Dangers of Blood Sugar Levels Over 500 mg/dl
People with blood sugar levels over 500 mg/dl are usually those who have not yet been diagnosed yet and are not treating the disease. In all cases, blood sugar levels that high are a medical emergency. While most complications will only occur after prolonged bouts of hyperglycemia, there are two conditions that can cause death very quickly if the blood sugar levels are not brought under control.
Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when there is no insulin being produced, as is the case with all type 1 diabetics and some type 2 diabetics. Glucose accumulates in the bloodstream and the body begins to burn up stored fat for energy instead. Ketones, a by-product of this process, also circulate in the blood. Excess ketones together with high levels of blood sugar make the blood extremely acidic. If not treated quickly, the high levels of acidity can cause irreversible damage to tissues and cells in the body, eventually leading to death.
Most type 2 diabetics do produce insulin and rarely experience diabetic ketoacidosis, but with blood sugar levels over 500 mg/dl, they are prone to a condition called hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS). This usually occurs when the person with the high blood sugar levels also suffer from conditions that cause diarrhea or vomiting, or elderly patients who are already prone to dehydration. Because the body is sapping the body of its fluids in an effort to get rid of the excess sugar in the bloodstream, any condition that exacerbates it can quickly cause HHS.