“Sorry, I am high!” That might be one of my favorite things to say to people who don’t know that I have diabetes. Also, to be clear, I am talking about my blood glucose. When I do get high I am definitely not the same person, no one is. So, what is considered high? What are the symptoms? I am glad you asked. According to the America Diabetes Association people who have a fasting blood glucose over 125 mg/dL is considered high. After meals, you should be below 180 mg/dL 1-hour post meal and below 140 mg/dL 2 hours post meal. You can only imagine when the 200 and 300 numbers start popping up how fun that is to deal with. As mentioned in my previous post about carb counting, it is crucial for diabetics to know what they are eating and to get their ratios right or those numbers can easily get out of control.
Back to being high though and the symptoms. I am going to tell you my personal thoughts on it but I have also asked my best friend for her opinion and experience. Diabetes does not just affect one person, it affects an entire community. Luckily I have one of the best, if not the best, support systems and could not be more grateful. When my blood glucose is too high I feel incredibly tired, irritable, edgy, thirsty, and good lord do I want some candy. The reason behind this is that your body is not getting the glucose and energy that it needs to function so it sends signals to take care of it when in reality you need insulin. Shandra describes me as lethargic or tired, sudden mood changes, and awkward or slurred speech. Good thing I have an amazing support system because I can only imagine how fun I am during these times!
The long-term effects of high blood glucose include blindness, retinopathy, kidney damage, neuropathy (loss of feeling in hands and feet), and ketoacidosis (diabetic coma). When you are riding high for too long it puts a lot of added stress on these organs leading to the above complications. Read more on the ADA website (http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/hyperglycemia.html).
Another side effect of high blood glucose is the production of ketones. When the body is not getting glucose into the cells for energy it begins to break down fat instead. When the body starts this process ketones are produced as a waste byproduct. Unfortunately, the body cannot tolerate a large amount of ketones and if it cannot expel this build up through the urine it can lead to the life-threatening diagnosis of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). The symptoms of this, and you should know this whether you have diabetes or not, are shortness of breath, fruity smelling breath, nausea and vomiting, and a very dry mouth. If those symptoms start to occur it is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT to get to the doctor and get on insulin.
Although reading about these complications is not all rainbows and butterflies it is true that knowledge is power. By knowing the symptoms you are better equipped to deal with them. But if we can avoid them all together? That is what my ultimate goal is. So, by partnering with these amazing local businesses I hope that these carb counts help keep your blood glucose levels as flat as a road in west Texas. It is time to Party Like A Diabetic!