High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, occurs when the body has insufficient amounts of insulin or can’t use insulin effectively. High blood sugar is a sign of Diabetes, a disease in which blood sugar levels are too high due to the body’s inability to effectively regulate or produce insulin. Left untreated, high blood sugar can cause serious and permanent damage, so it’s important to know the warning signs.
High levels of blood sugar cause fatigue, as blood with high sugar levels moves slowly which prohibits the body’s organs from receiving sufficient blood supply. If left untreated, this can cause permanent tissue and/or organ damage. You can experience both mental and physical fatigue, due to insufficient blood flow to the brain and muscles.
When your body is unable to effectively process the sugar in your blood, the excess sugar makes its way to your kidneys to be processed out. This places extra strain on the kidneys, and as they go into overdrive to try and process out the sugar, it typically leads to a fuller bladder and more frequent urination. This ties in to another symptom of high blood sugar - increased thirst.
As urination in the body increases due to the excess sugar levels in your blood, your body will start to become dehydrated. This causes you to feel thirsty, signaling you to drink more water to try and compensate for the increased urination. Unfortunately, this significant thirst can cause you to drink too much water, which can dilute the blood, electrolytes, and nutrients in your body. Lacking electrolytes and nutrients can cause GI symptoms to occur.
As the body becomes dehydrated as a result of increased urination, dry mouth will develop. Dehydration causes decreased levels of saliva in the mouth. Signs of dry mouth include chapped lips, a rough or dry tongue, and mouth sores.
Over time, high blood sugar levels can result in significant damage to the GI tract. Sustained levels of high blood sugar damage the vagus nerve, which is responsible for muscle movements along the digestive tract. When the vagus nerve is damaged, your body can have difficulty moving food through the GI tract, leading to heartburn, vomiting, bloating, and unexplained weight loss.
The onset of recurrent headaches can be indicative of high blood sugar. Headaches caused by high blood pressure aren’t typically severe, but they tend to come on gradually and can last for several days.
Consistent high blood sugar causes inflammation to increase in the body, particularly in the lense of the eye. This can cause an onset of blurred vision, which can cause permanent damage if left untreated.
Consistently high blood sugar levels prevent your body from converting the glucose in your blood to energy for your cells. This means that your body continues to send hunger signals, as your brain recognizes that your cells are not receiving sufficient energy from your food. As a result, you may feel constantly hungry or never quite full. This is part of why exercise is so important for patients with diabetes, as exercise lowers glucose levels in the blood, allowing some glucose to be converted into energy for your body.
Since high blood sugar slows down blood flow, patients can develop brain fog as a result of insufficient blood flow to the brain. Brain fog causes patients to have difficulty concentrating, recalling certain words or details, and overall they may just feel like their thinking is sluggish and challenging.
Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath is a worrying symptom, which typically only occurs after prolonged levels of high blood sugar are present and left untreated.
If you believe you may have diabetes, please talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Left untreated, diabetes can be life-threatening and the consequences of waiting can be severe.