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Listen to Your Body: Blood Sugar Highs and Lows

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Your body has a lot to tell you about your blood sugar levels. Learn how it could feel when your blood sugar is too high or too low.

If you have diabetes, you may be checking your blood glucose regularly with a glucose meter. It's a great tool that can give you important information about your blood sugar level.

However, you should also pay attention to the signs your body is giving you about your blood sugar throughout the day. What does a "normal" blood sugar level feel like? It can be helpful to know what too much (or too little) blood sugar feels like in your body.

What does it feel like to have high blood sugar?

Early stage symptoms
  • Needing to urinate frequently.
  • Increased thirst.
  • The kind of headache you may get when you're tired.
Later stage symptoms
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Breath that smells "fruity."
  • Weakness and confusion.
  • Abdominal pain.
How it's medically defined Elevated glucose levels of 200+ milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
Health risks High blood sugar can cause toxins to build up in your blood and urine.
What to do If you can't keep down food or fluids and your blood glucose levels are above 240 mg/dL, call 911.

Make an appointment to see your doctor is you have a long-lasting fever, ongoing diarrhea or vomiting. You can also talk with your doctor about what to do if you're having trouble keeping your blood sugar in a healthy range for you.

What does it feel like to have low blood sugar?

Effects on your brain
  • Confusion or abnormal behavior.
  • Visual disturbances.
Other symptoms
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Shakiness and anxiety.
  • Sweating.
  • Hunger.
  • Tingling sensation around the mouth.
How it's medically defined Glucose levels falling below normal range (70 - 100 mg/dL).
Health risks Once your blood sugar gets dangerously low, you can have seizures and lose consciousness.
What to do Seek a doctor's help right away if you have diabetes and eating or taking glucose tablets doesn't help these signs.

If you lose consciousness, a loved one should call 911.

With diabetes, controlling your blood sugar is critical to staying as healthy as possible. How you take care of yourself can have huge effects on your life as you age. So make an appointment to talk with your doctor about any problems you may be having with high or low blood sugar. T hen you can work together to develop a better treatment plan to help you keep your blood sugar in a healthy range for you.

Created on 06/15/2014


  • Mayo Clinic. Hyperglycemia in diabetes.
  • Mayo Clinic. Hypoglycemia.

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