The symptoms of diabetes mellitus are quite varied. And it is very easy to confuse them with other states. Therefore, people who develop this disease may not pay attention to thirst, digestive problems, excessive urination and other alarming signals of the body for a long time.
How can you tell if a person may have high blood sugar? We can live with high sugar for years and not suspect about it, or rather, not pay attention to warning signs. The main symptoms of this problem are excessive urination, excessive thirst, and excessive hunger. A large number of people may simply not pay attention to such symptoms, not attach importance to them. What is behind these symptoms?
Body Signals for High Sugar
According to the WHO recommendations, the average person should consume up to 6 teaspoons of sugar a day. However, according to the information of the above organization, an adult consumes about 4 times more than this norm per day – about two two teaspoons of sugar spoons.
The bottom line is that today, in general, you cannot find food products that do not include sugar. But the body signals in time that the body receives sugar in excess. How does it communicate this?
High blood pressure
People who consistently consume excessive amounts of sugar have blood pressure higher than normal. Experts believe that if you want to lower your blood pressure, it is more important to give up sugar than salt. It makes sense to exclude even sugar substitutes from the diet.
A large amount of sugar can disrupt the ratio of bad and good cholesterol, which negatively affects the health of blood vessels and the heart. Experts suggest that the problem lies in the ability of fructose to activate the production of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.
Excessive urination (polyuria)
Polyuria is the result of a biological and chemical chain reaction that occurs in the blood when an excessive concentration of glucose pushes intracellular fluid into the circulatory system. In a similar way, the body balances the concentration of glucose in the blood and cells. The blood is diluted with intracellular fluid, and the blood glucose is thus close to normal. The volume of fluid in the blood naturally increases.
As a result, dysfunction occurs in the kidneys. Our kidneys are filters that remove waste and return the purified fluid to the body. Reabsorption of fluid is carried out through the renal tubules, which make up the nephrons of the kidneys.
But, if the concentration of glucose in the fluid exceeds the permissible limit, the possibility of reabsorption of the renal tubules is impaired, provoking the so-called osmotic diuresis (excretion of an excessive volume of urine). Until the glucose level returns to normal, the renal tubules will not restore fluid reabsorption function.
There is a double chain reaction mechanism. The cells supply water to the bloodstream, and the kidneys cannot reabsorb this fluid, they expel water from the body uncontrollably. The result is excess urination.
The clinical indicator of polyuria is more than 2.5 liters of urine output per day (healthy output is 1.5 liters). With an excessively high sugar level, the patient may have an output of up to 15 liters.
Polydipsia is a natural response to the dehydrating mechanism of polyuria. The signal of thirst in the brain is sent by osmoreceptors, cells of the hypothalamus, which control the rate of blood dehydration and awaken the urge to drink.
Often a person, being thirsty, drinks sugary drinks containing a lot of sugar, thus complicating the situation.
Severe hunger is triggered by low insulin levels. This means that the amount of insulin in the blood is not enough to transport glucose molecules from the circulatory system to the cells, where they are the fuel for cellular processes.
When cells do not receive glucose, they send signals through hormones (leptin, ghrelin, orexin). These hormones tell the hypothalamus that the body needs food. In fact, there is enough glucose around the cells, it is present in the bloodstream, but the lack of insulin makes it impossible to use it.
Let’s say a person eats quite normally, but when the glucose level in the body is steadily increased, the patient will lose weight. Why is this happening?
- Loss of fluid from excess urination leads to weight loss.
- When the level of insulin is insufficient for glucose metabolism, the body begins to burn fat in order to ensure cellular metabolism.
- The excess of excreted urine contains a lot of high-calorie glucose.
As you know, sugar acts as food for bacteria and yeast.
Infections of the genitourinary tract are much more common in the fairer sex with diabetes, bacteria are found in their urine 2-3 times more often.
The fact is that bacteria and yeast feed on glucose and warm, dark and humid places are a comfortable environment for them.
Also, with a steadily elevated sugar index, damage to nerve tissues occurs. These injuries affect the ability of the bladder to empty properly. And the urine remaining in it is a favorable habitat for various bacteria.
Plus, high blood sugar can slow down blood circulation, which reduces the ability of white blood cells to travel to affected areas to fight infection.
Long-term healing of cuts and wounds
This is because neutrophils (leukocytes) are sensitive to high glucose levels. High blood sugar keeps neutrophils from sticking to the inner walls of blood vessels, disrupts chemotaxis (control of chemical signals that directs neutrophils to the area of injury / infection) and inhibits phagocytosis (when cells hold and digest solids).
The next complication in the problem of wound healing is the volume of oxygen. Its transport is impaired due to peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) or peripheral vascular disease. Similar conditions are observed with a high sugar index.
Problematic wound healing causes serious complications of diabetes. The lightest wounds and skin lesions can progress to necrosis.
Dry and itchy skin
The main cause of this phenomenon is excessive urination, which leads to dehydration and dryness of the skin.
Also, dryness and itching causes insufficient blood circulation. Signs of atherosclerosis such as hardening and narrowing of the arteries are quite common in diabetic patients.
Another skin condition caused by high blood glucose is diabetic dermopathy. It is expressed in the appearance of discolored spots on the skin. Such areas on the skin lose color due to damage to the capillaries due to high glucose levels. Disease is a clear visual sign of high blood sugar.
There is also a link between high sugar levels and acne tendencies.
This problem is the result of the dehydrating effect of excessive urination. As mentioned above, when the concentration of glucose in the blood is high, the body pushes fluid from the cells into the circulatory system. This also occurs in the cells of the eyes. If the protective shell of the eye dries, it can deform and the eye loses its ability to focus properly.
In addition, high sugar levels damage the back of the eye (retinopathy), which can lead to blindness.
Headaches and problems with concentration
Starving brain cells do not have access to the glucose circulating in the blood. The brain absorbs 25% of all glucose consumed by the body. And if the brain cells have problems getting this kind of fuel, they begin to function insufficiently.
This fact provokes difficulties with memorization, thinking, the ability to concentrate. Headaches are caused by nerve damage.
If the blood glucose is excessive, the body does not store and use it correctly. Energy is not used efficiently, and cells are not getting the fuel they need. The result is a decrease in physical energy at the cellular level.
If every day you feel like a squeezed lemon by the middle of the day, it is probably worth reconsidering your diet: give up sweet coffee and confectionery.
Persistent constipation or persistent diarrhea
Both of these conditions can be triggered by high blood glucose levels, affecting specific areas of the intestine. If the small intestine is affected, diarrhea occurs, if the large intestine, then constipation.
The function of the small intestine is to absorb nutrients from already digested food, and the function of the large intestine is to absorb water from indigestible waste.
If neuropathy due to high glucose levels affects the enteral nerves in the small intestine, the result is dysfunction in mobility, causing delayed emptying into the colon. There is stagnation of fluids in the small intestine, bacterial overgrowth, and, as a result, bloating and diarrhea.
Also, nerve damage can inhibit the movement of waste through the colon. Slow-moving waste dehydrates, which can lead to constipation.
High blood sugar provokes depression and negatively affects the ability to think and make quick decisions.
Experts disagree on this issue. One theory is that because the brain is dependent on glucose uptake for proper functioning, fluctuations in glucose concentration affect cerebral function. The second theory is based on the fact that the speed of “conduction” of the cerebral nerve is to blame. It is also hypothesized about the interaction between little-known hormones and proteins.