Any time blood sugar levels are higher than normal it is considered unhealthy. Receiving a blood glucose test will screen for diabetes by measuring the level of sugar in your blood. A high range can indicate the possibility of prediabetes or diabetes in a patient.
High sugar levels and cause the pancreas to slowly lose the ability of cells to make insulin. When the pancreas overcompensates and insulin levels stay high, the pancreas becomes permanently damaged. Also, high levels of blood sugar can cause the blood vessels to harden, which is a condition called atherosclerosis.
Nearly any part of the body can become damaged by too much sugar. Over time, the damage to your body can lead to damaged blood vessels and cause major health problems, including:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Heart attacks
- Kidney disease or kidney failure, leading to and requiring dialysis
- Nerve damage
- Poor circulation to hands and feet
- Potential for amputation
- Slow wound healing
- Vision loss or blindness
- Weakened immune system with a greater risk of infections
Keeping your blood level close to normal can help avoid these health complications. According to the American Diabetes Association, goals for blood sugar control in people with diabetes are 70 to 130 mg/dL before meals, and less than 180 mg/dL after meals. Also, the ADA notes that 86 million people in the U.S. have prediabetes, which can lead to diabetes if you do not make the necessary lifestyle changes that your doctor recommends. It is possible to keep prediabetes from becoming diabetes with diet and regular exercise.
The American Diabetes Association recommends screening all individuals aged 45 and older. You may be at greater risk for diabetes if you are overweight or obese, have high blood pressure, or are inactive. If you are female, your risks may be heightened if you developed diabetes while pregnant or have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Also, if your high-density lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol) is low or if triglyceride levels are high, you may be at heightened risk for diabetes.
Contact your doctor or health professional for recommendations for glucose testing to determine your risk factors for prediabetes or diabetes.