Fasting blood sugar level over 400 mg/dl

There are many of my patient complaining that when measure blood sugar, they can found fasting blood sugar level over 400 mg/dl.

They express their worries and fear of suffering from possible severe diabetes complications. And they are right.

NORMAL or DANGEROUS    Type Your Blood sugar Level:    mg/dl

What causes fasting blood sugar level over 400 mg/dl?

When fasting, the body triggers the production of Glucagon, which is a hormone that induces the glycogen metabolism. The metabolism of glycogen results in the unleashes of the sugar in the bloodstream.

This way, the blood sugar level, in normal people, stays within the normal ranges.

But, in diabetic people, one or more of the aforementioned mechanisms is impaired, and so the blood sugar level is higher than normal.

The symptoms of blood sugar level over 400 mg/dl.

Blood sugar level over 400 mg/dl is considered severe diabetes and seeks immediate treatment. If the sugar level reaches 500 mg/dl it is considered as a medical emergency. These levels of blood glucose are life-threatening and can cause death.

The most common symptoms of blood sugar level over 400 mg/dl are extreme thirst, frequent and excess amount of urine, fatigue, tiredness, drowsiness, blurred vision, rapid breathing, confusion, tingling and numbness of the feet.

Very high blood sugar levels can result in the development of :

  • diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA - happens only in type 1 diabetes, can happen when blood glucose level is over 250 mg/dl) and
  • hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS - usually happens in people over 65 years old who suffer from type 2 diabetes, can happen when blood glucose is over 600 mg/dl).

-         DKA symptoms are rapid breathing, fruity breath odor, stomach pain, increase of the heart rate, increased thirst, frequent urination, positive ketones in the urine, permanently brain damage or even death.

-         HHS- is a serious complication of type 2 diabetes. When the levels of blood sugar are too high. In this condition, glucose is eliminated with the urine. But, when being eliminated, it draws high amounts of water causing severe dehydration.

HHY’s symptoms include extreme thirst, excess amounts of urine, fatigue, fever, warm, dry skin, vision loss, hallucinations, convulsions, very dry mouth.

-         DKA and HHS can cause permanent brain damage, coma and even death.

Fasting blood sugar level over 400 mg/dl - The treatment

Treatment of blood sugar level above 400 mg/dl is a medical emergency. Immediate hospitalization is a must, especially when blood sugar reaches the level of 500 mg/dl.

Rehydration and fast-acting insulin are the chosen treatment, in order to lower blood glucose levels as soon as possible.

Fasting blood sugar level over 400 mg/dl - Prevention

Patients who have experienced blood sugar level over 400 mg/dl should drink plenty of water, check their urine for ketones and talk to their doctor to take precautions in order to prevent a further increase of the blood sugar level.

Written by Dr.Albana Greca Sejdini, Md, MMedSc       

Medically reviewed by Dr.Ruden Cakoni, MD, Endocrinologist

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