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The #1 Sign Your Blood Sugar is "Way Too High"

Never ignore these signs of high blood sugar.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, is a result of too much sugar in the blood due to a lack of insulin in the body. Often linked to diabetes, if left untreated it can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, vision issues, kidney disease, nerve problems, and more. Here are symptoms of high blood sugar you should never ignore. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Increased Appetite

two women in PJs eating pizza in bed

If you're experiencing an unusual increase in hunger, high blood sugar could be the reason. "Even after you eat, you may still feel very hungry," say Amy Hess-Fischl, MS, RD, LDN, BC-ADM, CDCES, and Lisa M. Leontis RN, ANP-C. "That's because your muscles aren't getting the energy they need from the food; your body's insulin resistance keeps glucose from entering the muscle and providing energy. Therefore, the muscles and other tissues send a 'hunger' message, trying to get more energy into the body."


Increased Urination


Are you suddenly finding yourself having to pee a lot more than usual? Increased urination—also known as polyuria—is linked to high blood sugar and diabetes. "When diabetes raises your blood sugar, your body may not be able to bring all of the glucose back in when it passes through your kidneys. Instead, your body will try to get rid of the excess by making more urine," says Mary Johnson, director of Diabetes Quality and Education at Geisinger.

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Weight Loss


Don't ignore unexplained weight loss—it would be linked to high blood sugar. "When we diagnose someone, we assume they have probably already had diabetes for about five years," says endocrinologist Kevin Pantalone, DO. "Often what happens is people minimize the symptoms or rationalize them and they get worse until they become severe enough that they have to see someone. They have excessive weight loss or are really tired of peeing all night."

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Woman sleeping on the couch in the living room.

Tired all the time? You might want to have your blood sugar levels checked. "There's no question that fluctuations in your blood sugar levels can cause fatigue," states Diabetes Care Canada. "When your blood sugars are too high, for example, the blood can't circulate as efficiently and your cells don't get the oxygen and nutrients they need to function optimally. High blood sugar can also cause inflammation. This in turn, releases cells called monocytes into the brain causing fatigue. Similarly, if your blood sugars are too low, your cells aren't getting enough fuel to work well either, which affects your energy levels."

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The #1 Sign: The Thirst Is Real

woman drinking water

Excessive thirst is one of the main symptoms of diabetes. "No matter how much you drink, it feels like you're still dehydrated," say Hess-Fischl and Leontis. "Your tissues (such as your muscles) are, in fact, dehydrated when there's too much glucose (sugar) in your blood. Your body pulls fluid from the tissues to try to dilute the blood and counteract the high glucose, so your tissues will be dehydrated and send the message that you need to drink more. This is also associated with increased urination."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan
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