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Northern-Mike

Is Having Blood Sugars in the 400's Dangerous?

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Hi,

 

Its been a little while since I last posted here. I am having an ongoing debate, is having blood sugars in the 400's dangerous? While I know that it is not good to have them that high, I am yet to be convinced that numbers in the those levels can kill you.

 

What I do know is that this past week my blood sugars did go over 400 and I went to the ER. They kept me overnight trying to get my blood sugar down. But I was in a waiting area for a couple of hours before even being treated and my numbers naturally went down. Then they put me in a room and gave me an IV, etc.

 

Another time while being on this forums chat room, I had elevated blood sugars in the high 300's. At the advice of fellow chatters, I called my diabetes Dr. who told me to take extra Glyburide instead.

 

So, I am confused, is it really dangerous to be that high or is it in the eye of the beholder instead.

 

Thank you for your replies!

 

Mike

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It is dangerous, but not likely acutely dangerous.

 

It is possible for it to become accutely dangerous. More than a day in a row can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, a dangerous and possibly deadly condition. We're talking usually days, but it can happen fast in some.

 

The biggest danger is complications, the longer term effects. There is no doubt that continued 400's will result in likely multiple of retinopathy , infection, amputation, nephropathy, heart disease, neuropathy, and possibly more. It is not medium term sustainable.

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For some people, when their blood sugar number is extremely high, they get blurred vision, become extremely dizzy, exhibit drunkenness, faint or show other physical/physiological symptoms that may cause them to be an immediate danger to themselves or others.

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While short forays into the 400 range may not be immediately life threatening, if you consistently have blood sugars over the 200 range, you're on the fast track to the complications xMenace already cataloged above. That's the problem with diabetes and high blood sugars in particular. They may not present an acute problem and aside from being thirsty, getting skin infections, and feeling tired, grumpy, or just plain crappy, you may think all is well. But if you picture the glucose tearing through your delicate veins and arteries like tiny shards of glass, constantly cutting and tearing their way through, followed by continual scarring and rescarring, long term high blood sugars take a decimating toll on the body, particularly the nerves and kidneys. Not to mention the very real risk of completely burning out your pancreas, which will result in either using insulin for the rest of your life, or very serious and unpleasant complications like potentially fatal diabetic ketoacidosis.

 

If you're having this issue on a regular basis and your doctor is not alarmed or doing little more than recommending additional glyburide, I'd strongly suggest you find a physician who knows how to properly treat diabetes. He/she is doing you no favors by band-aiding blood sugars like that. You might also need to take a hard look at your diet and make some changes to avoid getting that high. 400s aren't generally a massive spike in otherwise normal BGs. You'd have to have poorly controlled blood sugars in the first place, likely in the 200s most of the time, to easily hit that range. Unless you regularly make a meal out of a five pound bag of sugar washed down with Mountain Dew.

 

Take it from us long timers. We've seen plenty of people ignore their diabetes or live in denial of their condition, but those are the same folks who are missing legs, enduring painful and torturous neuropathy, suffering debilitating heart conditions, going suddenly and irreparably blind, or having weekly dialysis. Not a fun place to be and completely avoidable in most cases with sensible management.

 

I hope you'll stick around the forum and take to heart the advice people give here. You can learn a lot about diabetes management and get real world viewpoints on what actually works, versus what the medical community spoon feeds everyone. There are so many helpful people here, it's an invaluable asset to getting your medical house in order. Good luck!

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I'm curious, Mike. Are your 300 - 400+ numbers a regular occurance or an occasional "oops - I ate the wrong thing" happenstance? To be blunt, you seem to be justifying those high numbers by saying that you have yet to be convinced that they can kill you. Be assured...consistently operating at that level would make you a candidate for DKA, which can most definitely kill you. And as xMenace pointed out, elevated blood sugar can have severe and long-lasting consequences. Your body is designed to operate with fasting blood sugar under 100 and post-meal peaks within a narrow range - maybe with very short excursions to 160.

 

If it were me, I'd be re-evaluating my treatment regimen if elevated numbers like that (and trips to the ER) were a regular feature in my life.

 

Jen

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Not sure what my numbers were, I was unDxed at the time, but a dinner of Taco soup, then biscuits and gravy the next morning was all it took. The next thing I knew I was loosing fluids from both ends, went into convulsion from Potassium loss. Two days later when I felt strong enough to go to the med center my Bg was 250. Took another round of a similar episode before my denial finally gave way to WTF. Finally Dxed at 350 FBG after eating no carbs for a week, eggs and slim jims.

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Thanks Everyone for your replies so far!

