What Can Happen if you Don’t Control your Blood Glucose Levels

You may have heard or been told that monitoring your blood glucose (sugar) level is an essential part of managing your diabetes but why is it so important?

Well, if you blood sugar levels are not controlled and they become too high, over a long period of time, it could result in a range of complications from sight loss to kidney problems and even heart problems. If on the other hand they become too low then this could result in a lose of consciousness or a seizure.

Good control over your blood sugar levels will help you avoid these extremes and in the long run reduce the likelihood of complications developing. Good control can be achieved by monitoring blood sugar as well understanding the causes and symptoms of too high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia) and too low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia).

Too high blood sugar (when greater then 180mg/dl or 10mmol/L) is called hyperglycaemia. Often this is occurs when food, activity and medications are not balanced. The common reasons for this include: too much food, not enough medication, stress and an increase in weight.

The problem with hyperglycaemia is that in the early stages, there may not be any symptoms at all and even when symptoms do arise they may come on so slowly that they are not noticed. As blood glucose levels rise the following symptoms may occur: more hunger or thirst then usual, excessive urination, tiredness and lethargy, frequent infections and blurred vision.

It is important to be aware of these symptoms but most of all to monitor blood glucose levels so that you know when your glucose levels are above the targets your physician has set out for you. Usually this would be a fasting glucose of 6mmol/l or 108 mg/dl. During times of stress, illness and weight gain it would be a good idea to monitor blood glucose levels more often.

When blood glucose levels fall too low (less then 70mg/dl) it is called hypoglycaemia or “hypo” for short. Hypos occur for one reason only, there is more insulin in the body then it needs at the time. This is true whether the insulin comes from a syringe or from the body itself. Often the reason for this imbalance is due to: more physical activity then usual, too much insulin or diabetic medication, not eating on time or enough and drinking alcohol.

With hypos it is very important to be able to recognise the symptoms to allow you to take action quickly as your condition can deteriorate quickly. The symptoms can vary from person to person and anyone with diabetes should be familiar with his or her individual symptoms. The early symptoms might include: sweating, hunger, irritable, shaking, dry mouth, dizziness, a feeling of weakness, headache and confusion. If untreated, diabetics could become confused and disorientated, lose consciousness and could have a seizure.

In such a situation you will need help of others.

To learn more about what to do if you experience hypoglycaemia visit the link below on
“Treating Hypoglycaemia”.

In summary, good control results in a happy diabetic life. The key to good control is knowing what could cause your blood sugar to go up or down, recognising the symptoms of hypers and hypos and monitoring your blood glucose levels so you know what YOUR blood glucose levels should be.