Too Much Sugar Can Make You Sick
This Sugar Awareness Week learn about how too much sugar can make you sick. The good news is with proper guidance on how much is too much sugar, you can have your cake and eat it too! First off, let’s reflect on how much sugar we consume daily. Those who have a sweet tooth probably already know they need to cut back on the sugary treats.
However, many of us are in the dark about how much sugar we eat daily because of hidden sugars in our food. Tomato sauce, flavored coffees, iced tea, fruit juices, vitamin water, and even low-fat yogurt all contain high amounts of sugar, so it’s easy to underestimate how much sugar we are eating.
The problem is not just our expanding waistlines; it’s the fact that eating too much sugar can make us sick. Long-term overconsumption of sugar raises the risk of developing chronic illness, including heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
Excess Amounts of Sugar Affects Us All
Regularly consuming large amounts of sugar can hurt our health regardless of our age, gender, and ethnicity.
Adverse Effects of Sugar in Children
We tend to believe that it’s ok for children to eat sugary treats more often than us adults do, but nothing could be further from the truth.
In excess, sugar can cause hyperactivity, tooth decay, as well as increase the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes in children.
However, most parents don’t know that sugar can be the cause of many other health problems their children experience.
Allergies, Coughs, and Cold-Like Symptoms
Sugar can cause cold and allergy type symptoms such as a constant runny nose, cough, excessive mucus, and signs of sinus infection.
Acid Reflux and Croup-Like Symptoms
Children often wake up in the middle of the night with coup-like symptoms which include a barking cough, and trouble breathing.
These symptoms are often the result of an over-acidic diet. As an example, chocolate milk may seem like a healthy treat for children. However, the combination of dairy and sugar is highly acidic, and because dairy takes longer to process in the digestive system, symptoms often present themselves at night.
The acid reflux caused by excessive amounts of sugar eaten throughout the day could be the reason for your kid’s cough at night.
Overeating sugar can alter the balance between the good and bad gut bacteria, which in turn will impair our immune systems. Children are not exempt from this, and although there is no guarantee a lower sugar intake will prevent colds, it can lessen the symptoms of one.
Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.
Adverse Effects of Sugar During Pregnancy
A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that the learning and memory skills of children were compromised when their mothers consumed large amounts of refined sugar during their pregnancies.
A high sugar diet during pregnancy can cause other problems for both the mothers and their babies, including:
- Increased weight gain during pregnancy
- Elevated glucose and insulin levels which can contribute to the development of gestational diabetes
- Can cause a fatty liver
- It can diminish the birth weight of your baby
- A high-sugar diet during pregnancy can increase a child’s risk of developing metabolic syndrome, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes later in life
When to Seek Medical Help
An imbalance in our blood sugar levels is cause for concern. You should come to our ER or hospital if you develop any of these conditions:
Hypoglycemia happens when our blood glucose or sugar levels become too low. The condition can cause severe symptoms and requires immediate medical attention.
Signs of Hypoglycemia
- Extreme hunger
- Rapid heart rate
- Shakiness or tremors
- Changes in behavior (irritability)
- Cold sweat
- Blurred vision
- Loss of consciousness
Hyperglycemia occurs when our blood glucose levels are too high. The condition is the result of our body not producing enough insulin or not using the insulin effectively.
If left untreated, hyperglycemia can result in ketoacidosis, also known as a diabetic coma, which is life-threatening.
Signs of Hyperglycemia
- High blood sugar levels
- High levels of glucose in the urine
- Need to pee more often
- Feeling hungrier than usual
- Numb or tingling sensation in your feet
- Increased thirst
Signs of Ketoacidosis (Diabetic Coma)
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme thirst
- Dry mouth
- Increased urination
- Dry or flushed skin
- Breath that smells fruity
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heartbeat
Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome (HHNS)
This severe condition affects mostly seniors who have elevated glucose levels. If left untreated the condition can lead to severe dehydration, coma, and death.
As the sugar level builds, the body will try to eliminate the excess sugar through urine. At first, the patient will feel a need to pee more frequently, over time, they urinate less often but the urine is darker in color.
Signs of HHNS
You should get immediate medical help if you develop any of these warning signs:
- Blood sugar level over 600 mg/dL
- Warm, dry skin that doesn’t sweat
- Extreme thirst that later disappears
- Fever over 101 F
- Sleepiness or confusion
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Vision loss
We all need a little sweetness in our lives, but where we get our dietary sugar matters. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of sugar, so try to eat more of these and less refined sugars to avoid any complications.
However, if you feel your blood sugar levels are out of balance, Altus Hospital in both its Baytown and Lumberton location is available to treat patients of all ages children, adults and seniors. Our physicians and nurses are available 24/7 to manage any sugar-related illness and bring you back to health.