Eating too many calories, too many carbohydrates, or too many high-sugar foods and drinks
- Not taking your diabetes medicine when you should, or not taking the right amount
- Not getting enough physical activity (exercise helps lowers your blood sugar)
- Being stressed or sick
- Taking medicines, such as steroids, for other medical problems
What are the symptoms?
Early symptoms of hyperglycemia can include headaches, trouble concentrating, blurred vision, extreme thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, and weight loss, according to Summit Medical Group.
Over time, ongoing hyperglycemia can have even more symptoms. According to WebMD, these include vaginal and skin infections, slow-healing cuts and sores, constipation and/or diarrhea. Another symptom might be nerve damage that causes painful cold and/or loss of body hair on lower extremities.
What can I do about it?
If you suspect you have high blood sugar, seeing a doctor can help you find the right treatment plan for you. Healthcare professionals prescribe medication based on the individual’s blood sugar, so one patient’s prescription may not be the same as another patient with similar symptoms. Moreover, your treatment plan may change as your blood sugar level changes, so it’s important to follow up with your doctor. If your doctor does diagnose you with hyperglycemia, he or she will probably instruct you to use an at-home blood sugar monitor. This may happen especially if you have diabetes, according to Chemocare.com, a website run by Cleveland Clinic.
Generally, though, regular exercise and a balanced diet can help keep your blood sugar at a healthy level. Tufts Medical Center recommends keeping your sugar intake at a minimum. They also suggest that your diet should be less than 50% carbohydrates.