Blood sugar is a crucial element to your health and how your body functions. So how do you know when it’s time to be concerned? Today we’re sharing some tips via Everyday Health that will help you determine whether it’s time to make changes to your health and when it’s time to consult a doctor.
8 Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Out of Control
Blood sugar (glucose) control is crucial when you’re living with type 2 diabetes. Dips and spikes can not only make you feel cranky and sluggish, but they can also wreak havoc on your personal health. (No wonder your primary care doctor was on you about your last A1C checkup.)
The most serious effects of blood sugar swings are a higher risk for diabetes-related health complications such as stroke, heart disease, and nerve damage (neuropathy).
1. Being Extra Thirsty and Having to Urinate More Than Usual
This is a common but not-so-obvious sign of blood sugar that is too high: feeling really thirsty and needing to drink more than usual. “Excessive urination, known as polyuria, occurs when glucose builds up in your blood, and your kidneys begin working harder to get rid of the extra glucose,” says Zanini. If your kidneys can’t keep up and adjust blood sugar so that it returns to a normal level, the excess sugar is flushed out of your body through urine, she adds. You may become dehydrated and get dizzy.
2. You’re Hungrier Than Usual but Losing Weight
Many people with uncontrolled high blood sugar find that they’re hungrier than usual, which signals a symptom called polyphagia, MedlinePlus notes. And although you’re eating more, you may be losing weight for no apparent reason if your blood sugar levels are too high, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“Since your body is not getting energy from the preferred source, glucose, it has to turn to muscle and fat,” Zanini explains. “When your body starts breaking down muscle and fat for energy, you experience unintentional and unhealthy weight loss.” In addition to these changes in weight and appetite, you may notice weakness in your muscles and experience more frequent falls, Emanuele adds.
3. You Feel Tiredness and Fatigue Constantly
Fatigue and extreme tiredness are symptoms of uncontrolled blood sugar, the ADA says. “Simply put, when your body is not processing insulin properly or it doesn’t have sufficient amounts of insulin, the sugar is staying in our blood rather than getting into our cells to be used for energy,” Zanini says. Also, frequent urination can lead to dehydration, which Bandukwala identifies as another contributing factor to fatigue.
4. You Have Noticeably Blurry Vision and Frequent Headaches
You may notice that your vision isn’t as clear as it used to be and that things may appear a bit blurry. High blood sugar levels can lead to swollen lenses in your eye from fluid leaking in, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. This changes the shape of the lens, which makes it unable to properly focus, causing blurred vision. You may also find yourself struggling at work, having difficulty driving, and suffering from frequent headaches, Emanuele notes.
5. You Develop Sores That Tend to Heal More Slowly Than Usual
Cuts, scrapes, bruises, and other wounds heal more slowly in the presence of uncontrolled blood sugar, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Diabetes causes nerve damage and affects circulation, especially in the lower legs and feet, which can delay healing because there isn’t enough blood flow to the area. Even minor wounds are more prone to infections, which can become very serious and even result in amputations of the foot. You may notice drainage seeping onto your socks or an unpleasant smell if you develop a foot ulcer, notes the American Podiatric Medical Association.
6. You Notice Tingling and Numbness in Your Hands or Feet
As mentioned, uncontrolled blood sugar can cause nerve damage, also known as diabetic neuropathy. What you may notice is a tingling sensation or even numbness in your hands and feet. Some people experience pain in their hands and feet as well. Though neuropathy is most common in people who have had diabetes for a long time, it can occur in anyone with poorly controlled diabetes.
7. You’re Developing Blisters, Dryness, or Other Skin Changes
Small pieces of extra skin, called skin tags, may form in the creases of skin, especially if you have diabetes and you’re trying to find ways to manage your weight, notes the ADA. Dark, thick areas of soft skin (called acanthosis nigricans) may form on the back of the neck or hands, armpits, face, or other areas. These can be a sign of insulin resistance, Zanini says. Blisters, infections, dryness, itchiness, discolorations, and abnormalities of the skin can all be warning signs of high blood sugar. Check with your doctor if these skin changes develop.
8. Swollen or Bleeding Gums, Which Increase Your Infection Risk
Gum disease is a complication of diabetes, notes the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. It can also make diabetes harder to control, because the body’s response to infection is to release more glucose into the bloodstream, according to the ADA.
Your saliva contains glucose; and the more it contains, the more there is to feed the bacteria that combine with food in your mouth to form plaque and cause gum disease. Symptoms can include red or inflamed gums at first. If they are unaddressed, they can progress to periodontitis, which can cause your gums to pull away from your teeth, the appearance of pus or ulcers, or even tooth loss, notes the Mayo Clinic. Get your blood sugar under control and see a dental professional to prevent damage to your gums and teeth.
At Physician’s Weight Control and Wellness, our weight loss programs are unique in that they are physician-guided and individually tailored to each patient. Because every patient is different, no two treatment plans are the same. The same philosophy applies to our nutrition consulting and coaching programs. These programs are designed to be the next step after meeting with our doctors to ensure your investment in your new lifestyle takes root.