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

Don’t let high blood sugar undermine your health.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, is a dangerous health condition generally associated with diabetes. If left untreated, high blood sugar can lead to stroke, heart disease, blindness, and more—so early diagnosis and treatment is crucial. "With proper self-management and good education, people with diabetes can live long, healthy lives," says Rita Rastogi Kalyani, MD, MHS. "If well-controlled, it should not detract from their quality of life but will require some adjustments to their daily routine." Here are five signs your blood sugar 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.

1

Fatigue

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Feeling tired, especially after eating a meal, could be a sign of high blood sugar levels. "People will say, 'I want to nap after lunch,' or 'I just cannot open my eyelids after dinner,' often after eating something like a lot of pasta or potatoes or sweets," says Deena Adimoolam, MD, assistant professor of endocrinology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

2

Needing To Urinate Constantly

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Finding yourself needing the bathroom more than usual could be a sign of dangerously high blood sugar. "Your kidneys start trying to pour out more sugar to get rid of it. And as they excrete the sugar, they pull out water with it," says Dr. Adimoolam.

3

Thirst

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Excessive thirst is linked to frequent urination, doctors explain. "The body can sense that excess water is being lost because of the frequent urinating and the normal response is to become thirsty," says James Norman, MD, FACS, FACE.

4

Vision Issues

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the US. "We have great treatments for diabetic retinopathy," says Cindy Xinji Cai, MD. "However, it is important to get regular eye examinations so that your doctor can offer you these treatments as soon as you might need them… In addition to getting your eyes checked, it's also very important to keep the blood sugars under control. This is not only good for you overall, but also good for your eyes."

5

Constant Hunger

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"The classic symptom of being hungry frequently stems from the fact that a person with diabetes cannot utilize glucose well as an energy source within cells," says Dr. Norman. "The glucose is circulating in the blood, but the cells can't absorb it to use it as a fuel."

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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