Symptoms of High Blood Sugar - Hyperglycemia
By Dr Joseph J Collins, ND, RN
This article is part of the Blood Sugar Health Educational Module
The most important thing to remember about symptoms of high blood glucose is that there may not be any symptoms! High blood sugar, and the resulting diabetes can be a silent disease that develops without any warning.
Many of the symptoms that are associated with high blood sugar are generalized symptoms, and not specifically limited to high blood sugar, so the symptoms may be due to other health problems. Therefore, having these symptoms is not diagnostic of high blood sugar or diabetes. The following symptoms may be associated with acute or chronic hyperglycemia.
The first three symptoms that may be notice are increased hunger, increased thirst and increased amount of urination. These are often referred to as the the classic hyperglycemic triad:
- Polyphagia – frequent hunger, especially pronounced hunger
- Polydipsia – frequent thirst, especially excessive thirst
- Polyuria – increased volume of urination
The increased urination may result in electrolyte imbalances, which can increase the risk of developing cardiac arrhythmias.
Other symptoms that may present with high blood sugar include neurological symptoms such as blurred vision, generalize fatigue, restlessness, numbness or tingling in feet or heels. As blood sugar levels continue to increase, there is also a risk of lethargy, seizures and loss of consciousness.
Generalize symptoms may include weight loss, poor wound healing of cuts, scrapes, etc., dry mouth, dry or itchy skin.
The immune system may be affected, resulting in more frequent and recurrent infections, external ear infections (swimmer's ear).
It is important to note that in some people high blood sugar and diabetes may not present with symptoms in its early stages, or there may not be an awareness that symptoms such as weight loss and infections are due to diabetes. In many cases, diabetes may go un-noticed until the patient winds up in the hospital due to cardiac arrythmias, loss of consciousness or a severe infection.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has developed a questionnaire that they call the Prediabetes Risk Test to help determine if someone is at risk for prediabetes.
Symptoms of high blood sugar may vary. According to the CDC, the risk for high blood sugar may be increased based on several factors.
References & Addition Reading
Reviewed & Updated: 07/25/2019