Dangerous Blood Sugar Levels: What Diabetics Need to Know

2023-11-30 21:54:09

Diabetes patients must continually monitor their blood sugar levels. But at what levels are you at risk of having too much or too little sugar?

Diabetes is no longer a rare disease, but a reality that affects the lives of millions of people worldwide. According to figures from Deutsche Diabetes Hilfe, around eleven million people are currently affected by the disease in Germany alone. The first signs of diabetes before a diagnosis can include increased thirst, fatigue and unexplained weight loss. But when does it actually become dangerous for diabetes patients, i.e. when is the blood sugar level too high or too low? We will address this question in this article.

Diabetes: At what level does it become dangerous?

In a healthy adult, the fasting blood sugar level is approximately 8 to 10 hours without eating, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) between 70 mg/dl (3.9 mmol/l) and 100 mg/dl (5.6 mmol/l).

To explain: The concentration of glucose in the blood, also known as blood sugar levels, can be measured in two different units: “milligrams per deciliter” (mg/dl) or “millimole per liter” (mmol/l). The most commonly used unit internationally is mmol/l. The mg/dl figure refers to the weight of the dissolved sugar particles per volume, while the mmol/l figure calculates the number of dissolved sugar particles, i.e. the amount of substance, per volume.

According to this, we speak of diabetes Diabetesinformationsportal when values ​​of 200 mg/dl (11.1 mmol/l) or more are measured in the laboratory – regardless of whether and what the person has eaten beforehand. For the diagnosis, another measurement is then carried out in a fasting state – i.e. when the affected person has not eaten for 8 to 12 hours. If the person then has a value of 126 mg/dl (7.0 mmol/l) or greater, they most likely have diabetes mellitus. However, these values ​​only show when diabetes could be present. But at what levels does it become dangerous for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes?

Target values ​​for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are usually 100-125 mg/dl on an empty stomach. Anything outside of this spectrum is not desirable. People talk loudly about high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in diabetes patients diabinfo.de with the following values:

Over 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/l) and up to 250 mg/dl (13.9 mmol/l) = Mild hyperglycemia Over 250 mg/dl (13.9 mmol/l) = Severe hyperglycemia with signs of Ketoacidosis, which can lead to diabetic coma. Below 70 mg/dl (3.3 mmol/l) = hypoglycemia

Diabetes: What can happen if you have too much or too little sugar

So what happens when a person has high or low blood sugar? The symptoms of hyperglycemia are loud gesundheitsinformation.de not always noticeable immediately and can go unnoticed for years. Signs include feeling very thirsty, frequent urination, tiredness, lack of energy, nausea and dizziness. In severe cases, a very high blood sugar concentration can lead to impaired consciousness and even a diabetic coma. In people who already have a diagnosis of diabetes, such symptoms may indicate that treatment needs to be adjusted. This may include prescribing or adjusting medications to lower blood sugar levels, and in some cases, hospitalization may be necessary to regulate blood sugar.

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Hypoglycemia is – as the name suggests – a sharp drop in blood sugar. Symptoms can include rapid pulse, cold sweat, pale complexion, headache, cravings, trembling, restlessness, nervousness, difficulty concentrating and even confusion, writes gesundheitsinofrmation.de. However, the intensity of the symptoms depends on the individual blood sugar level and can vary.

Mild hypoglycemia is usually not harmful, but severe hypoglycemia can cause loss of consciousness and be life-threatening. In such cases, it is important to act quickly by consuming sugar in the form of glucose or sugary lemonade. People with type 1 diabetes often have a pre-filled syringe of glucagon, a hormone that stimulates the liver to release sugar into the blood, in case of emergency.

In general, the German Diabetes Society recommends that those affected be aware of the symptoms and risks of high and low blood sugar levels and to check their blood sugar levels regularly in order to identify and treat potential problems at an early stage. A balanced diet and regular physical activity are also crucial to keeping blood sugar levels in the target range. The German Diabetes Society recommends sticking to a nutritional plan that is tailored to individual needs and integrating regular physical exercise into everyday life to increase insulin sensitivity and stabilize blood sugar levels. These measures not only help to minimize acute risks, but also contribute to improving quality of life in the long term.

By the way: Diabetes manifests itself differently depending on age and gender. In fact, diabetes symptoms are different in men than in children. A lot of belly fat can also indicate insulin resistance.

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