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What Is Hyperglycemia?

Symptoms of high blood sugar
Symptoms of high blood sugar

Hyperglycemia is a medical condition characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood plasma >=200mg/dL(mmol/l). Blood sugar levels at 125mg/dL can be catastrophic as several organ damage could result, this makes hyperglycemia more serious.

Hyperglycemia usually results from Diabetes Mellitus i.e. insufficient insulin which could be caused either by insulin resistance at the cellular level or lesser than normal amounts of insulin in the body which could be attributed to type 1 diabetes.

High blood sugar can cause a lot of damages that are irreversible one of such is blindness, limb amputation, kidney failure, stroke and neuropathy.

Hyperglycemia can be established via HbA1c (Glycohemoglobin A1c) hemoglobin test.

Blood sugar levels may vary considering the time the test is done. If the test is done after meals, blood sugar levels of 90-110mg/dL can be regarded as normal but if the test is done while the patient fasts, a result of 110mg/dL is considered as diabetes while if two casual fasting blood sugar tests are done repeatedly and they both yield results of >=200mg/dL it’s regarded as hyperglycemia, that is chronic diabetes.

Temporary hyperglycemia may not cause any serious complications as it may occurs at periods after high calorie foods, but when there is consistent high blood sugar with slightly higher than normal figures, it may produce serious symptoms that may be irreversible with time. Let’s look at some of the symptoms.

Symptoms of hyperglycemia

Hyperglycemia can have serious complications if not treated promptly, the following under listed are some of the symptoms of high blood sugar on long term basis:

  1. Blindness which may result from retinopathy and cataract. This may become permanent if hyperglycemia persists for a periods of 2 years due to damage to the optic nerves and the retina.
  2. Hypertension and cardiac arrhythmias. Heart problems may result from persistent hyperglycemia due to severing of the autonomic nervous system.
  3. Numbness due to Neuropathy is also one of the hyperglycemia symptoms. Neuropathy could be a permanent damage to nerves that innervates specific movable parts of the body such as the limbs, eye retina etc.
  4. Kidney failure from build up of toxic waste products of fat metabolism such as ketones.
  5. Chronic acetone breath.
  6. Stupor and coma
  7. Erectile dysfunction.
  8. Excessive thirst and extreme hunger.
  9. You may start seeing glucose in your urine. If you pee on the floor and you notice that ants are feeding on your urine, it’s time to see your doctor.
  10. rapid breathing caused by hyperventilation.
  11. Frequent dehydration
  12. Poor healing of wounds.
  13. Depression and anxiety
  14. Fluid loss which could lead to osmotic diuresis is another complication of hyperglycemia.
  15. Gum bleeding and oral infections.

High blood sugar can pose medical emergencies when it surges beyond the normal at any given time.

Another complication that may arise from hyperglycemia is diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome.

What causes hyperglycemia?

The following underlying causes has been linked to hyperglycemia:

  1. severe oxidative stress has been found to increase blood sugar level to as much as 120mg/dL in a single spike due to increased cortisol production.
  2. Pancreatic diseases e.g. cancer of the pancreas and pancreatitis.
  3. Over reactive thyroid gland, pituitary and adrenal gland malfunction
  4. drugs such as amphetamines, beta blockers, niacin, estrogen drugs, prednisone, oral contraceptives and glucagon can trigger hyperglycemia.
  5. Untreated diabetes.
  6. Cushing’s syndrome
  7. Certain tumors also secrete hormones that trigger hyperglycemia.

How to manage hyperglycemia

Hyperglycemia can be managed by dealing with the underlying causes such as adjusting hypoglycemic drugs, eating diets rich in protein, fiber and less of carbs.

Lifestyle adjustments and diet also helps a lot in the management of diabetes.

Another thing is you need to monitor your blood glucose level regularly.

Do exercise regularly, don’t be sedentary except when your blood glucose level is around 300mg/dL, or you notice ketones in your urine, the level of ketones in your blood may increase, all you have to do is to call your doctor.

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