 

They did mention the DKA word at the hospital the other night. I was confused by the question because I did not think that I actually had it! :o

 

My blood sugars have consistently been in the 200's, which sometimes teeter over 300 and once in a great while, 400. Yes, I guess I am in denial on it, but reading here helps me become more aware of the dangers of things. I guess it is a question of how I am gonna deal with it from this point forward.

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My Mom in law was diabetic that she didn't control. Hers would go up way high then she would let them go way low...like around 15. She would eat what she wanted then throw up or not eat at all. She continually ate pasta, potatoes, rice, ect. I'm sorry to say she passed away a few years ago cause her organs just couldn't take it anymore. Nothing anyone in the family said could make her listen and it was hard to try and keep an eye on her 24/7. She cut her life short because she wouldn't adhere to the diet. I also was in denial for over 10yrs. until they put me on meds. Now I'm trying my best to keep this in check and not go on insulin. I've changed my eating habits, although sometimes I do eat a potato, but I pay for it, and I've starting exercising, me who was one of the biggest couch potatoes you ever saw. I've lost 30lbs. and getting my hubby to exercise with me. So if you don't want to kill yourself early start managing now. I don't know how much damage I did the last 10yrs.

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Catherine, I am sorry to hear about your loss! :(

 

I just tested my blood sugars, I am at 325 right now. I guess I am not learning my lesson at all. :/

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Catherine, I am sorry to hear about your loss! :(

 

I just tested my blood sugars, I am at 325 right now. I guess I am not learning my lesson at all. :/

 

Well, you can't worry about what's been done, but you can change beginning with your next meal. It will take time to bring down blood sugars that high (maybe a week?) without insulin. There is tons of dietary advice here on the forum, from low carb to Paleo to a more moderate middle-of-the-road diet. It sounds like you're eating a lot of carbs right now, so perhaps the best thing you could do is cut back on rice, pasta, sugar, breads, and potatoes. I didn't say never eat them again, but concentrate on reducing the frequency you eat them. Try eggs and sausage, or bacon, or ham or something high protein for breakfast. Understand too, that if you're a carb person, it can take a little while to break the cycle and not crave them anymore.

 

For ideas on a moderate diet, you might look at the South Beach Diet. It focuses on lean protein, healthy fats, and "good" carbs. I did it for years and aside from losing weight, it did wonders for my blood sugar and overall control. My A1C was consistently within normal range. But diabetes is progressive and I did end up on insulin a few years later.

 

It sounds like any change would be good for you right now. Do your best to get those numbers down! You'll live to enjoy it, instead of regretting it.

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I do take medications for my diabetes. When I last tested my blood sugar, it was down to only 200 or so. They seem to spike a lot.

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I would argue that you're not on enough medication. Basically, any BG over 140 causes damage. The odd brief spike up to 200 is probably not too bad but you don't want it to be a regular occurrence.

 

Hate to be the bad guy here but with your control at the moment you WILL go blind. You WILL lose a foot. You WILL become impotent. You WILL have a heart attack. Not today, not tomorrow, but maybe in a couple of years.

 

This stuff is NOT in the eye of the beholder, it's a medically established fact. Here's an experiment for you - ask people in your family (nicely!) if you can do a quick BG test on them. All of them will have readings under 140 (in fact more likely, most of them will be under 110). Get a few of them to do it. Then ask yourself, why on earth do so many people without diabetes have BGs at that level? There is a reason why BGs are kept that low. Sugar in your blood is like sandpaper - it rips apart your insides and scratches away at your eyes, your feet, your heart, your brain. It is not a good thing to have in excess.

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I would argue that you're not on enough medication. Basically, any BG over 140 causes damage. The odd brief spike up to 200 is probably not too bad but you don't want it to be a regular occurrence.

I would be happy at 6/108 and then again it's very frustrating to have that figure all the time. Diabetes is an art to get that number down and it all boils down to what you eat as Carbohydrates is the main problem here.

When you have Blood Glucose up in the 400MD/GL is enough to make your Glucose tern into poison!!!!!! as this will go into your vital organs to cause havoc as the eye go first. Get some information about going Low Carb as this will get the BG down to a better number.

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My advise would be top ask your doctor for a script fort a fast-acting insulin.

 

on the days when you hit 350+ - take a small dose of insulin to bring it down. (be guided by your doctor with respect to how much ... until you have done enough experimentation to know what works for you).

 

If your fasting levels are also elevated - then you need a more general increase in medication.

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My advise would be top ask your doctor for a script fort a fast-acting insulin.

