Symptoms of High/Low Sugars

I love it when patients come in and say things like, “I know when my sugars are high”. “I can tell when my sugars are under 60”.  I just know.  I have had diabetes for a long time and I just do.  They say it with such religious conviction that I don’t have anything to say and I usually don’t.

For the most part, this is true.  After so many episodes of highs and lows, you will know your body and you will be right most of the time.  However, there was a clinical trial that was done where they gave patients either insulin or glucose and the patients were asked to guess if their sugars were high or low.  The results?  It was a crapshoot.  It was 50/50.

Lesson to be learned is that if you have any of the below symptoms, go ahead and check your sugars to see what it really is, because you will be surprised every now and then.


  • Hungry
  • Shaky/Weak/Clammy
  • Blurred Vision/Glassy eyes
  • Dizzy/Headache
  • Sweaty/Flushed/Hot
  • Tired/Drowsy
  • Mood/Behaviour change (some patients will check every hour because of this)
  • Inattentive/Spacey
  • Slurred/Garbled speech


  • Increased Urination
  • Increased Thirst/Dry mouth
  • Sweet, fruity breath (severe highs)
  • Tired/Fatigue (huh?, let’s check it right now)
  • Increased hunger
  • Blurred Vision
  • Nausea/Vomitting
  • Stomach pain/cramps
  • Weight Loss (more long term)

As you can see, there is some overlap of the symptoms, and let’s not fool ourselves, our bodies don’t read the textbooks some of the time.

I had a patient come in with an A1c of 18, that’s sugars of over 500 without ANY symptoms.

So, know your body, and know that your body will make a fool out of you.

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