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Diabetes Health Center

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High Blood Sugar, Diabetes, and Your Body

Sugar and Your Body

Why are high blood sugar levels bad for you? Glucose is precious fuel for all the cells in your body when it's present at normal levels. But it can behave like a slow-acting poison.

  • High sugar levels slowly erode the ability of cells in your pancreas to make insulin. The organ overcompensates and insulin levels remain too high. Over time, the pancreas is permanently damaged.
  • High levels of blood sugar can cause changes that lead to a hardening of the blood vessels, what doctors call atherosclerosis.

Almost any part of your body can be harmed by too much sugar. Damaged blood vessels cause complications such as:

Keep your blood sugar levels close to normal to prevent many of these complications. The American Diabetes Association's goals for blood sugar control in people with diabetes are levels of 70 mg/dL to 130 mg/dL before meals, and less than 180 mg/dL after meals.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on September 03, 2014
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