7 signs you have high blood sugar even if you don't have diabetes

Andre Penner/APHigh blood sugar doesn’t only affect people with diabetes.
  • High blood sugar or hyperglycemia happens when a person’s body doesn’t properly make or use the hormone insulin. Insulin helps the body convert the glucose from foods into energy.
  • High blood sugar doesn’t only affect people with diabetes. It can also come about from infections, stress, inactivity, and other issues.
  • Signs that you have high blood sugar include being constantly tired or thirsty, experiencing chronic headaches, and having blurred vision.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

When you hear the term “high blood sugar,” it’s likely you think of people who are diagnosed with diabetes and need insulin to keep their bodies in equilibrium. But high blood sugar or hyperglycemia can affect people without diabetes too. And, if left untreated, it can lead to nerve damage or kidney, eye, or heart disease.

High blood sugar happens when a person’s body doesn’t produce or properly use enough of the hormone insulin, which helps turn the food you eat into usable energy in your body. As a result, a person may feel fatigued all the time, constantly thirsty, have blurred vision, or experience a host of other symptoms. These symptoms don’t pop up right away and can take days or weeks to develop as a person’s blood sugar levels continue to rise, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Besides having Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, having an infection, being inactive, being under stress, and eating too many carbohydrates can lead to high blood sugar. People with cystic fibrosis and those who take beta-blocker medications may also have any increased risk for developing high blood sugar.

To be diagnosed with high blood sugar, you’ll need a blood test to determine if your glucose levels are too high. See a doctor for a test as soon as possible if you notice any of these six signs.


You’re always tired, no matter what.

Andre Penner/APHaving high blood sugar can lower your energy levels.

The phrase “high blood sugar” may sound like something that makes you bounce off the walls with energy, but in reality, it can leave you feeling constantly sluggish and fatigued.

That’s because your body’s cells can’t figure out how to use the glucose, or sugar, in your blood properly to create energy for daily activity and proper organ function, according to Medical News Today.


Your vision is blurry.

ShutterstockA spike in blood sugar can make your eyesight go haywire.

Another sign of high blood sugar is blurry vision, since the high level of glucose in your body can make the lens of your eye swell up and make focusing on one point difficult. If left untreated, blurred vision from high blood sugar can lead to vision loss, according to the Mayo Clinic.

To treat this symptom, work with a doctor to get your blood sugar in a normal range. That range is usually considered 70 milligrams of sugar per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) to 130 mg/dL before meals, and less than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after the start of a meal, according to WebMD.

This range can still vary among people, however, so consulting a doctor is the best way to determine what’s right for your body.


You can’t stop peeing.

Demkat/ iStockToo much sugar in your blood will make your kidneys go into overdrive.

As more and more sugar builds up in your bloodstream, your kidneys will go into overdrive, filtering out the excess sugar your body isn’t using for energy, according to the Mayo Clinic.

That extra glucose comes out in your urine, so the more glucose you have, the more you’ll have to pee.


You’re thirsty all of the time.

ShutterstockConstantly having to pee can also increase your thirst levels.

Constantly having to pee can also increase your thirst levels. When you urinate often, fluid that comes from your tissues will also be excreted along with the glucose, causing your body to become dehydrated quickly and making you feel thirstier than usual.


Sores take forever to heal.

ShutterstockHigh blood sugar can mess with your blood flow, which can slow healing.

High blood sugar can also make your blood flow slow down, which in turn messes with your body’s ability to heal itself.

As a result, any sores you have, especially on your feet, may take longer to heal. You may also be prone to more bladder and yeast infections because of slow blood flow.


Your fingers and toes get easily numb.

High blood sugar levels can actually change your blood’s consistency, according to Health.com. The excess sugar could cause your blood to be less runny and more of a thick, viscous consistency.

As a result, your extremities might get numb and certain organs may suffer because blood isn’t easily flowing to them.

“You can imagine how hard it can be for thick syrup to get to the tiniest point of small blood vessels – places like the eyes, the ears, the nerves, the kidney, the heart,” Joanne Rinker, a certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian in Waynesville, NC, told Health.com.


You have chronic headaches.

Milan Ilic Photographer/ShutterstockSugar can affect the hormones that play a role in brain function.

High blood sugar can affect the hormones that play a role in brain function, so a person with it may experience headaches often.

Specifically, the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine make the brain’s blood vessels expand and contract. High blood sugar messes with the normal flow of blood and can make your head hurt until your blood levels are more in equilibrium.

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