Diabetes: Signs in your mouth and breath indicating a high blood sugar level – ‘see a GP’

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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The aim of diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar levels as near to normal as possible. The NHS says the symptoms of hyperglycaemia in people with diabetes tend to develop slowly over a few days or weeks. Nonetheless, there may be no symptoms until the blood sugar level is very high. You may notice signs in your mouth and breath, and there are some instances when you should contact your GP.

The NHS notes: “Hyperglycaemia should not be confused with hypoglycaemia, which is when a person’s blood sugar level drops too low.”

The health body says that symptoms of hyperglycaemia include increased thirst and a dry mouth or breath that smells fruity.

You may also find that you are needing to pee frequently, are experiencing tiredness, blurred vision, unintentional weight loss, or recurrent infections, such as thrush. People also report tummy pain, and the feeling of being sick, or actually being sick.

“Symptoms of hyperglycaemia can also be caused by undiagnosed diabetes, so see a GP if this applies to you,” the health body adds.

If you have any signs of severe hyperglycaemia you should check your blood sugar level.

The Cleveland Clinic warns: “If hyperglycaemia is left untreated in people with type 1 diabetes, it can develop into ketoacidosis, where ketones, which are toxic acids, build up in the blood.

“This condition is an emergency situation that can lead to coma or death.”

In people with diabetes, hyperglycaemia can be triggered by things like stress, being ill, not getting enough exercise or eating too much.

Diabetes UK says: “Hyperglycaemia, or a hyper, can happen when your blood glucose (sugar) levels are too high – usually above 7mmol/l before a meal and above 8.5mmol/l two hours after a meal.”

This happens because the body either cannot produce enough insulin to process the sugar in the blood or it cannot use the insulin effectively enough.

Despite this, when your blood sugar levels are slightly higher than normal, you will not usually experience any symptoms.

It is normal for blood glucose levels to go up and down slightly throughout the day. Nonetheless, there are a number of ways to treat hyperglycaemia.

The NHS says you may be advised to change your diet, drink plenty of sugar-free fluids, exercise more often or if you use insulin, adjust your dose.

“Until your blood sugar level is back under control, watch out for additional symptoms that could be a sign of a more serious condition,” it adds.

You should also contact your diabetes care team immediately if you have a high blood sugar level and experience feeling or being sick, tummy (abdominal) pain and diarrhoea.

The same applies if you have rapid, deep breathing, a fever for more than 24 hours, signs of dehydration or difficulty staying awake.

This is because these symptoms could be a sign of a more serious complication of hyperglycaemia, “and you may need to be looked after in hospital”.

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high, and the signs can vary.

Diabetes UK notes: “The symptoms you experience won’t exactly match those of another person.

“However, the most common symptoms experienced by many people with diabetes are increased thirst, increased urination, feeling tired and losing weight.“

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