Having too high or low of a level of blood sugar or blood glucose can lead to various symptoms and health problems. This can include mild symptoms if your levels are off just a small amount occasionally. You can also develop chronic diseases if your levels are off on a regular basis. Learning to recognize the symptoms of blood sugar imbalances can help you to avoid severe symptoms and manage any medical conditions related to blood sugar that you may have.
Understanding Blood Sugar
Understand glucose. Glucose is a sugar that is naturally produced by the body and it comes from the foods we eat. It circulates in the blood so it can reach the cells, since it is the main source of energy for the body. For the body to function properly you need to have the correct amount of glucose or sugar present in your blood. If you notice any of the symptoms below, your doctor can run tests to determine what you blood sugar levels are.
Know what normal levels are. Normal blood sugar levels can vary slightly. According to the National Institutes of Health, up to to 100 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) is considered normal. If your level is between 100 and 126 mg/dl then you will be diagnosed with prediabetes. Diabetes is usually diagnosed when your fasting blood glucose or sugar level reading is over 126 mg/dL.
Recognize mild symptoms. If you have a minor imbalance that happens periodically due to eating too much sugar or from skipping meals then there are some general symptoms you may experience. This includes headaches, irritability, dizziness, feeling shaky, lack of energy and trouble concentrating. In most cases mild symptoms will resolve with time or when you eat a balanced meal. In these cases eating smaller meals throughout the day and avoiding skipping meals can help. Make sure your meals are well-balanced and include plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Understanding hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia is the term used when your blood sugar levels are too high. This can occur when the body is unable to produce insulin or unable to use it properly. Insulin converts sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Without enough insulin, the levels of blood sugar or glucose can get too high and cause a condition called diabetes. Diabetes can lead to serious health problems such as damage to the vessels that supply blood to your organs, kidney disease, vision problems and nerve problems. Common symptoms of hyperglycemia include the mild symptoms listed above plus frequent urination, excessive thirst, fatigue, blurred vision, and unexplained weight loss.
Understanding hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia means that your blood sugar level is abnormally low. It occurs when your pancreas makes more insulin than the body needs to handle the amount of glucose in the blood. It can also be the result of consuming too much sugar, alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. Common symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, mood swings, feeling faint, weak or dizzy, irregular heart beats, craving sweets, headaches and depression.
Eat small, well-balanced meals throughout the day to avoid excessive drops or increases in your blood sugar.
Check with your doctor if you notice any of the symptoms above.