Dangerous Blood Sugar Levels

Causes And Symptoms Of Dangerous Blood Sugar Levels

Dangerous blood sugar levels occur when the blood sugar level goes significantly above or below a rather narrow range, especially if this happens for a protracted period of time. Our blood sugar level can undergo rather sudden changes, especially after eating when it usually increases, but soon settles back into the range considered to be free of risks to our health.

A Packet Of Sugar In Your Bloodstream - The amount of sugar, or glucose, in our bloodstream at any one time is not a very large amount, typically about 5 grams or 2 tenths of an ounce, the amount contained in a packet of sugar you might get in a restaurant served with your coffee. This is the amount of sugar found in the 5 liters or 1.25 gallons of blood contained in the average-sized person's body. In the normal course of events, the amount of blood sugar will vary by not much more than a gram or two in either direction.

As small as this amount of blood sugar may seem, it is normally sufficient to provide body cells and tissues with the energy they need at any given time. The blood sugar level is regulated by a pair of antagonistic hormones, antagonistic in that they work in concert but in opposing roles. The one hormone works to increase our amount of blood sugar while the other works to decrease the amount. An absence or deficiency of one or the other hormone can result in dangerous blood sugar levels occurring.

Hyperglycemia - Excessively high blood sugar levels create a condition known as hyperglycemia (too much glucose), while excessively low levels give ride to hypoglycemia (too little glucose). Both conditions can create problems, with hyperglycemia being the more common of the two. Long term hyperglycemia can result in obesity among other problems, but the most common and dangerous condition due to long term hyperglycemia is diabetes, including kidney problems, problems with circulation, and damage to the optic nerves. In the short term, an excess of sugar in the bloodstream can cause you to feel tired or thirsty. A frequent need to urinate is a sign of high blood sugar, as is blurred vision. These symptoms will go away of the blood sugar level returns to within the normal range. High sugar levels among the elderly can cause dehydration which in turn can contribute to falls. Instances of a broken hip can sometimes be traced back to the effects of excessively high blood sugar levels. Insofar as diabetes is concerned, a condition of high blood sugar levels generally must be present for several years. Heart disease is also often traceable to sustained periods of excessively high blood sugar levels.

Hypoglycemia - Hypoglycemia or excessively low blood sugar, while less common, can be equally devastating or more so than high blood sugar levels. Diabetics can fall victim to hypoglycemia if they take too much insulin, which has the effect of lowering blood sugar levels. People suffering from cancer also run a higher risk of dangerous blood sugar levels in the negative direction. If the condition is temporary, symptoms may include trembling, clammy skin, and heart palpitations, to name a few. These symptoms are often rather mild, which can mask the true danger of the situation. Protracted hypoglycemia can induce headaches, seizures, and even coma and death. Part of the problem is that when blood sugar levels are too low, the body may react to problems rather sluggishly, and the symptoms simply do not appear to be as severe as they really are.

An Ounce Of Prevention - For most of us, simply following healthy eating habits, in the form of a balanced diet, and getting plenty of exercise, will keep our blood sugar levels within the narrow range that our body seems quite capable of regulating. Poor eating habits, a sedentary life style, and certain diseases or medications can contribute to dangerous blood sugar levels, be they temporary or permanent. Monitoring your lifestyle, particularly noting drastic or long term changes, is a good way to prevent blood sugar problems from affecting you.