If you are living with diabetes, you are probably well aware that it can sometimes be a balancing act.
But what levels of blood glucose are considered dangerous?
What is an average blood sugar level?
Diabetes UK, the global diabetes community, says that a normal fasting blood sugar (in the morning when you haven’t had anything to drink or eat for 8 hours) is between 4.0 to 5.4 mmol/L (72 to 99 mg/dL).
A fasting blood level of 5.5 to 6.9mmol/L (100 to 125 mg/dL) indicated prediabetes, while a reading of 7.0mmol/l (126 mg/dL) or more indicates diabetes.
What are the dangers of high blood glucose?
A high blood glucose reading means too much sugar, as the body lacks insulin. Many things can cause this, including:
- eating too much
- lack of sleep
- not taking enough insulin
- stress, hormonal changes
- too little exercise
High blood glucose can be dangerous over long periods unless you are spiralling into diabetic Ketoacidosis.
If you are diagnosed with high blood glucose levels, it may be down to eating something very sugary, and you probably won’t suffer from long-term complications.
However, prolonged readings of high blood glucose levels will cause diabetes-related complications in most people.
What is considered a high level of blood glucose?
In people with diabetes, blood glucose levels are considered high once they have exceeded seven mmol/L.
For most people, high blood glucose levels become symptomatic once the blood sugar levels reach 11 mmol/L. This is when your blood will turn acidic due to prolonged high blood glucose levels and ketones in the blood – and can be fatal if not treated.
People with diabetes are at a heightened risk of developing a diabetic coma from high blood glucose levels. Diabetic coma occurs when your blood turns thick and syrupy as excess sugar is passed from your blood into your urine. This then triggers a filtering process in your body that draws large amounts of fluid from your body – the medical term for this is “diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome.”
What are the symptoms associated with high levels of blood glucose?
The symptoms of high blood glucose will vary, depending on severity.
Early symptoms of high blood glucose include:
- Achy muscles
- Frequent need to urinate
- Increased thirst
- Slightly blurred vision
Later signs of high blood sugar include:
- Dry mouth
- Extreme fatigue
- Extremely blurred vision
- Fruity-smelling breath
- Severely achy muscles
- Weight loss
Why is it important to keep your blood glucose levels in a normal range?
You must keep your blood glucose levels in a normal range as much as possible, as having high blood glucose levels over a long period increases the risk of complications associated with diabetes developing.
Complications associated with diabetes include:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Nerve damage
- Retinal disease