High Blood Sugar Symptoms

Hi everyone! I’m a type 1 on an insulin pump, diagnosed back in 1998.

I just wanted to share some changes I’ve had in my high blood sugar symptoms since cutting back on carbs and adding regular exercise into my routine.

Basically, whenever I used to get a high sugar level I used to feel a little groggy during the evening of that day, but I was always able to push through and keep on working. And although it would have been illegal to drive, I actually think it would have been ok. I hardly felt anything apart from a little thirsty.

Now that my sugar levels are in much better control it’s like I hit a wall of sleepiness and tiredness every time my level even starts to get a little high. Isn’t that weird?

The first time this happened was a month ago when I was walking my dog with my brother (thank goodness he was there) - and I actually could not walk at my usual pace, and it was an effort to move my legs. Everything was going at half speed. And when I’m typing at work and I have a high approaching, I can always tell because my muscles feel really weak. Does this happen to anyone else?

And is this just a sign that my better control has increased my awareness and response to highs? (i used to go over 10mmol (180) basically every day, and now it happens once a week!)

How do you feel with a high sugar level? What symptoms do you get?

I’ve had the same experience, though not quite as severe as you seem to be experiencing. When I was under less strict control, I would feel fine or just a bit off at 200-250 and wouldn’t feel ‘sick’ until I was 300-400. Now, that pit in the stomach feeling and the lethargy starts creeping in in the high 100s or low 200s. >250 and I feel weaker and nauseous. But my symptoms themselves have not changed too much, just the level at which I feel them.

When I am high, I’ve always felt groggy and sleepy as well. I have been running with tight control lately and those feelings happen at blood sugars that would have been my normal fastings just six months ago. I do think we come accustomed to the blood sugar levels, I know it happens with lows.

ps. Is it really illegal to drive in the UK if your blood sugar is high?

I’ve recently cut back on carbs and therefore am having better numbers, and I also feel high at numbers that would previously have no effect on me. I used to hit 14-16 (250-300) pretty much daily, and now my highs are more like 10-11 (180-200, still daily though, but only for brief periods). When I hit 12-14 now it’s like I used to feel in the high teens or above: thirsty, tired, etc. Yesterday, due to eating like crap (I was out essentially all day), I spent the entire afternoon and evening stuck at 12-14 and felt so high that at one point I was positive I would be in the 20s, but I was only 14! I was still able to function, though, but previously I would have barely noticed if I was 12 or 14.

makes sense - my HbA1c has been around 8 for the past few years and if i’m in the teens I hardly notice! it worries me to think that i felt so awful when i was diagnosed with a bs of 17 and now i can function at that level. eeek!

Wow… interesting! My son is a fairly new T1 and he gets very sluggish and says it is next to impossible to stay awake during his post pradinal highs from breakfast…
but what caught my eye in your post… “And although it would have been illegal to drive,” are there numbers that you can actually be arrested for if they find you are driving at them??? My son is 16 and is almost done his “permit” part of driving…but I had never heard this… He knows he is supposed to test before getting behind the wheel but he says… “I know I am fine… I can tell” and doesn’t always test.

This makes sense… my son keeps seeking the “perfect” number to be under to not feel sluggish and it keeps getting lower… this seems scary cuz sometimes he will do drastic things to get to feel good.

I feel absolutely miserable when my sugars are over 250… I totally feel like crap!!! Sometimes I can actually feel the high blood sugar reaction, before it actually is high. I realize that this happens (most of the time) when I eat bad carbs.


it certainly is for me… it said somewhere on my first provisional that driving over or under a certain level is illegal (but maybe, just maybe i put that in place in my head so i wouldn’t drive when i was high)!

glad it’s not just me!

yep, staying awake is definitely an issue. i would always always test before getting in the car, because it’s scary when you go low or high and almost have an accident - and i’ve known way too many diabetics my age who’ve crashed numerous times…

yep it’s weird, i can start to feel it as it goes up and up too. very bizarre sensation! and is usually to do with forgetting to bolus or eating too much.

