Blood sugar may be something we think of in the abstract sense—as a set of numbers determined at an annual physical. But the amount of sugar in our blood is vital to how the body uses energy, along with other crucial functions, and if your levels are off, subtle but serious symptoms can develop. These are some of the physical signs that your blood sugar is too high. If you feel any of them regularly, it's a good idea to give your doctor a call. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
An Increased Urge to Urinate
One of the most common signs of high blood sugar is urinating more than normal. That happens because when sugar builds up in the bloodstream, the body tries to flush it out through urine. That process can have several other physical effects. Read on to find out what they are.
Increased urination can cause dehydration in two ways: Urinating more often deprives the body of fluids, and as blood sugar leaves the body, it actually leaches fluid away from other tissues. That can result in increased thirst. If you feel the need to drink more water than usual but find that your thirst isn't sated, it's a good idea to check in with your doctor.
People with high blood sugar may feel more frequently hungry. That's because high blood sugar actually prevents your body from using sugar (glucose) for fuel, so the body demands more food to compensate. Even if you eat more, you might find that you lose weight, as high blood sugar can cause the body to start burning its reserves of fat for energy.
Blood sugar often becomes chronically elevated because the body has become resistant to insulin, the hormone that helps cells use sugar for energy. Lacking that energy source, someone with high blood sugar might feel frequently fatigued.
Tingling or Numb Skin
Chronically high blood sugar can damage nerves throughout the body, a condition called diabetic neuropathy. The most common form is peripheral neuropathy, which affects the feet, legs, hands and arms. You may feel tingling, burning, numbness, decreased sensitivity to pain or temperature, or sharp pains or cramps in the affected areas.
Blurry Vision or Frequent Headaches
High blood sugar can cause the lenses of the eye to swell and become distorted, leading to blurry or double vision. Diabetes can cause blood vessels in the retina to leak, or abnormal new blood vessels to grow, leading to vision problems and a condition called diabetic retinopathy. It's the leading cause of blindness in American adults.
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