What causes sugar in urine?

Sugar in the urine is usually caused by prediabetes or diabetes, which results in high blood sugar levels, especially when untreated.

Common causes of sugar in the urine

Sugar in the urine may be caused by several common conditions including:

  • Diabetes (chronic disease that affects your body’s ability to use sugar for energy)
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels)
  • Prediabetes (abnormal glucose levels that do not fully meet the criteria for the diagnosis of diabetes)

Rare causes of sugar in the urine

Sugar in the urine can also be caused by conditions that are not related to high levels of sugar in the blood including:

  • Benign glycosuria, a condition in which the filtering mechanism of the kidneys allows sugar to pass through into the urine. This type of glycosuria usually has no symptoms and is often an inherited trait.
  • Kidney transplant
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Pregnancy

Serious or life-threatening causes of sugar in the urine

In some cases, sugar in the urine may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition that should be evaluated immediately in an emergency setting. These include:

  • Inadequate therapy for diabetes, with severely elevated blood sugar levels
  • Uncontrolled diabetes, with severely elevated blood sugar levels

Questions for diagnosing the cause of sugar in the urine

To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to sugar in your urine including:

  • How long have you noticed sugar in your urine?
  • Do you have a family history of diabetes?
  • What other symptoms do you have?
  • What medications are you taking?

What are the potential complications of sugar in urine?

Sugar in the urine, as a sign of high blood sugar, may be associated with potentially life-threatening complications. Because sugar in the urine can be caused by diabetes, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:

  • Cardiovascular complications, such as heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol levels, hypertension (high blood pressure), and peripheral artery disease
  • Eye problems, such as loss of vision or blindness, diabetic retinopathy , glaucoma, or macular degeneration
  • Kidney infection or kidney failure
  • Nerve damage, including loss of feeling or tingling in your hands or feet
  • Sores on your hands and feet

References:

  1. Glucosuria. Bookshelf: U.S. National Library of Medicine. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK245/.
  2. Diabetes overview. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC). http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/overview/.
INTRODUCTION

What is sugar in urine?

Sugar (glucose) is usually present in the urine at very low levels or not at all. Abnormally high amounts of sugar in the urine, known as glycosuria, are usually the result of high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar usually occurs in diabetes, especially when untreated.

... Read more about sugar in urineintroduction

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with sugar in urine?

Sugar in the urine may occur with a variety of other symptoms, most commonly those associated with diabetes.

Symptoms that might indicate a serious condition

In some cases, sugar in the urine may occur with other symptoms that might indicate a serious condition that should be evaluated immediatel... Read more about sugar in urinesymptoms

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 8, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Kidneys and the Urinary System


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