Diabetes Hyperglycemia

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Hyperglycemia is a serious health concern for diabetes as well as undiagnosed diabetes. Learn what is happening during high blood sugar, and what you have to do.

What is hyperglycemia?

Hyperglycemia is a Greek word “Hyper” means excessive, “Glyc” means sweet, and “Emia” means the blood. Hyperglycemia is a condition characterized by an excess amount of blood glucose, generally anything over 7.0 mmol/L (or 126 mg/dl) when fasting and over 11.0 mmol/L (or 200 mg/dl) 2-hours after meals.

What are the symptoms of high blood glucose?

Hyperglycemia rarely has noticeable symptoms until it significantly elevated around 200 mg/dL or higher. In many instances, the symptoms can develop slowly over several days or weeks; the common signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia are frequent urination, increased thirst, hunger, blurry vision, difficulty concentrating, headaches, and fatigue. 

Hyperglycemia Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

The longer the condition has been left untreated, the harsher the problem may become. The severe hyperglycemia signs and symptoms include:

  • Ketone’s build-up in the blood and urine,
  • Tummy pain,
  • Impaired vision,
  • Fruity breath,
  • Nausea and vomit,
  • Nerve damage,
  • Slow healing sores,
  • Urinary infection,
  • Coma

What causes hyperglycemia?

Several factors can contribute to High blood glucose (sugar) or hyperglycemia; they may include poor food choice, physically inactive, illness or infection, missing diabetes medication/insulin, and taking wrong medicine.

  • Poor food choices such as eating the excess carbs without adjusting treatment, 
  • Eating more than regular diet, 
  • Physically inactive or exercised less than normal, 
  • Stress out (due to family conflict, relationship problems, or financial concerns) – it triggers stress hormones causing the blood-glucose to rise, 
  • Severe illness or infection (such as cold or flu) - can also raise the blood-glucose level to counteract it, 
  • Skipping or forgotten the medication/insulin, 
  • Experiencing a dawn phenomenon – is the hormonal surge in the body around 4 to 5 a.m.
  • Taking certain medicines may cause hyperglycemia - such as adrenaline, asthma medicines, antidepressant, etc.

How do you treat high blood sugar?

In most cases, you can be able to treat hyperglycemia without seeking emergency care. Often you can treat hyperglycemia by exercising, cutting down the amount of food (specifically carbohydrates), increase the medication/insulin dosage. However, if your BS is above 240 mg/dl, check the urine for ketones. If ketones are present, do not exercise otherwise your blood-glucose level rises even more, and it is dangerous. 

What will happen if hyperglycemia is untreated?

Leaving untreated can lead to serious problems such as ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar syndrome, and even diabetic coma. Chronic hyperglycemia can damage nerves, kidneys, eyes, gums, heart and brain.

Ketoacidosis develops when there is severe insulin shortage, without insulin the body cannot use glucose for energy and thus start breakdown fats for energy. Breaking down of fat will produce ketones as a waste product. Your body tries eliminating ketones through urine; unfortunately, it is impossible and leads to diabetic ketoacidosis.

How can you prevent hyperglycemia?

The best thing in preventing hyperglycemia is proper diabetes management. Additionally, learn to detect hyperglycemia at the early stage and treat it before it gets worse.

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