Maintaining your blood sugar levels at a constant level is extremely important. There are about 29 million people who have diabetes in the U.S., but one in four people do not realize that they have high blood sugar. However, catching it early can help you get treated and avoid the complications later down the road.
How Blood Sugar Works
The foods we eat are digested in our stomach, which is broken down and turned into glucose that our bodies use for energy. The stomach and small intestine absorb the glucose then release it into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, our bodies use glucose for energy. It can be used immediately or stored for later use. Insulin is also needed, for the use of storing or using glucose as energy.
Insulin is a hormone made by beta cells in the pancreas. Normally, beta cells check the blood’s glucose level every few seconds. The beta cells sense when they need to speed up or slow down the amount of insulin they’re making and releasing.
The amount of glucose and insulin in our bloodstream depend on what we eat and how much. People who have a family history of diabetes, overweight, or physically inactive are at risk for diabetes. However, it is a good idea to be tested by your doctor regularly. Being sick or under stress can cause your blood sugar to spike. Having multiple tests that show your glucose levels elevated, then you may have a problem. Here are some signs that you should look out for.
Signs Of High Blood Sugar
1. Constantly have to urinate. Unbalanced glucose levels can damage the nerves that control bladder function. This can lead to overactive bladder, making it difficult to control the sphincter muscles that help retain and release urine. It can even make it difficult to empty the bladder.
2. The need to drink a lot. The constant need to urinate will cause you to be thirsty even dehydrated.
3. You are tired all the time. When your cells are not getting the right amount of glucose, then they can not turn the glucose into energy. Your body will feel like you are more tired than usual.
4. Your vision is blurry or even lose your vision. Excess amounts of glucose can affect your retina, impairing your vision.
5. Numbing and tingling, even pain. High blood sugar can damage nerve fibers in the body. A condition called peripheral neuropathy is a common symptom where your toes are numb and you have a tingling in your fingers.
6. Stomach problems. Severe constipation, even episodes of diarrhea. Uncontrolled blood sugar can cause food in the stomach to move slower to the small intestine, even stop moving. The stomach can not absorb the nutrients properly.
7. Memory loss. High blood sugar, over time, can cause poor circulation to the brain. This can lead to poor memory, brain atrophy, and even at risk of stroke.
8. Kidney problems. Your kidneys filter excess sugar from the blood. Over time, the kidneys become scarred. The kidneys can no longer function properly and can even fail.
9. Bad breath and tooth decay. Sugar in your saliva feeds the bacteria in your mouth which can leave a sticky plaque on your teeth. Plaque can lead to tooth decay and bad breath. Over time, this can cause gums to bleed and become painful. High blood sugar can also cause dry mouth and cracked lips, even thrush. Thrush is a fungal infection that can cause white sores and red patches on your gums, cheeks, and roof of your mouth.
10. Painful, dry itchy skin. When your blood sugar is high over a period of time, your body loses fluid causing your skin to become cracked, dry, and itchy. Yeast-like fungal infections can show up under the breast and groin area in women. This can become very irritated and painful.
11. Urinary tract infections. Your bladder becomes a breeding ground for bacteria when they are emptied properly.
12. Losing weight without trying to. Insufficient insulin prevents the body from getting glucose from the blood into your body’s cells. This causes the body to burn fat and muscle for energy instead.
13. Headaches. Fasting, skipping meals, or eating high-sugar foods can trigger headaches and migraines known as hypoglycaemic headaches.
14. Feet become infected. Poor circulation caused by uncontrolled glucose levels can lead to not having enough blood flow to your feet. This makes it harder for your feet to heal a sore or infection.
*Note: This is not to be used to diagnose yourself. If you have these symptoms, I recommend speaking to your doctor to get tested.
Special thanks to MaxPixel for cover photo