 

Or better still with long acting like Levermir or Lantus. ;):)

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What medications are you taking? Evidently if your bgs are going that high they are not strong enough. I think the problem with higher bgs is not immediate damage, but the higher bgs are toxic to your beta cells. So the longer you keep higher bgs the less beta cells you will have. Once the beta cells are gone, they are gone. No one can tell you where diabetic damage begins. I have heard 140, I have even heard lower numbers. I am not willing to take a chance with my diabetic body. I really like having toes, feet, legs, kidneys and eyes. Usually by the time damage starts it may be too late. Can you tell us what your normal diet is like? Sometimes all you need is a few tweaks to bring those bgs down. Many times our bodies get used to high bgs, that is why you really don't feel anything.

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This is what can happen if things decide to turn south on you. I wrote this back in 2009, soon after I was Dxed.

 

 

Let me begin by saying I was a healthy child, healthy adult. I may have been to the doc 5 times in 30 yrs, unitl I turned 50yrs old. I was 6'1" 260lbs most of my life since 10th grade in high school and strong as an Ox, slightly over weight and ate everything and anything that was in front of me.

 

My wife and I walked 20 miles a week for years. She then had medical problems of her own and the walking subsided. It was during this time I think my BG started to climb. Doc says I had D for approx 3-5 years with out being Dx. All the rest happened in a short 18 months of my life, as I look back I still can't believe this all took place.

 

It all started with a MRSA infection on my leg. I went into DKA twice, the Docs at the med center took my blood and said it was 250, this was after loosing fluids out of every orifice I own for 48 hrs before I could get to the med center. Of course denial is a powerful enemy and I brushed it off. I went thru 3 different antibiotics for a month. The yeast infection was some kinda fun, both ears, throat mouth, and yes I even had it where any man doesn't want a yeast infection.

 

I finally went to the Doc after eating nothing but eggs and slim jims for a week and my BG was 350, and my BP was 220/110. He put me on MET and BP meds. Thats when the rest of the fun began.

 

We have a very small manufacturing process that requires lots of hand work. Needless to say I had Neuropthy so bad in my hands I had to tape popsicle sticks to my fingers and wear a wrist brace on both hands, couldn't move them with out some really outrageous pain. I was a sight to see, Edward Scissors Hands comes to mind.

 

Two ear aches followed, one in my left ear, so severe I lost partial hearing. Weeks later in my right ear, (inner ear) this one gave me vertigo so bad I layed on the floor for hours just dry heaving after I lost everything in my stomach. Not long after that my back was tightening up, so I had my wife walk on my back as she had done for years. Got a broken rib out of the deal. Next was the chest pain I was having when we did try to walk. I endured the chest pain for 9 months or so. Again, denial is a powerful enemy. Wife convinced me to see a Cardiologist, and within 5 days I had open heart surgery. All this because I was to thick headed to see a Doc early on. I am a new man these days, denial has been beaten, I hope.

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hmm yes its dangerous. Being in 400 may not necessarily kill u but it causes long term problems that will eventually kill u if you have high bg often enough.

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Thanks again everyone! This is really giving me something to think about. My diet hasn't really changed since I was first diagnosed. I know that I really need to change this, but not quite ready to do so yet. As far as the meds, I am on 1000MG Metformen once a day and Glyburide 2.5 twice a day. Of course being in somewhat denial I do not take the medicines everyday. Also, they tend to make me feel sick too. I know, the alternative makes you sick too and can be deadly as well.

 

I do regularly monitor my blood sugar, and when it gets too high, I take action. Although truth be told I have ridden out blood sugars in the mid to high 300's at home. When I was tested at the hospital, I did my own checking before. I was getting numbers in the 380's to 420's. I learned in the past (with a different meter) to go by the lower numbers. This time they confirmed a 427 number instead.

 

I do find what everyone is saying helpful. It helps be get out of my denial state and better understand what damage could be done.

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Not only is there the usual risk of complications to fear, (blindness, amputation, heart attack, etc.) but high BG means high tooth decay. If your BG is 400 (4 times normal), then your tooth decay is also 4 times normal.

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Northern-Mike, I've already lost 8 teeth to this and will probably lose the rest and have to have dentures according to my dentist. I was constantly loosing time at work because of one infection or another and finally had to quit (doctor recommendation) because of the stress and bg's. I have had skin infections (no fun at all), and have had to get glasses because my eyesight has been damaged. Please, please, please quit denying this and address it before it's too late. I new I was pre diabetic and didn't do anything for it and avoided the doctor as much as possible until it got too bad. I will pray for you and hope you do something soon to address this and take charge and not let it take charge of you.

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Get real. Take your meds & adjust your diet. My neighbor died last year due to diabetic complications, she ate what she wanted & did not think high sugars were much of a problem.

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One of my employees just lost his father to diabetes, because the father did not take care of his disease. He went into a coma and never woke up.

 

But we cannot want you to take care of yourself more than YOU want to take care of you. Having your BG consistently in the 300s-400s WILL catch up with you, it's only a question of when.

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