Occasional hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) can happen if you eat more than planned or exercise less than planned; if you have an illness, such as a cold or flu or extreme emotional stress; or if you don't take your medications correctly.
Complications of prolonged high blood sugar
Hyperglycemia that continues for years can cause serious complications. It can cause:
- A markedly increased risk for heart attacks
- Increased risk for stroke
- Diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to central visual loss and eventually functional blindness
- Kidney failure – Diabetes is the leading cause for kidney transplants.
- Circulatory problems – Decreased blood flow to the extremities, particularly the legs, can lead to amputation. Diabetes is the leading cause of below-the-knee amputations in the United States. Erectile dysfunction also is related to poor blood flow.
- Damage to nerves (neuropathy), which can cause tingling, pain or changes in sensation in the skin – Damage to the autonomic nerves may cause abnormal sweating (typically when eating or even with mild exercise), slowed digestion, attacks of sudden onset diarrhea, poor control of heart rate and other problems.