Signs Your Glucose Level is "Way Too High"
High blood sugar—also known as hyperglycemia—is a result of too much insulin in the body, and commonly linked to diabetes. "Your body needs glucose to properly function," says Amy Hess-Fischl, MS, RD, LDN, BC-ADM, CDCES. "Your cells rely on glucose for energy. Hyperglycemia is a defining characteristic of diabetes—when the blood glucose level is too high because the body isn't properly using or doesn't make the hormone insulin." So what are the signs your glucose level is way too high? Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Needing to urinate more than usual can be a sign of high blood sugar. "The excess blood sugar molecules also 'spill' into the urine, meaning that as the blood filters through the kidneys, some of the sugar comes out of the blood and is not reabsorbed," says James Norman, MD, FACS, FACE. "The extra sugar which is now in the urine causes water molecules to follow (a normal physics principle) and therefore the person with diabetes urinates frequently (the second classic symptom of diabetes)."
Increased thirst as a result of high blood sugar is directly related to the increase in urination: "The body can sense that excess water is being lost because of the frequent urinating and the normal response is to become thirsty," says Dr. Norman.
Fatigue and hunger go hand in hand, thanks to the inability of cells to use the glucose from your blood. "If your body isn't making enough insulin – or any at all – or your cells resist your insulin, glucose can't get into the cells," says Mary Johnson, director of Diabetes Quality and Education at Geisinger. "That means you won't have energy and you can feel more tired and more hungry than usual."
Blurry vision is strongly linked to low blood sugar. "Blurred vision, or any changes to your vision can be quite concerning," says Dr. Russel Lazarus, B.Optom (Hons) M.Optom. "But before you panic, understand that although blurry vision is commonly associated with diabetes, it can sometimes just be a temporary problem. High blood sugar levels can cause fluid to move in and out of parts of your eye, often leading to swelling of the eye's lens. The lens is responsible for focusing light onto the retina at the back of your eye. When the lens swells, the shape of the lens is affected, consequently affecting your ability to see clearly. When blurry vision is a result of hyperglycemia, clear vision will typically return when blood sugar levels fall within a normal range— usually between 70-130 mg/dL before meals, and less than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after meals."
High blood sugar can impact the ability to enjoy sex for both men and women. "Sexual dysfunction includes any problems that happen within the sexual response cycle," says endocrinologist Shirisha Avadhanula, MD. "Everything from attaining an erection to reduced libido can be an issue for people living with diabetes. Obesity, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and depression are common conditions that occur alongside diabetes. Obesity can indirectly lead to erectile dysfunction (ED). Sleep apnea can cause ED for men or put women at a higher risk for sexual difficulties. Depression and anxiety can also negatively impact the libido or lead to the use of medication that affects sexual interest or function."
When Should I See a Doctor?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, please talk to your health provider and discuss which treatment might be best for you. And to prevent hyperglycemia, says the Cleveland Clinic:
- "Exercise to help lower blood sugar. Work with your healthcare provider to make a daily activity plan.
- Follow your meal plan if you have one. Learn how carbohydrates impact your blood sugar, and work with your diabetes care team to find the best meal plan for you.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Don't smoke. Limit alcohol."