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High Blood Sugars Increase Risk of Dehydration — an article on the Smart Living Network
September 21, 2007 at 10:29 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

High Blood Sugars Increase Risk of Dehydration


If you have diabetes, you know that it's important to keep your blood glucose levels within a healthy range. If your blood glucose levels get too high, you'll notice symptoms of increased thirst and urination. You should pay attention to these changes. If levels are left untreated, you may end up in the hospital with life-threatening complications.


When your blood sugar levels rise above 200 mg/dL, your kidneys will extricate some of the excess sugar through urine. In the process, the kidneys will release fluids in the urine. This fluid and sugar loss depletes the body of calories and, therefore, energy. You may experience increased hunger and weight loss even though you are eating. If your blood sugar continues to rise and you don't drink enough water to replace the depleted fluids, you risk dehydration. Complications can include:

  • Weakness of the immune system
  • Blurred vision as the lens of your eye temporarily swells and shrinks
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • In severe cases: sudden brain problems including confusion, stroke symptoms, seizures, or a coma

Dehydration can lead to a diabetic emergency like a hyperosmolar state or diabetic ketoacidosis.

Hyperosmolar State

For those with type 2 diabetes, a hyperosmolar state can develop if your blood glucose levels are consistently very high and you're dehydrated. The symptoms can easily go unnoticed, which is one reason why it's so dangerous. You may have increased urination for days, but you may not have increased thirst.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

People with type 1 diabetes and people with type 2 diabetes, who produce little or no insulin, are at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA also occurs when your blood sugar content is consistently high along with dehydration. Your body will burn proteins and fat instead of glucose for energy, resulting in the buildup of acids and ketones in your blood. While some ketones may be released in your urine, it's crucial to get medical care in the event of DKA. High blood sugars also feed yeast and fungus in the body, leading to an overgrowth of yeast and bodily infections. If you're diabetic, it's imperative that you maintain a stable safe blood sugar level.


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