My father is a type 2 diabetic. He has always had a bad diet, but even since his diabetes came on about 20 years ago he has only really cared about preventing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) instead of hyperglycemia (high).

This makes sense, since with low blood sugar you can see his discomfort, so the immediate physical effects make him consume some sugar in order to avoid the unwanted blood sugar levels.

However, his attitude to high blood sugar is very blasé. He will eat whatever he wants (lots of sugary things), and generally inject more insulin when the blood sugar is a bit too high. From looking into it, high blood sugar seems to be more detrimental in the long term to health, so I have been unable to find anything with which I might be able to convince my father to reduce his sugary habits with. He is an old man, and unsurprisingly, does not consider the long term to be very important.

What are the negative effects caused by short hyperglycemia (as my father will inject insulin once the blood sugar is too high)?

  • 1
    Good question on important topic. Could you specify what you mean by "short term"? The instantaneous effects of hyperglycemia? Adverse effects to be developed within a month, a year etc...?
    – arkiaamu
    Aug 5, 2015 at 20:09
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    What @arkiaamu said. Since your father's reasoning seems to be that he won't live long enough for long-term damage to matter, I guess we need an idea of what he considers short-term.
    – Carey Gregory
    Aug 5, 2015 at 20:42
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    thats a good point, anything from the day of the high blood sugar to a few months really. even a year. the point is that i can't convince him with stories of long term (ie anything which might take several years) damage to his body. it doesn't work. Aug 5, 2015 at 20:57

1 Answer 1


I have written a few blog posts about this topic, to which I will share the links on the topic. In a short-as-possible answer, this is my thinking.

Elevated blood glucose, hyperglycemia is extremely bad for a variety of organs, and the damage can accumulate over time. Free glucose in the blood can bind to positively charge amino acids on proteins. This includes proteins in your blood (like haemoglobin and albumin) protein in your kidneys, eyes, arteries etc. It is called glycation and it accumulates over time, contributing to what is called metabolic disease and all the risks and complications that are associated with being a type II diabetic. (Ageing ourselves in fast forward)

Glucose also binds to the cholesterol particles in your blood, specifically to LDL, the so called "bad cholesterol" and changes their character to become extremely harmful to your arteries and increases the risk for heart attack by 7-fold. (Heart disease, sugar and saturated fat)

In short, hyperglycemia is without any doubt, one of the most dangerous untreated chronic situations for your body to be in.

As for your father's blasé attitude towards hyperglycemia, it is very bad indeed. Type II diabetes is merely the accumulation of years of prolonged damage caused by untreated hyperglycemia. Diabetes is when your body can no longer cope with the sugar burden and by then, the catastrophic effects that sugar has on your body, will be accelerated multiple times. This how Diabetics end up with kidney disease, fatty liver disease, vision loss, foot amputations etc, heart attacks, strokes, etc.

Scientific thinking around how our modern diet is causing type II diabetes, is changing really fast. Type II Diabetes is no longer thought of as a chronic and terminal illness.

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