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Symptoms of Low and High Blood Sugar

April 17, 2018

Symptoms of Low and High Blood Sugar

Signs of low blood sugar

For diabetics (especially those taking insulin), it is really important to monitor your blood regularly.  If you have too large a gap between eating food or take too much medication, your blood sugar levels could fall too low.  When your blood sugars fall below 4 mmol/L (72mg/dL) this is defined as having hypoglycaemia.

These are the main symptoms of low blood sugar:

  • Feeling dizzy
  • Sweating
  • Shakiness
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling weak
  • Looking pale
  • Hunger
  • Anxiety
  • Convulsions
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Blurry vision
  • A higher than usual heart rate

If blood sugars are dangerously low, there can be a risk of:

  • Losing consciousness
  • In extreme cases, going into a coma
  • Death

These are the symptoms to be aware of at night:

Damp clothes or bed sheets due to sweating


Tiredness when you wake up


Restless sleep

If you are hypoglycaemic, the best thing to do is to eat or drink something with 15-20g of fast acting (simple) carbohydrates such as fruit juice, sweets, glucose tablets or fizzy drinks like a 100ml can of coke.  This is why it is really important for diabetics to keep something sugary around. 

More extreme cases will require treatment and calling an ambulance may be the best option, as severe hypos can cause immediate dangers, such as a coma or death.

Whilst driving you should check your blood sugars every 2 hours, and don’t begin a journey if your reading is below 5.0 mmol/L (90 mg/dL).  If you do go hypo and get pulled over by the police you can eventually lose your license, as you can get done for drink driving.  More importantly you are putting yourself and others at risk when driving with low blood sugars.


Symptoms of high blood sugar

The World Health Organisation defines hyperglycaemia as when your fasting blood glucose is above 7.0 mmol/L (126 mg/dL) or above 11.0 mmol/L (200mg/dL) 2 hours after eating.  Having blood sugar levels above 7 mmol/L for extended periods can eventually lead to serious complications such as organ damage, which is why it’s really important to keep your blood sugars within a healthy range.  This is why regular exercise and a healthy diet is so good for you as the combination will help you to really control your blood sugar levels. 

The 3 main symptoms of high blood sugar levels are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Increased hunger

High blood sugar levels can also have these symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Trouble concentrating

If you find yourself hyperglycaemic, you should aim to bring down your blood sugars – but not so quickly that you are at risk of going hypo.  If you are insulin dependent, a dose of insulin should help.  An option to lower blood sugar naturally would be to do some aerobic exercise such as fast walking, jogging, and running, rowing or cycling.  It will really help to bring down your blood sugars.

Sometimes you may find your blood sugars are too high whilst driving.  In general police cannot give you an offence for driving with high blood sugars, but you can be charged if you are in an accident and it is deemed your fault.  Having high blood sugars can cause blurry vision and trouble concentrating, so you would be putting yourself and others at risk if you decide to drive with high blood sugars.  This is why it is so important to understand how to reduce your blood sugar levels.


Warning Signs of Low and High Blood Sugars

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