The elevation of blood glucose levels, also known as hyperglycemia, is a condition that can affect people with diabetes or even individuals with no history of the disease. Identifying the symptoms of high glucose is crucial to seek proper treatment and prevent complications.
Symptoms of High Glucose
- Excessive thirst (polydipsia): One of the first signs of hyperglycemia is intense and persistent thirst. This occurs because the kidneys attempt to eliminate excess glucose from the blood, resulting in frequent urination and increased fluid needs.
- Frequent urination (polyuria): Increased urine production is related to polydipsia. As the body tries to eliminate excess glucose through urine, it leads to frequent trips to the bathroom, especially during the night.
- Persistent fatigue: Hyperglycemia can cause a constant feeling of tiredness and weakness because the body cannot effectively use glucose as a source of energy.
- Blurred vision: The high concentration of glucose in the blood can affect the eyes, causing temporary blurred or hazy vision.
- Frequent infections: People with high glucose levels are more susceptible to infections, such as urinary tract infections, due to the presence of sugar in the urine, creating a favorable environment for bacterial growth.
- Unintentional weight loss: Although hyperglycemia can increase appetite, people often lose weight unintentionally because cells cannot obtain the necessary glucose for proper functioning.
- Bad breath: Breath can acquire a fruity or sweet odor due to the presence of ketones in the breath, which occurs when the body burns fat instead of glucose for energy.
- Irritability: Fluctuations in glucose levels can cause mood changes, such as irritability and difficulty concentrating.
Additionally, other possible symptoms include nausea, headaches, slow healing, dry skin, and increased appetite.
What Test Should I Take to Evaluate My Glucose?
The fasting glucose test (with a reference value of up to 100 mg/dL) is no longer recommended to diagnose hyperglycemia because it is only a control marker and is not sufficient on its own. Therefore, complementary tests such as hemoglobin A1c and postprandial glucose are necessary.
However, it is important to remember the importance of fasting for 12 hours before the tests, as food can affect the results and cause a false positive.
Possible Complications of High Glucose
Hyperglycemia should not be ignored because, if not treated properly, it can lead to serious complications, such as organ and blood vessel damage. If you experience these symptoms recurrently, it is essential to seek the evaluation of a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.
What Causes an Increase in Glucose?
Maintaining blood glucose levels within the appropriate range is essential for long-term health. When high glucose is not effectively controlled, various serious complications can arise. Here are some of the most common complications associated with uncontrolled hyperglycemia:
- Damage to blood vessels: Elevated levels of glucose in the blood can cause damage to blood vessels, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis (accumulation of fatty plaques in the arteries), leading to circulatory problems such as heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
- Nerve damage (neuropathy): Chronic hyperglycemia can damage nerves, resulting in symptoms such as tingling, numbness, pain, and weakness, especially in the extremities, which can affect quality of life and mobility.
- Eye problems (retinopathy): High blood glucose can damage small blood vessels in the eyes, leading to vision problems, including diabetic retinopathy, which can cause blindness if left untreated.
- Kidney diseases (nephropathy): Kidney function can be impaired by hyperglycemia, leading to chronic kidney diseases that, in advanced stages, may require dialysis or kidney transplantation.
- Recurrent infections: High blood glucose weakens the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infections, such as urinary tract and skin infections.
- Slow healing: Hyperglycemia can slow down the healing process, which is particularly concerning in wounds, ulcers, or after surgery.
- Fertility issues: In men, high glucose can affect erectile function. In women, it can cause menstrual irregularities and difficulties conceiving.
- Psychological complications: Constantly managing high glucose can cause emotional stress, anxiety, and depression, affecting overall well-being.
Treatment of High Glucose
The treatment of high glucose requires the guidance of a physician. If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, it is not possible to reverse the process, but it is essential to control the situation through diet, exercise, insulin, or medications, as directed by a healthcare professional.
If you have not been diagnosed with diabetes yet, you can improve the situation by adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, avoiding sugar and alcohol consumption, not smoking, and increasing fiber intake.
Foods to Control Glucose
To control glucose, it is advisable to include foods such as skim milk, fish, chicken, olive oil, peanuts, nuts, beans, brown rice, lettuce, fresh fruits, cottage cheese, and other healthy foods in your diet.
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