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High blood sugar – symptoms and causes

High blood sugar is also known as hyperglycaemia which is a medical term for this condition. This is a very common problem for people who suffer from diabetes. High blood sugar can affect people who suffer from diabetes type 1, diabetes type 2 as well as pregnant women who have gestational diabetes [1,2]. This condition in some cases can affect people who do not have diabetes but usually it is affecting people who are seriously ill, such as people who have recently a heart attack or stroke or a severe infection. This condition – hyperglycaemia should not be confused with hypoglycaemia which is a condition when a person’s blood sugar level drops too low. The aim of the diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar levels as near as possible but if we have diabetes, no matter how careful we are, we are likely to experience hyperglycaemia at some point of our lives. It is very important to recognize and treat hyperglycaemia because it can lead to serious health problems if you let it untreated. When some person has occasional mild episodes of this condition, then they are not a cause for concern and they can be treated quite easily or they can return to normal on their own. But the high blood pressure can be potentially dangerous if their blood sugar levels become very high or if they stay high for long period. [3] When you have very blood sugar levels, then these levels can cause life – threatening complications such as:

  • HHS (hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state): This is a severe dehydration caused by the body trying to get rid of excess sugar. This condition tends to affect people who suffer from diabetes type 2.
  • DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis): This is a condition which is caused by the body needing to break down fat as a source of energy which can lead to a diabetic coma. This condition also is affecting people who suffer from diabetes type 1.

When you have regularly high blood sugar levels for long periods, over months or years, then this can result in permanent damage to parts of your body such as blood vessels, kidneys, nerves and eyes. If you suffer from this condition regularly, then you should speak with your doctor about its treatment.

symptoms of high blood sugar

Symptoms of high blood sugar

The symptoms of high blood pressure in people who suffer from diabetes tend to develop slowly over a few days or weeks. In some cases, there may be no symptoms until the levels of blood sugar are very high. Here are the symptoms of high blood pressure:

  • Recurrent infections, such as thrush, bladder infection (cystitis) and skin infections
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Tiredness
  • Needing to pee frequently
  • Increased thirst and a dry mouth

The symptoms of high blood sugar can be also due to undiagnosed diabetes so this is a reason why you should talk with your doctor if you have noticed some of the mentioned symptoms are happening to you. When people are diagnosed with diabetes, then their diabetes care team will tell them what their blood sugar level is and what they should do to get it down. Also in many cases people are advised to use a testing device to monitor their blood sugar level regularly at their home. Diabetic patients also have an appointment with a nurse or doctor every few months to see their average blood sugar level.

Causes for high blood sugar

There are many things which can trigger an increase in blood sugar level in people who suffer from diabetes and they include:

  • Taking certain medications, such as steroid medication [4]
  • Over – treating an episode of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)
  • Missing a dose of your diabetes medication or taking an incorrect dose [2,3]
  • Dehydration [5]
  • Have an infection
  • Take part in strenuous physical activity, especially when your blood sugar levels are high and insulin levels are low [6]
  • Skip or forget your insulin or oral glucose – lowering medicine
  • A lack of exercise or when you have became inactive less than usual [6]
  • Eating too much, such as snacking between meals [7]
  • An illness, such as a cold
  • Are under stress [8]

Occasional episodes of this condition can also happen in children and young adults during growth spurts.


[1] Frankum S, Ogden J. Estimation of blood glucose levels by people with diabetes: a cross-sectional study. British Journal of General Practice. 2005;55(521):944–8.

[2] The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Study links stress hormone with higher blood sugar in Type 2 diabetes. ScienceDaily. 2020. Retrieved from

[3] de Boer IH, Bangalore S, Benetos A, et al. Diabetes and hypertension: A position statement by the american diabetes association. Diabetes Care. 2017;40(9):1273-84.

[4] Tamez-Pérez HE, Quintanilla-Flores DL, Rodríguez-Gutiérrez R, et al. Steroid hyperglycemia: Prevalence, early detection and therapeutic recommendations: A narrative review. World Journal of Diabetes. 2015;6(8):1073–81.

[5] Roussel R, Fezeu L, Bouby N, et al. Low water intake and risk for new-onset hyperglycemia. Diabetes Care. 2011;34(12):2551–4.

[6] Adams P. The impact of brief high-intensity exercise on blood glucose levels. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy. 2013;6:113–22.

[7] Sami W, Ansari T, Butt NS, Ab Hamid MR. Effect of diet on type 2 diabetes mellitus: A review. International Journal of Health Sciences. 2017;11(2):65–71.

[8] The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Study links stress hormone with higher blood sugar in Type 2 diabetes. ScienceDaily. 2020. Retrieved from

Pardhan Singh
Pardhan Singh
A seasoned natural therapist with degree in Ayurvedic Medicine (BAMS) successful in treating various diseases through Ayurvedic treatments. You can contact Pradhan at [email protected]


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