The Dangerous Duo
While the symptoms discussed above are associated with high blood sugar levels in general, there are two main dangers that are specifically linked to blood sugar levels over 400. The first is hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome (HHNS). HHNS occurs when the body’s blood sugar levels rise to unsafe levels. As a result, the body tries to get rid of the excess sugar by passing it into the urine. Eventually this could result in severe dehydration which in turn can lead to seizures, coma and even death.
There are several reasons why HHNS can occur: illness, infection, skipping doses of medicine or not adhering to one’s prescribed meal plan. Symptoms of HHNS include extreme thirst, dry skin, high fever, sleepiness, loss of vision, hallucinations and weakness on one side of the body. If you are experiencing the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately. In the meantime, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and test your sugar so that you can report your findings to the doctor.
The other danger that is associated with high blood sugar levels is diabetic ketoacidosis. This condition occurs when there are high levels of ketones (acids that build up in the blood) in the body from excess blood sugar.
Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include thirst, frequent urination, sleepiness, dry skin, nausea, trouble breathing, confusion and high blood sugar levels. Should you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately as diabetic ketoacidosis can result in coma or death. Be sure to check your urine for ketones every 4 to 6 hours so that you can monitor the situation and keep your doctor updated.