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Heart & Vascular

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Diabetes & High Blood Sugar

Uncontrolled high blood sugar or diabetes can affect nearly every organ in your body, including your eyes, kidneys, nerves, the heart and blood vessels.

In fact, people with diabetes are two times more likely to have heart disease or strokes when compared to people who do not have diabetes. Many people with diabetes will not notice any symptoms of heart or vascular disease until they experience a heart attack or stroke. This is why it is so important to work with your physician to keep your blood sugar under control and regularly see a cardiologists to monitor your heart health.

What is blood sugar?

Blood sugar, the concentration of glucose in the blood, will change based on what you ate in the past several hours as well as on your body’s efficiency at processing that food.

How is blood sugar measured, and what is normal?

Blood sugar is most commonly measured with a simple finger prick and a glucose monitor. When the sample is taken — following an overnight fast, before a meal or two hours after a meal — will determine the ideal ranges for blood sugar levels.

For a fasting blood sugar:

  • The ideal result is under 100 mg/dL.
  • A reading between 100 and 125 mg/dL indicates pre-diabetes
  • A reading of 126 mg/dL or greater is an indicator of diabetes.

What are the symptoms of high blood sugar?

Most people with mild to moderate elevation of blood sugar have no symptoms. It’s once you have significantly elevated blood sugar that you start to notice symptoms.

The classic symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes would be:

  • Increased urination (both frequency and volume)
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased appetite

If your blood sugar gets very high, you can experience:

  • Dehydration
  • Acute illness
  • Nausea and vomiting

How can I control my blood sugar?

The first step is to know what your blood sugar levels are at various times throughout the day. And since high blood sugar doesn’t cause symptoms the majority of the time, the only way you can know your levels is to monitor them, usually just before and two hours after meals to give you a good idea of how high your blood sugar is following food or beverage intake.

The first way to reduce elevated blood sugar is to get regular exercise, lose weight and maintain weight loss, and control your carbohydrate intake at meals.

If these lifestyle changes don’t do the trick, the next step is oral medications. If or when you are no longer able to control your blood sugar with oral medications, then you’ll need to move to insulin.