Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can happen to just about anyone, but people with diabetes are more susceptible than most. It is important to recognize the symptoms of both issues so you can treat them properly.
Hypoglycemia Symptoms (Low Blood Sugar)
Hypoglycemia, also called low blood glucose or low blood sugar, occurs when the level of glucose in your blood drops below normal. This can happen when your body receives too much insulin within a short period of time.
For example, someone new to insulin or oral glucose medication might accidentally take too much. But non-diabetics can also experience hypoglycemia as well. The most common symptoms are:
- Heart palpitations
- Pale skin
- Tingling sensation around the mouth
- Crying out during sleep
As hypoglycemia worsens, signs and symptoms may include:
- Confusion, abnormal behavior or both, such as the inability to complete routine tasks
- Visual disturbances, such as blurred vision
- Loss of consciousness
Initial treatment of hypoglycemia is drinking juice, taking glucose tablets or anything that has high levels of sugar that can be quickly absorbed including less healthy options such as regular soft drinks and candy. The priority here is to get the blood sugar levels up as fast as possible.
Hyperglycemia Symptoms (High Blood Sugar)
Hyperglycemia is defined as having an abnormally high blood glucose. This condition is more common in Type 2, or non-insulin-dependent diabetics. It can also occur in Type 1 diabetics who consume carbohydrate-heavy foods without enough insulin afterwards. The most common symptoms are:
- Increased thirst
- Trouble concentrating
- Blurred vision
- Frequent peeing
- Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
- Weight loss
- Blood sugar more than 180 mg/dL
Ongoing high blood sugar may cause:
- Vaginal and skin infections
- Slow-healing cuts and sores
- Worse vision
- Nerve damage causing painful cold or insensitive feet, loss of hair on the lower extremities, or erectile dysfunction
- Stomach and intestinal problems such as chronic constipation or diarrhea
- Damage to your eyes, blood vessels, or kidneys
Hyperglycemia can be difficult to manage but not impossible. The single most important factor to keep track of is your diet. Avoid eating too many carbs in one sitting. And if you do have carbs on your plate, make sure they’re the complex type and that you have fibrous veggies next to it. Fiber will help your body slow down the absorption of glucose.