High blood sugar levels, also known as hyperglycemia, is one of America's "silent killers."
As many as 9% of Americans have some form of diabetes, which is the leading cause of this condition, but even if you don't have diabetes you can be affected by it. Everything from stress, a lack of exercise or even other diseases can elevate your blood sugar levels, and leaving this condition unchecked can be fatal.
"High" blood sugar levels are different depending on whether you've eaten in the last few hours. If you've had a meal in the past 2 hours, levels higher than 180 milligrams per deciliter, while 120 mg/dl is high for a "fasting level, when you haven't eaten or drank anything for the last 8 hours.
Having elevated blood sugar levels is dangerous because it damages your blood vessels and organs, which leads to the many complications we associate with late stage diabetes.
If you think you're at risk for hyperglycemia, you should take your worries very seriously. Ignoring this condition can lead to a dangerous, sometimes fatal buildup of blood acids called ketoacidosis, or to damage your body's ability to process sugar. And remember: diabetes is the 7th most common cause of death in the U.S.
So what symptoms should you look out for?