Why high blood sugar is badBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-blood-sugar/MY01701
- With Mayo Clinic diabetes educators
Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N., and Peggy Moreland, R.N.read biographyclose window
Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N., and Peggy Moreland, R.N.Nancy Klobassa Davidson and Peggy Moreland
Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N., B.S.N, C.D.E
Nancy Klobassa Davidson is a registered nurse who has worked in diabetes education for 17 years. She is a certified diabetes educator (C.D.E.) and is currently in graduate school working on a Master of Science in nursing (M.S.N.) and health care education.
Nancy works with adults who have type 1, type 2 and other forms of diabetes. Nancy is coordinator of the Diabetes Unit's intensive insulin therapy program within the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism, & Nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Nancy has worked extensively with insulin pump therapy and continuous interstitial glucose sensing.
Peggy Moreland, R.N., M.S.N.
Peggy Moreland is a certified diabetes educator (C.D.E.) in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism, & Nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Peggy graduated with a Master of Science in Nursing and Health Care Education from the University of Phoenix and is a member of the American Association of Diabetes Educators and the American Diabetes Association. A certified diabetes educator (C.D.E.), Peggy enjoys working with patients to set and achieve diabetes self-management goals.
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Why high blood sugar is bad
By Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N., and Peggy Moreland, R.N.
You've been told that high blood sugar causes complications, but have you ever wondered why? Diabetes often has no obvious symptoms. Occasionally, a patient tells us that maybe high blood sugar is normal for him or her. But there's no such thing as "a touch of diabetes" or having blood sugar that is "a little high."
Blood sugar actually coats red blood cells (hemoglobin), causing them to become stiff. These "sticky cells" interfere with blood circulation, causing cholesterol to build up on the inside of your blood vessels. It can take months to years for the damage to your body to appear. The fragile blood vessels in your eyes, kidneys and feet are most susceptible, so problems are usually noticed first in those areas.
Controlling high blood sugar may help prevent or decrease many long-term diabetes complications, such as:
- Heart attack
- Eye problems that can lead to trouble seeing or blindness
- Nerve damage in your hands and feet that can cause pain, tingling and numbness
- Kidney problems, including kidney failure
- Gum disease and tooth loss
Some damage to the body may already start occurring during prediabetes — a condition in which your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Research has shown that if you have prediabetes, you can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by almost 60 percent through lifestyle changes. These changes include increasing your physical activity and modest weight loss — losing as little as 5 to 7 percent of your current weight. That's a huge risk reduction from small changes!
Ultimately, diabetes is a chronic health condition that can affect many aspects of your health. It's important that you take high blood sugar seriously. Regular follow-up care may help you better manage the disease and live an active, healthy life.