If you’re experiencing diabetes, you know how important it is to control your blood sugar or blood glucose levels. When your blood sugar levels are too high, you may or may feel any symptoms. Nevertheless, not addressing the problem potentially causes serious medical issues down the line.
That’s why we are talking about high blood sugar (what it is, what causes it, and how to control it) in this comprehensive post.
Let’s dive in.
What Is High Blood Sugar?
Blood sugar (glucose) level is the quantity of sugar or glucose in the blood. Glucose (a sugar) comes from the foods we consume, and is created and stored in our bodies. Think of glucose as the body’s fuel: It fuels the cells in the body and is transported to each cell via the bloodstream.
Hyperglycemia is the medical term for high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels occur when the body cannot produce insulin (type 1 or 1.5 diabetes) or when the body cannot react properly to insulin (type 2 diabetes). The body needs insulin for glucose in the bloodstream to gain entry into cells where it can be used for energy. Hyperglycemia occurs when glucose accumulates in the bloodstream.
Having a high concentration of sugar in your blood for a long time could cause some serious health issues if left untreated. Hyperglycemia may cause damage to vessels that provide blood to vital organs which can increase your risk for heart disease, kidney disease, nerve and vision problems, and stroke.
These problems usually arise in adults with diabetes, especially if they haven’t managed their diabetes well.
Blood sugar levels are considered high when they are above your target range (this target range should be provided by your healthcare provider).
What Causes High Blood Sugar Levels?
Managing diabetes can be a balancing act as you need to monitor the medicines you take, the food you consume and the amount of exercise and rest you get. If any of those are off-balance, your blood sugar levels can be off-balance too. Those are however not the only factors that affect blood sugar levels. Let’s dive in some more.
Lifestyle Risk Factors
- Obesity: body fat makes cells more resistant to insulin.
- Lack of exercise: your body uses glucose to fuel itself and burns it off when active. If a person isn’t active, glucose accumulates to unhealthy levels.
- High blood pressure: The higher your blood pressure, the higher your risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Smoking: According to the CDC, smokers are 30-40% more likely to become type 2 diabetics than non-smokers.
- Cholesterol and Triglyceride levels: lack of high-density lipoprotein or too much triglycerides increases risk for type 2 diabetes.
- Inadequate sleep
For a thorough overview of the lifestyle factors at work, download a free copy of the Guide to Overcoming Diabetes Naturally.
According to The American Diabetic Association, “diabetes does not seem to be inherited in a simple pattern. Yet clearly some people are born more likely to develop diabetes than others.” Studies have shown that nutrition and lifestyle factors play key roles.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of High Blood Sugar Levels?
Signs of high blood sugar levels include:
Urinating in excess: Your kidneys respond to excess glucose in your blood by expelling extra glucose in urine. People with hyperglycemia need to urinate more frequently and in larger quantities.
Thirst: As a result of losing excess fluid from excessive urination, a person can become thirsty.
Unexplained weight loss: Weight loss while appetite remains the same. If insulin levels are low, the body breaks down muscle and stored fats to provide fuel to cells.
Fatigue: Unusual fatigue since the body can’t use glucose for energy efficiently.
Diet Is More Important Than You Think in Managing High Blood Sugar
Diabetics have successfully managed to control their blood sugar levels by eating a low-fat, whole-food plant-based diet coupled with exercise. In particular, diabetics on low-fat, whole food plant-based diets have greater success with weight loss and blood sugar management than those who follow other diet plans and guidelines.
I’ve put together a free guide on how to overcome diabetes naturally. Check it out!
Check your blood sugar levels regularly. If your blood sugar is elevated you may feel thirsty, hungry, dizzy when you stand or even nauseated. If your blood glucose levels keep rising, you may experience confusion. Treat this as an emergency and go to hospital.
If you feel unwell and your blood sugar has been over 300 mg/dL twice in a row, your health care provider should be notified immediately.
For additional resources and tips, download the FREE Guide to Overcoming Diabetes Naturally.