Long term, there are major complications which include; eye, kidney, nerve, and blood vessel damage and heart disease. These conditions occur with more frequency if blood sugar is not controlled properly. Short term, there are other problems that may occur if your blood sugar spikes to high or dips to low. Hypoglycemia when blood sugar gets too low. This can be caused by taking too much diabetes medication or by not eating enough food or by drinking alcohol without eating. When blood sugar is too low you feel shaky, tired, hungry, confused and nervous. The resolution is to eat something to bring your blood sugar up.
Hyperglycemia occurs when your blood sugar gets too high. This happens when you don’t take care of your condition properly or when you are sick or stressed out. Symptoms include; headaches, blurred vision, frequent urination, and itchy dry skin. It is easy to get dehydrated when blood sugar is high so drink lots of water. Also, work with lifestyle changes and medication (if your doctor deems it necessary) to bring the blood sugar down.
Ketoacidosis is a serious condition that can result from high blood sugar. Long term high blood sugar will cause the body to metabolize fat for fuel instead of blood sugar. The breakdown of fat creates ketones and acidosis in the blood making the blood more acidic than body tissue. This condition will make you very ill. If the condition is severe enough and goes untreated you can go into a comma. The symptoms include severe dehydration, frequent urination, becoming sick to the stomach so you cannot eat. The key to preventing this condition is to monitor your blood sugar and keep it under control.
Testing for Diabetes
There are three simple tests the doctor can do to test for diabetes. These are: Random Plasma glucose Test; Fasting Plasma glucose Test; Oral glucose Tolerance Test. The Random Plasma Glucose Test is the simplest of the three. A small amount of blood is drawn and tested for its glucose level. A high reading may indicate diabetes but it must be followed up by one of the other two tests which are more accurate. With the Fasting Plasma glucose Test you fast for at least 8 hours to eliminate the effects of digestion on the blood sugar, the result is a more accurate reading of blood sugar level. A high reading will be confirmed by a repeat test before a diagnosis of diabetes is given. The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test is the most accurate of the three tests. You fast for at least 8 hours then drink a concentration of glucose. The blood is tested before you drink and 4 hours after you drink the glucose concentration. Reading of 200 or higher indicates full blown diabetes.
Risk for diabetes increases with age, the American Diabetes Association recommends being tested at least every three years after age 45. But if you have any of the major risk factors you should be tested annually. Your doctor will know if you should be tested, just ask to find out.