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Warning Signs Your Blood Sugar is "Dangerously High"

Five signs of high blood sugar to look out for. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Blood sugar is a vital part of our overall well-being and when there's an imbalance your health is at risk for serious complications like heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. "Simply put, it's your body's main source of energy. You can't survive without it,"  Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, Urgent Care Medical Director and Physician, Carbon Health and Saint Mary's Hospital tells us. The symptoms of high blood sugar can range from subtle to signs you can't ignore and Dr. Curry-Winchell explains what to look out for and why. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


What to Know About Blood Sugar

doctor with glucometer and insulin pen device talking to male patient at medical office in hospital

According to the Cleveland Clinic, "Hyperglycemia, or high blood glucose, occurs when there is too much sugar in the blood. This happens when your body has too little insulin (the hormone that transports glucose into the blood), or if your body can't use insulin properly. The condition is most often linked with diabetes."


If This is Your Blood Sugar Number, It's Too High

A young diabetic woman checking her blood sugar levels at home

Dr. Curry-Winchell explains, "A blood sugar level (glucose) greater than 180, one to two hours after eating is considered too high. A number from 100 to 125 is considered too high if you haven't eaten for at least 8 hours."


The Dangers of Untreated High Blood Sugar

asian elder couple use blood glucose meter and worry about it

According to Dr. Curry-Winchell, "Too much sugar in the bloodstream for an extended amount of time will damage your blood vessels responsible for delivering blood to organs such as your heart and kidney."


Why Some People Don't Know They Have High Blood Sugar


Dr. Curry-Winchell tells us, "Not everyone will notice signs of high blood sugar. Some of the symptoms can be subtle such as fatigue or an increase in thirst can develop slowly."


Feeling Tired

"Extra sugar (glucose) does not mean more energy," Dr. Curry-Winchell emphasizes. "The body is not able to use the excess sugar to fuel what your body needs for extra activity."


Increased Urination/Thirst

woman in bed feeling thirsty reaching for water

"The kidneys are unable to filter excess sugar in your blood and respond by attempting to remove it — which increases the amount of time/frequency you urinate and puts you at risk for dehydration," says Dr. Curry-Winchell.


Weight Loss

Fat overweight woman measuring her waist

 Dr. Curry-Winchell explains, "If you are losing weight (involuntarily), although your appetite has increased or stayed the same. This happens because there isn't enough insulin to respond to excess glucose in the body. To supply your body with energy, the body uses stored fat and muscle."


Changes in Vision

Woman rubbing her eyes.

Dr. Curry-Winchell tells us, "Elevated glucose levels can increase the amount of blood vessels that form behind the eye (retina). The extra vessels are harmful and can lead to a risk of becoming blind." 


Numbness and Tingling

Swollen feet

"Nerve damage also referred to as neuropathy can occur which can signal numbness or tingling in your fingers, toes, hands, and feet," Dr. Curry-Winchell says.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather