There are a few reasons why blood sugars run high in diabetes. Insulin is a big part of the problem. As you may know, insulin is needed to take sugar out of the blood. It also helps the body use sugar. A person with diabetes may not make enough insulin. Or, their insulin may not work well. Also, blood sugars go up when the liver sends more sugar into the blood than needed.
Once you have diabetes, blood sugars can run high for other reasons:
- Eating too much
- Too little exercise
- Under a lot of stress
- Not on the right pill or insulin program yet
You could label any blood sugar above normal as "too high". But short-term problems arise when blood sugars are really high.
If your blood sugar rises above 180 mg/dl-200 mg/dl, you may:
- Be very thirsty
- Urinate often
- Be hungry
- Feel tired
- Have blurry vision
- Suffer dry, itchy skin
- Lose weight without trying
If blood sugars stay high, your body can lose too much fluid. You may even need to see your doctor.
Conditions that result from high blood sugar:
If you have type 1 diabetes, high blood sugars can turn to a condition called ěKetoacidosisî. When too little insulin is in the body, blood sugar and ěketoneî levels go up. Ketones are made from fat when the body cannot use sugar for fuel. Ketones give the brain fuel when sugar isnít around. If ketones build up in the blood, they can make a person very sick. This can even lead to a coma and death. If you have type 1 diabetes, check your urine for ketones if your blood sugar is above 250 mg/dl. If you have moderate to large ketone levels, see a doctor right away.
If you have type 2 diabetes, high blood sugars can lead to a condition called ěHyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Nonketotic Syndromeî. The is a major problem caused by very high blood sugars and the body losing too much fluid. With this condition, blood sugar levels are often above 600 mg/dl. This problem can lead to coma and death. If you have blood sugars above 300 mg/dl twice in a row, contact your doctor. You can prevent this problem if you seek help early.
If you have further questions about hyperglycemia, contact your diabetes healthcare team.