Complications of Diabetes – Truworth

The article aims to provide information about complications of diabetes. There are mainly two types of complications found in diabetes they are short term and long term. Here we will discuss short term complications.

Hypoglycemia (Low blood sugar levels): This is a condition when your blood sugar level drops to very low concentration. It can be due to one or more of the following reasons:

You have taken too much insulin because of overestimation of the dosage

You have exercised more than normal

You skip the meal despite taking the insulin or oral hypoglycemic agent dose or have not eaten adequately.

Taking too much of alcohol

If you are ill

Symptoms of Hypoglycemia:




Jerky movements




Difficulty Speaking

Difficulty Paying Attention

Pale Skin Color

Tingling sensations around the mouth

Feeling anxious or weak

How to treat Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia can be corrected rapidly by eating sugar. If not taken care on time, it can lead to unconsciousness. If it is 70 mg/dl or below, you can take any one of the following:

1/2 cup (4 ounces) of any fruit juice

1/2 cup (4 ounces) of a regular (not diet) soft drink

1 cup (8 ounces) of milk

5 or 6 pieces of hard candy

1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar or honey

After 15 minutes, check your blood glucose again to know whether you are out of risk zone or not. If it is still too low, have another serving. Repeat these steps until your blood glucose is at least 70 mg/dl.

Hyperglycemia (High blood sugar levels):

Hyperglycemia is characterized by too much blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, there are two specific types of hyperglycemia that occur:

Fasting hyperglycemia is defined as a blood sugar greater than 90-130 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) after fasting for at least 8 hours.

Postprandial or after-meal hyperglycemia is defined as a blood sugar usually greater than 180 mg/dL. In people without diabetes postprandial or post-meal sugars rarely go over 140 mg/dL but occasionally, after a large meal, a 1-2 hour post-meal glucose level can reach 180 mg/dL. Consistently elevated high post-meal glucose levels can be an indicator that a person is at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Hyperglycemia can occur because of one of the following:

Skipping insulin dose or oral hypoglycemic agent dose or taking less than required dose

Eating too much at a given point of time

Taking more of high carbohydrate food

Infection or illness

Increased stress

Reduced physical activity than usual

Symptoms of hyperglycemia:

It is important to know the early signs of hyperglycemia. If hyperglycemia is left untreated, it may develop into an emergency condition. Early signs of hyperglycemia in diabetes include:

Increased thirst

Frequent urination

Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)


Difficulty concentrating

Blurred vision

Blood glucose more than 180 mg/dL

Prolonged hyperglycemia in diabetes may result in:

Weight loss

Slow-healing cuts and sores

Vaginal and skin infections

Decreased vision

Stomach and intestinal problems such as chronic diarrhea or constipation

How to Treat Hyperglycemia?  If you have diabetes record your blood sugar levels over a period of time in order to know the trend of blood sugar levels. If you have any of the early signs of hyperglycemia, be sure to test your blood glucose several times. You will have to consult your health care provider so that he/ she may recommend changes to maintain your blood sugar levels. In general follow the following measures to combat hyperglycemia:

Drink more water. Water helps remove the excess glucose from your urine and helps you avoid dehydration. Be physically active. It will help to lower your blood glucose.

Caution: If you have Type 1 diabetes and your blood glucose is over 240 mg/dL, you need to check your urine for ketones. Avoid exercising if your urine has ketones.

If you have Type 2 diabetes and your blood glucose is over 300 mg/dL, avoid exercising.

Change your eating habits. Consult a dietician to chart out the amount and types of foods you should be eating in order to regulate your sugar levels. Change your medications. Your health care provider may change the amount, timing, or type of diabetes medications you take. Do not make adjustments in your diabetes medications without first talking with your health care provider.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis: It is a condition characterized by the presence of ketone bodies in blood due to a constant state of hyperglycemia. When the body breaks down fats, acidic waste products called ketones are produced. The body cannot tolerate large amounts of ketones and tries to get rid of them through the urine. However, the body cannot release all the ketones and they build up in your blood, causing Ketoacidosis. This condition is characterized by increased acidity in the blood. Ketoacidosis is a severe condition caused by lack of insulin. It mainly affects people with type 1 diabetes.

Lactic acidosis: It is rare and affects mostly people with type 2 diabetes. Lactic acidosis is the build up of lactic acid in the body. Cells make lactic acid when they use glucose for energy. If too much lactic acid stays in the body, the balance tips and the person begin to feel ill.

Bacterial/ fungal infections: People with uncontrolled diabetes are more prone to infections which take longer than usual to heal and cure. Various infections that can affect diabetics are vaginal infections, ring worm infections, athlete’s foot, boils etc.