In court you need to proof your responsible behaviour. This is why todays metering devices do not allow to delete test results (the full reset is the only exception and some corean companies handle that differently). If there are doubts the meter will be checked by an expert to verify the claim of the driver - at least this is how German courts would handle this. To me it is pretty clear that an insulin dependend diabetic will have a much weaker position in court without this digital evidence.

I’m going to be the odd one out here and confess that I actually feel quite good when I’m high. I don’t run high for long periods and maybe if I did, I would start to feel tired and sluggish. But if it’s just a post-meal high or one of those short-term unexplained highs, I have lots of energy. In fact, sometimes the way I know I’m high is that a couple hours after a meal I’ll think “Wow, I feel really good and energetic. I must be high” and usually I am. If it weren’t for the guilt and the knowledge that highs are not good for my body, I’d run high a lot more often.

The only highs that make me feel horrible are when I have an absolute deficit of insulin meaning that I have a bad pump site. Then I start to feel sick and nauseous almost immediately. But if I’m at 250 because of a chocolate-covered donut, I feel fine. Guilty, but fine.

BTW-my control is quite good with an A1c in the lower 5’s. So I’m not someone who is used to highs and therefore uncomfortable when I’m in a normal range. I have just never felt bad when my BG is in the upper 100’s to high 200’s. But once again I test a lot and take correction boluses when necessary, so i don’t spend a lot of time up there.

I’m the same way. A high blood sugar with plenty of insulin feels just fine. A high blood sugar without enough insulin feels terrible. I am defining high as above 180. If i hit 250, the amount of insulin does not matter…I still feel awful. I hate the pit in the stomach feeling and the never ending thirst the worst.

Hi Alissa, Im not diagnosed with diabetis but I am borderline type 2. My results were 10.8. I have experienced similiar symptoms, I used to wonder what on earth was wrong with me. For example, I hang washing out almost everyday without any problem, yet on occasions I could barely lift my arms above my head without experiencing pain, like weak aching muscles (almost like if you had flu and your body aches) its the same with climbing stairs some days it was an effort to walk up them when I usually run up them. Other days I would get so tired while studying at uni or working on my computer I could barely keep my eyes open and concentrate, despite having had a good nights rest. I now link these experiences to sugar highs. Since I have managed to bring my blood sugars down I have had much more energy and not quite so many lethargic experiences. Yes I believe Its a possibility that you are more sensitive to your bodies changes now that you are more educated or aware of your condition, I sure know I am :slight_smile:

I am a typist and my muscles don’t weaken I don’t think but I get very poor concentration and feel sluggish. I tend to drift off into daydream world when it happens and drink copious amounts of caffeine to keep me going. I usually feel pretty bad between 14-16mmol (think 250-300) but sometimes it doesn’t hit me until I am in the 20mmol or above zone. I do control my diabetes just in case anyone is wondering… just I sometimes get unexplained highs. I am hoping to go on the pump in the near future but am currently on MDI’s.

I get very tired when my bg is high. Climbing a flight of stairs can feel like climbing a mountain. Hmmm – then again, I’ve never actually climbed a mountain so I’m guessing. :slight_smile:

Anytime I am over 150 I am very foggy headed and tired and have a very very dry mouth,

My threshhold of feeling a high has dropped since I went on low-carb. I used to not feel it at 250, but now I feel it at 180 or thereabouts. My chief symptom is DRY, DRY, DRY! I can’t get enough to drink!

When I was really sick last year, I was in the 400 - 600/HI range, and my brain was fried. Please don’t ever let yourself go that high. I was having blackouts and hallucinations, and couldn’t even read or write. My new endo says that if I ever go over 300 and can’t get it down, I’m to call him or go to the ER.

Properly chastened, and egged on by the Flatliners Group, I’m trying to stay below 120 – don’t always succeed, but better to have goals too high than too low.