You might think it would be obvious if you had high blood sugar, but it’s actually entirely possible for signs of high blood sugar to fly under the radar. There are a lot of people who don’t realize they have high blood sugar, so if this is the case for you, you certainly aren’t alone.
With that in mind, here are the signs of high blood sugar you should be aware of, and what to do if you’re experiencing them.
1. Increased Thirst
If you find you’re suddenly very thirsty all the time, even if you’ve been drinking enough fluids, high blood sugar may be the culprit.
You may find you feel increasingly thirsty after a large meal, especially one that features a lot of carbs like bread or pasta.
If you feel less thirsty after a little while, your levels have likely evened out, but if the feeling of thirst persists, you may have a more serious issue.
2. Nausea And Vomiting
Along with pain in the stomach, it’s common to feel nauseous when blood sugar levels are too high. This nausea can be do to gastroparesis, as well.
High blood sugar can also damage nerves in the stomach and digestive tract, which makes gastroparesis even worse, which can lead to vomiting.
3. Dry Mouth
Along with thirst, high blood sugar will give you that gross, dry, cotton-mouth feeling, like there isn’t enough saliva to keep your lips and tongue comfortable.
Dehydration is a very real risk, especially for those with Type 2 diabetes, and is a major symptom of HHNS.
If you think you may be approaching dangerous levels of dehydration, get medical attention immediately.
4. Sweet Or Fruity-Smelling Breath
Breath that smells sweet or fruity (in an unpleasant way) is another sign of high blood sugar and ketoacidosis.
This smell comes from a buildup of ketones in your body. Acetone is a ketone, so breath can also have a smell like nail polish remover.
Having some ketone material in your body is alright, but if it’s affecting your breath, and especially if you have diabetes, this can be a sign that you need some medical attention.
5. Frequent Urination
This is another facet of the overall dehydration. People with high blood sugar will feel the need to go more often than usual, which will also exacerbate the feelings of thirst and dry mouth.
And the dehydration gets worse, the urination will decrease in frequency, and the urine will get darker in color.
This means that the person is severely dehydrated, and may have HHNS.
If this happens, get medical attention immediately.
6. Stomach Pain
High blood sugar often causes upset stomach.
If you don’t have diabetes, this can just be your body trying to digest a large meal, or even some mild inflammation of the organs, which happens often after eating a lot of refined carbohydrates and processed sugars.
If you have diabetes, this stomach pain can recur. The condition is called gastroparesis, and it happens when blood sugar levels slow the contractions that move food along your digestive system, causing discomfort.
7. Shortness Of Breath
Shortness of breath is a sign that your blood sugar levels are far too high and have been that way for too long.
It is often a sign of ketoacidosis, which is what happens when your body ceases to be able to break down sugar, and so starts breaking down fat for energy, leading to a buildup of waste material called ketones.
When these back up in your blood, they cause ketoacidosis, which can lead to a diabetic coma.
If you find yourself short of breath, seek medical help immediately.
8. Blurred Vision
Blurry vision is often an early sign that your blood sugar levels aren’t quite right.
Diabetes affects the nerves of the body, and can also increase the risk of glaucoma, as well as diseases of the retina.
If you notice increased blurriness, even with glasses or contacts, eye pain, loss of peripheral vision, or double vision, you may be experiencing a side effect of high blood sugar. Talk to an eye doctor about what you can do.
9. Fatigue And Trouble Concentrating
If you don’t have diabetes, this foggy, sluggish feeling could just be a sign that you ate too much and just have to digest a bit.
For those with diabetes, though, fatigue can be more frequent, and can even impact daily life.
Fatigue happens when glucose levels make the blood thicker, which means oxygen isn’t getting to your cells as quickly as it normally would, making you feel sluggish and drowsy.
Sugar also causes inflammation of the blood vessels, which sends your immune system into overdrive, also causing tiredness.