What Are Some Common High Blood Sugar Symptoms

Diabetics frequently experience high blood sugar or hyperglycemia because their body lacks insulin, the key component used to breakdown glucose. Non-diabetics can experience the same condition because of an unbalanced diet (the consumption of too many simple sugars and complex carbohydrates) or after alcohol consumption. In most cases, the warning signs indicating increased glucose levels will fade naturally in non-diabetics. But individuals with diabetes must be vigilant about caring for their condition, because benign high blood sugar symptoms can progress in severity if left untreated.

Hidden Indicators

Individuals with high blood sugar may not even be aware the levels are elevated because they are asymptomatic or warning signs are dismissed, and often attributed to other common conditions. Often there is an increase in energy in non-diabetics, attributed to a “sugar rush.” However, this effect fades as the glucose is metabolized, and can leave individuals feeling groggy or fatigued.
Diabetics may experience an increase in energy as well, but it is accompanied by other high blood sugar symptoms including increased thirst and urination. This is the caused by the body attempting to eliminate glucose from the bloodstream because it is unable (type 1) or partially able (type 2) to complete the breakdown process.

Routine home testing with glucose monitors and test strips help diabetics easily detect the early stages of hyperglycemia. Restoring balance is a simple process and will not require medical attention in the majority of cases. Type 1 diabetics will administer prescribed levels of insulin, while those with type 2 diabetes will take medication and/or insulin injections as indicated by a healthcare provider.

The Progression of Hyperglycemia

Left untreated, the severity of high blood sugar symptoms will increase. In some individuals, the progression between stages can be rapid – especially if a meal high in simple sugars and carbohydrates is consumed. Diabetics, some non-diabetics (though rare) and individuals with undiagnosed diabetes will experience:

  • Increasing levels of hunger, thirst and urination
  • Dry mouth and inability to quench their thirst
  • Sudden, unexplained fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight loss (the result of repeated episodes of hyperglycemia)

Severe Cases of High Blood Sugar

As high blood sugar symptoms progress through the moderate stages, they can become increasingly severe. Uncontrolled diabetes or unchecked sugar levels can cause:

  • Ketoacidosis
  • Dehydration
  • Impairment of the nervous system
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Coma
  • Death

Most cases of high blood sugar are not dangerous to non-diabetics, and warning signs will gradually fade over time as the body processes glucose. However, because individuals with diabetes are unable to break down sugars effectively, levels will continue to rise in the body. Left unchecked, these symptoms can become increasingly severe and have the potential to be life threatening.


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