As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat.” What you put into your body has a direct impact on how your body reacts. The more sugar you put into your body, the higher your blood sugar, also known as glucose, is. High blood sugar may cause the development of diabetes. When you consume food, your body breaks it down and absorbs the nutrients into the bloodstream. The blood then delivers the nutrients throughout the rest of your body to help energize the cells in your body, ranging from brain cells to muscle cells.
If you eat foods with a high sugar content, your body absorbs the sugar and turns it into glucose. Some sugar is fine in your body, but any extra sugar your body doesn’t use for energy is sent to your liver, after the pancreas produces insulin, to reduce the high level of glucose in your body. If your blood sugar level remains high, your pancreas may struggle to produce enough insulin and, eventually, fail to function correctly.
When it fails to function correctly, the blood circulation throughout your body will cause problems in the extremities and you might develop diabetes. Due to this, it is important for you to avoid over-consuming sugar and foods high in sugar (which includes many kinds of carbohydrates, like bread and pasta, as sugars are nothing more than simple carbs). Due to all the negative side effects, you need to know what the signs and symptoms are of high blood sugar.
What Is High Blood Sugar (Hyperglycemia)?
High blood sugar occurs when you have an elevated level of glucose in your body. If you eat food high in sugar, your body will release insulin to offset the elevated levels of glucose. This sends the unnecessary sugar to your liver, and often to your fat cells. Many people gain weight when their blood sugar is chronically high. Others remain thin to the eyes, but inside are developing fatty liver and exist in a constant state of swinging between extremes of exhaustion and “nervous energy.”
Your body uses blood sugar for energy. If you have ever gone for a long run and craved sugar, such as ice cream or something else sweet, it’s because your body has burned through its level of glucose and its blood sugar levels are low. This happens during the keto diet, when carbs are almost entirely eliminated from a diet, and this forces the body to first crave more glucose, and then to turn on the fat storage cells and use these cells for energy.
If the level of blood sugar in your body is too high and the pancreas cannot produce the level of insulin to send this excess to the liver, you risk developing serious medical problems. Due to this, you need to know how to identify signs of high blood sugar in your body. This way, you can reduce sugar and carb consumption and help level off your body’s blood sugar.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of High Blood Sugar?
From time to time just about everyone has a temporary spike in their blood sugar. You might have picked up the carton of cookies during a late night Netflix binge and, before you knew what happened, you ate the entire carton of cookies. That will spike your blood sugar, but as long as you avoid further sugar consumption over the next few days your blood sugar will drop back down. While not desirable, it is something just about everyone has done. However, extensively elevated blood sugar leads to these significant medical problems, which is why you need to be mindful of these problems.
Being Extra Thirsty
Do you feel thirstier than normal? Staying hydrated is important. Your body needs water, and if you feel thirsty, it means you’re probably dehydrated. So if you’re drinking at least the recommended 64 ounces of water a day you likely won’t have this kind of issue. If you are drinking at least this amount and yet you still constantly feel thirsty, it might be because you have high blood sugar.
Along with being thirsty all the time, you’ll also urinate more often. Your body feels thirsty because it is trying to get rid of the unnecessary glucose. If you do not have enough water in your system, your kidneys cannot filter out the sugar, which leads to a saturated level of blood sugar in your blood. Your body is craving the water to rid itself of this sugar and help level off the sugar levels. If you do not drink water, you may feel dizzy.
In this way, high blood sugar and low blood sugar share a similarity. With low blood sugar you might feel dizzy and weak. However, this usually only happens after you have exerted yourself (such as from a long hike or time on the exercise bike). Your body at this point craves glucose to replenish the energy it burned. You will not feel dehydrated though.
Constantly Hungry, Yet Dropping Weight
Do you find you’re always hungry yet you’re not gaining weight? It’s not because your metabolism has reverted to when you were a kid running around the back yard. It’s because your body has high blood sugar and has turned to breaking down muscle cells in your body for energy. With high blood sugar your body cannot process all of this for energy and tries to flush it out. However, it can turn to your muscle cells for fast energy.
When all of this happens your body will break down muscle. This means you’re losing weight, but not good weight. Muscle burns calories so you want to maintain more muscle tissue (this is why muscular individuals can consume more calories because their bodies will burn more calories). So if you’re eating more but losing weight there’s a good chance you’re dropping muscle weight and experiencing an elevated blood sugar level.
Always Feeling Tired
Do you feel constantly tired? It could be because you’re drinking too much coffee in the morning and then you’re suffering the classic coffee crash after lunch. Or, it might also be because you have high blood sugar. If you have high blood sugar, you have too much glucose in your body and not enough insulin to push the glucose to your liver and out the body. Your body should use the sugar for energy. Because your body cannot process this heightened amount, it will end up staying in your blood (instead of being pushed into your cells for energy). This results in a lack of energy, resulting in you feeling tired.
Vision is Blurry
Blurry vision is never good. Outside waking where your eyes need time to adjust, blurry vision is typically a sign of a health problem. If your vision isn’t as crisp as it normally is it may mean the high blood sugar is causing your lenses to swell with fluid leaking into your eyes. This will cause a small shift in the shape of your lens, which leads to your eyes inability to focus on the right subject. When this happens you’ll experience blurry vision.
If you have blurry vision from high blood sugar, you’ll also suffer from headaches, have problems focusing on paperwork or your computer, and you may struggle to pick up objects while driving. Blurry vision may be a sign of not getting enough sleep and other conditions, so if you’re experiencing any of the other symptoms and blurry vision there’s a good chance it is due to high blood sugar.
Cuts That Take Longer to Heal
Have you noticed scabs on your body remaining for longer periods of time? Maybe you have a cut that just won’t stay closed. It’s not because your body is suddenly older and isn’t able to handle repairing itself. This is because of too much glucose in your blood. Prolonged high blood sugar can lead to the development of diabetes.
If you have diabetes, you’ll have nerve damage, which will reduce your blood circulation. Due to this, if you have a cut on your feet or your hands you will not have the same circulation to these areas, which means the cuts do not heal as fast, will take longer to clot, and may linger on for months where previously it would have been better in a few weeks.
Have you noticed new skin tags developing? If you’re out in the sun, a great deal you may develop new moles, which you should have checked out by a doctor anyway. These skin tags differ from moles though and may get caught on your shirts and jewelry. When you develop skin tags, it may be due to insulin resistance, resulting in these skin abnormalities.
You need to be careful with what you eat. Do not over indulge on sugars and other foods high in simple carbs. This will lead to prolonged high blood sugar, which can develop into diabetes. If you suffer from at least one of these symptoms it’s important for you to schedule an appointment with your doctor to determine what exactly is going on.