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How to Recognize and Treat High Blood Sugar in Non-Diabetics

When you have too much sugar in your blood, it is called high blood sugar or hyperglycemia. It can happen to anyone, even if they do not have diabetes. It usually happens when your blood sugar is more than 180 mg/dL after you eat. Some signs that you have high blood sugar are:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Going to the bathroom a lot
  • Having blurry eyesight
  • Feeling sick and throwing up
  • Having a stomach ache
  • Feeling tired
  • Having a headache

Some things that can make your blood sugar high are:

  • Insulin resistance and prediabetes: This is when your body does not use insulin well. Insulin is a chemical that helps your cells get sugar from your blood. When your body does not use insulin well, your blood sugar stays high and you can get type 2 diabetes.
  • Injury or stress: When you are hurt or worried, your body makes more hormones like cortisol. These hormones make your blood sugar go up. This can happen when you have a wound, a sickness, or a nervous feeling.
  • Cushing’s syndrome: This is a rare problem that happens when your body makes too much cortisol. This hormone can make your blood sugar high, and also make you gain weight and have high blood pressure.
  • Medicines: Some medicines, like steroids, beta-blockers, and water pills, can make your blood sugar high.

High blood sugar can be very bad for you if you do not treat it. It can cause:

  • Dehydration: High blood sugar can make you lose water through going to the bathroom a lot and feeling very thirsty. This can make you dehydrated, which can hurt your kidneys and your blood pressure.
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA): This is a very dangerous problem that happens when you do not have enough insulin to use sugar for energy. Your body then uses fat for energy and makes ketones. Ketones are acids that can build up in your blood and pee. This can make you feel sick, throw up, have a stomach ache, have a fruity smell in your breath, and be confused.
  • Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS): This is another very dangerous problem that happens when your blood sugar is very high, usually more than 600 mg/dL. This can make your blood thick and sticky, which can stop the blood from flowing to your organs and tissues. This can make you dehydrated, confused, have seizures, and pass out.

If you have any signs of high blood sugar, you should see your doctor right away. They can find out why your blood sugar is high and give you the right treatment. Depending on how bad your problem is, you may need to:

  • Check your blood sugar often
  • Change what you eat and how much you move
  • Take medicines to lower your blood sugar
  • Get fluids and insulin through a needle in the hospital

High blood sugar is a serious problem that can hurt your health. By knowing the signs, reasons, and treatments, you can stop or control your high blood sugar and avoid problems.

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