You are worried that you may be experiencing warning signs of high blood sugar.
As sweet drinks and sugary food had always been your favorite.
Or you feel something is wrong with your body, but you are not sure what it really is.
Or your friends and family has been nagging you to check your blood sugar as they feel something is not right.
Why I Wrote This Article
My own uncle died of a failed kidney due to high blood sugar and diabetes. He worked himself very hard to raise his family and ignore all the warnings of his family members to get himself checked until it was too late. By the time he really went to see a doctor, his blood sugar was super high at 20mmol/L (360mg/dL) and his kidney was almost half damaged. Dialysis kept him alive for 2 more years before he succumbed to a failed kidney and water retention problems. He left behind a wife with 3 school going children with a empty education fund as most of his earnings had been used for the medical treatment.
Back then, I was still a young pharmacy undergraduate and did not have the experience to detect his problem and counsel him. My heart breaks thinking of our family that he left behind and how his wife and kids struggled to survive after that.
I need to spread the message of knowing whats wrong with your body and taking care of yourself before its too late.
Understanding High Blood Sugar & Type II Diabetes
High blood sugar occurs when our body poorly digest and do not use up the excess sugars that come in. This happens when we take too much sugary food or drinks than our body can handle and do not exercise enough to burn away the sugar. This causes the excess sugar to crowd around our blood and travel throughout our body organs to cause harm in the long run.
Of course there is also the genetic factor, where is your either one of your parents have diabetes, you stand a high chance of getting it too.
To make it easier to understand imagine this situation, I made an analogy below :
Its rush hour after work, and all the cars want to go home at the same time. Imagine all the cars during the rush hour getting stuck at the toll. There is a super long queue and traffic is moving barely inches at a time. People in their cars are getting tired and cranky and some accidents may even occur.
The rush hour cars are the sugars. If excessive blood sugar goes into our body (the toll booth), we cannot process them in time, and ends up the blood sugar gets stuck in our body. This results in poor blood circulation and high blood sugar leading to diabetes and other scary stuff.
Warning Signs of High Blood Sugar
So what are the warning signs that you may have high blood sugar ?
Please note that the all symptoms mentioned here may not happen to everyone. Sometimes if your blood sugar had just started to increase you would not even notice anything. And most people only notice 1 -2 symptoms .
1. Ants In The Toilet
You notice ants in the toilet, which had never happened before.
When your blood sugar gets above 10.mmol/L (180mg/dL) , your kidney cannot effectively handle the sugars anymore, causing the sugars to spill over to urine. The urine will get “sweet” and start attracting ants and also cause urine infections and fungal infections near the genitals.
2. You Need To Pee More Often
You find yourself going to urine more often than you used to. This happens even more often at night.
This happens when the excess blood sugar in your body negatively affects your kidney’s ability to absorb water back into the body. So when your blood glucose increases, you tend to pee more.
3. You Feel Extra Thirsty
You have been feeling extra thirsty lately even though you already have been drinking lots of water or drinks.
This happens when you tend to urine more due to high blood sugar. Also, high blood sugar makes your body feel ‘heavy’ and require more water.
4. You Feel More Tired Or Have Trouble Concentrating
You used to be full of energy, but lately people around you have been complaining that you feel tired all the time. You don’t have much mood to do things nowadays.
High blood sugar jams up your body like the toll booth traffic jam example I gave earlier. Blood circulation is poor and your body organs don’t perform well causing the whole body to work less efficiently. That is why you feel tired constantly.
5. Your Appetite Increased
You noticed you are getting hungry faster and you tend to eat more, especially high sugary food.
In uncontrolled diabetes where blood glucose levels remain abnormally high (hyperglycemia), glucose from the blood cannot enter the cells – due to either a lack of insulin or insulin resistance. The body can’t convert the food you eat into energy.
This lack of energy causes an increase in hunger.
6. Unexplained Weight Loss
If you did not intentionally diet nor exercise, but people around you have commented that you are losing a fair amount of weight, you need to get yourself checked.
In people with high blood glucose, insufficient insulin prevents the body from getting glucose from the blood into the body’s cells to use as energy. When this occurs, the body starts burning fat and muscle for energy, causing a reduction in overall body weight.
7. You See Things Blurry
If you noticed you have blurry vision and it seems to be getting worst, your blood sugar may be too high.
High levels of blood sugar resulting from diabetes can affect your ability to see by causing the lens inside the eye to swell, which can result in temporary blurring of eyesight.
8. Your Heal Too Slow
You noticed your cuts and wounds are healing at a very slow rate compared to before. High blood glucose attracts bacteria and other germs and causes slow healing or can even make the infection spread bigger.
Its like the germs are having a cocktail slumber party inside your wounds as sugar in the blood is delicious to them and they don’t want to leave.
9. Your Fingers Or Feet Feel Numb
Your fingers and feet feel “cold” or you can hardly feel them much anymore. You have noticed your finger or toes has been getting numb for quite so time.
You may have peripheral neuropathy, a nerve damage caused by chronically high blood sugar and diabetes. It leads to numbness, loss of sensation, and sometimes pain in your feet, legs, or hands.
You are getting more headaches than you had ever experienced. When your blood sugar goes haywire, sudden too high or too low blood sugar will make your head seemed like they want to explode!
11. Your Fasting Blood Sugar Goes Above 126mg/dL (7.0mmol/L)
This is the most scientifically verified method of knowing your blood sugar is high. The best and only way to know if you have high blood sugar is to test your blood .You can easily hop into your doctor’s office to get it tested, go to your nearest pharmacy or just buy a home blood sugar monitor.
Ideally, if you test before food (fasting), a healthy blood sugar should be less than 6.0mmol/L (108mg/dL).
If your blood glucose is way beyond 126mg/dL (7.0mmol/L) , you may have high blood sugar.
Please refer to the chart here for the interpretations of your results .
Reference : Diabetes Organization UK
If you are experiencing any single one of the warning signs of high blood sugar above, please don’t wait to test your blood sugar.
You can get yourself checked out by your doctor or you can do your own home blood glucose test. If your blood glucose is high even though you go for a second or third test, you may be a diabetic or your diabetes is not in control.
You can refer to my article on When To Test Blood Sugar here. (read more)
Don’t procrastinate or just pretend to ignore the problem as many other do. Don’t be like my uncle.
Early detection can stop high blood sugar turning into full blown diabetes if you do something about it. Make lifestyle changes and listen to your doctor’s advice on reducing your blood sugar.
If you have family members or friends that you truly care about, please forward this article to them. Tell them to get themselves checked early on.
What’s your take on high blood sugar? Please share them in the comment box below.