Because so many factors can affect your blood sugar, problems sometimes arise that require immediate care, such as:
High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
Your blood sugar level can rise for many reasons, including eating too much, being sick or not taking enough glucose-lowering medication. Check your blood sugar level often, and watch for signs and symptoms of high blood sugar — frequent urination, increased thirst, dry mouth, blurred vision, fatigue and nausea. If you have hyperglycemia, you’ll need to adjust your meal plan, medications or both.
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Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS)
Signs and symptoms of this life-threatening condition include a blood sugar reading higher than 600 mg/dL (33.3 mmol/L), dry mouth, extreme thirst, fever greater than 101 F (38 C), drowsiness, confusion, vision loss, hallucinations and dark urine.
Your blood sugar monitor may not be able to give you an exact reading at such high levels and may instead just read “high.”HHNS is caused by sky-high blood sugar that turns blood thick and syrupy. It tends to be more common in older people with type 2 diabetes, and it’s often preceded by an illness or infection. HHNS usually develops over days or weeks.
Call your doctor or seek immediate medical care if you have signs or symptoms of this condition.
Increased ketones in your urine (Diabetic Ketoacidosis)
If your cells are starved for energy, your body may begin to break down fat. This produces toxic acids known as ketones.Watch for loss of appetite, weakness, vomiting, fever, stomach pain and fruity-smelling breath.
You can check your urine for excess ketones with an over-the-counter ketones test kit. If you have excess ketones in your urine, consult your doctor right away or seek emergency care. This condition is more common in people with type 1 diabetes but can sometimes occur in people with type 2 diabetes.
Low blood sugar (Hypoglycemia)
If your blood sugar level drops below your target range, it’s known as low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
Your blood sugar level can drop for many reasons, including skipping a meal or getting more physical activity than normal.
Low blood sugar is most likely if you take glucose-lowering medications that promote the secretion of insulin or if you’re taking insulin.
Check your blood sugar level regularly, and watch for signs and symptoms of low blood sugar — sweating, shakiness, weakness, hunger, dizziness, headache, blurred vision, heart palpitations, slurred speech, drowsiness, confusion and seizures.
If you develop hypoglycemia during the night, you might wake with sweat-soaked pajamas or a headache.
Due to a natural rebound effect, nighttime hypoglycemia might cause an unusually high blood sugar reading first thing in the morning.
If you have signs or symptoms of low blood sugar, drink or eat something that will quickly raise your blood sugar level — fruit juice, glucose tablets, hard candy, regular (not diet) soda or another source of sugar.
Retest in 15 minutes to be sure your blood glucose levels are normal.If they’re not, treat again and retest in another 15 minutes. If you lose consciousness, a family member or close contact may need to give you an emergency injection of a hormone that stimulates the release of sugar into the blood (glucagon).
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