Home Nutrition The dangers of excess blood sugar

The dangers of excess blood sugar

Blood sugar is a measurement of the amount of glucose in your blood. Glucose is a type of sugar that your body uses for energy. When you eat, your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose. Glucose is then absorbed into your bloodstream and used for energy or stored for later use.

Excess blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, occurs when your blood sugar levels are too high. Hyperglycemia can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Eating too much sugar or processed carbohydrates
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Having certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, Cushing’s syndrome, or pancreatitis

The risks of excess blood sugar

Excess blood sugar can lead to a variety of serious health problems, including:

  • Diabetes: Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when your blood sugar levels are too high. Diabetes can lead to a number of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, blindness, and kidney failure.
  • Heart disease: Excess blood sugar can damage your blood vessels, increasing your risk of heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Stroke: Excess blood sugar can also increase your risk of stroke. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Kidney disease: Excess blood sugar can damage your kidneys, leading to kidney disease. Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Nerve damage: Excess blood sugar can damage your nerves, leading to numbness, tingling, and pain. Nerve damage can affect your hands, feet, and other parts of your body.
  • Eye damage: Excess blood sugar can damage your eyes, leading to vision problems, including blindness.
  • Pregnancy complications: Excess blood sugar during pregnancy can increase the risk of complications for both the mother and the baby.

How to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range

There are a number of things you can do to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range, including:

  • Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It also limits processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats.
  • Get regular exercise: Exercise helps your body use glucose for energy. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
  • Lose weight: If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can help lower your blood sugar levels.
  • Take medication, if necessary: If you have diabetes, your doctor may prescribe medication to help you control your blood sugar levels.
  • Sleep problems: Excess blood sugar can interfere with sleep, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.
  • Mood swings: Excess blood sugar can also lead to mood swings, including irritability, anxiety, and depression.
  • Skin problems: Excess blood sugar can lead to skin problems, such as acne, itching, and dry skin.


Excess blood sugar can damage your kidneys in a number of ways. It can cause the blood vessels in your kidneys to thicken and harden, making it harder for your kidneys to filter waste from your blood. This can lead to kidney disease, which is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States.

Your kidneys are the tireless workhorses of your body, constantly filtering waste products from your blood. But excess blood sugar throws a wrench into their machinery. The delicate filters within the kidneys become clogged and damaged by the onslaught of glucose. This impairs their vital function, leading to:

  • Nephropathy: This progressive kidney disease, a major complication of diabetes, leads to a gradual decline in kidney function. Waste products build up in the blood, poisoning the body and eventually leading to kidney failure.
  • Increased risk of infections: Damaged kidneys are more susceptible to infections, adding another layer of complexity to managing diabetes.

Eyes: A Window to the Devastating Impact

Our eyes, those windows to the soul, are tragically vulnerable to the ravages of excess blood sugar. Hyperglycemia disrupts the delicate balance of fluids and nutrients within the eye, leading to:

  • Diabetic retinopathy: This sight-threatening condition damages the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye. Leakage and bleeding from these vessels can blur vision, cause floaters, and even lead to complete blindness.
  • Cataracts: The clouding of the eye’s lens, a common age-related condition, is accelerated by excess blood sugar. This can further impair vision and worsen quality of life.
  • Glaucoma: This condition, characterized by increased pressure within the eye, is more common in people with diabetes. It can damage the optic nerve, leading to irreversible vision loss.

The Silent Threat: Nerves Cry Out in Pain

Excess blood sugar isn’t just content with damaging blood vessels and vital organs; it also targets the intricate network of nerves throughout your body. Chronically high glucose levels wreak havoc on nerve health, leading to:

  • Diabetic neuropathy: This often agonizing condition causes numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands and feet. In severe cases, it can affect other parts of the body, leading to loss of sensation and even bladder and bowel control issues.
  • Delayed wound healing: Damaged nerves impair the body’s ability to heal wounds properly. This can lead to chronic infections and even gangrene in severe cases.

Pregnancy: A Delicate Dance with Double the Risk

For pregnant women, managing blood sugar levels becomes even more crucial. Excess blood sugar during pregnancy can have devastating consequences for both mother and baby, including:

  • Increased risk of miscarriage and birth defects: Hyperglycemia can interfere with fetal development, increasing the risk of birth defects and even miscarriage.
  • Macrosomia: A large baby, making delivery difficult and potentially requiring a C-section.
  • Neonatal hypoglycemia: Babies born to mothers with uncontrolled diabetes may experience dangerously low blood sugar levels after birth.

Remember, this is not an exhaustive list. Excess blood sugar’s insidious reach extends to various other organs and systems, impacting digestion, bone health, mental health, and even sexual function.

Turning the Tide: Combating the Threats of Excess Blood Sugar

We’ve painted a grim picture of the dangers lurking in the shadows of excess blood sugar. But knowledge is power, and amidst the darkness, glimmers of hope emerge. By understanding the specific threats we face, we can arm ourselves with effective strategies to combat them and protect our health.

Prevention is the key:

  • Diet: Embrace a balanced, nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats. Think of your plate as a colorful canvas, showcasing a variety of nutrient-rich options.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity acts as a potent weapon against hyperglycemia. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. Brisk walking, swimming, cycling, and dancing are excellent options.
  • Weight management: If you’re overweight or obese, shedding even a few pounds can significantly improve your blood sugar control. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian for personalized guidance on healthy weight loss strategies.
  • Stress management: Chronic stress can elevate blood sugar levels. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as yoga, meditation, spending time in nature, or engaging in hobbies you enjoy.

Early detection and intervention:

  • Regular blood sugar monitoring: Monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly, as advised by your doctor, is crucial for early detection of hyperglycemia and timely intervention.
  • Diabetes management: If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, work closely with your healthcare team to develop a personalized management plan that includes medication, dietary adjustments, and exercise routines.

Beyond individual action:

  • Public awareness and education: Raising awareness about the dangers of excess blood sugar and promoting healthy lifestyle choices can have a significant impact on public health.
  • Advocacy for research and support: Supporting research efforts towards better diabetes prevention, treatment, and cure, as well as advocating for accessible healthcare and support systems for those living with diabetes, are vital steps in creating a healthier future.


Excess blood sugar is a serious health condition that can lead to a variety of complications, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. By understanding the dangers of excess blood sugar and taking steps to prevent it, you can take control of your health and reduce your risk of developing these serious health problems.

For more information on nutrition and health, please visit our website or follow us on social media. We offer a variety of resources to help you learn about healthy eating and living a healthy lifestyle.

Previous articleHealthy eating for beginners: the definitive guide
Next articleBenefits of yoga for body, mind and spirit