Hyperglycemia is a medical condition describing high blood sugar. It is caused by too much glucose in the blood plasma. The normal blood sugar level ranges from 70 to 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) before breakfast as glucose levels may rise after breakfast, depending on diet. It is considered hyperglycemic between 100 and 126 mg/dL, while anything above 126 mg/dL is considered diabetic.
Hyperglycemia typically affects people with diabetes. However, several factors come into play in relation to diabetics who have hyperglycemia, which include medication, food choices, engagement in physical activities and illness. It is necessary to treat hyperglycemia to avoid complications from progressing involving the nerves, eyes, kidneys and heart.
Types of Hyperglycemia
There are two types of hyperglycemia in people with diabetes.
- Fasting hyperglycemia
- After fasting for a minimum of eight hours, blood sugar level is greater than 130 mg/dL.
- Posprandial or after-meal hyperglycemia
- Non-diabetics rarely go beyond 140 mg/dL
- Blood sugar level greater than 180 mg/dL after meal
- At high risk for developing type 2 diabetes
Causes of Hyperglycemia
During digestion, the body breaks down the carbohydrates from food into smaller molecules, including sugar molecules. One such molecule is glucose, the main energy source of the body. It is absorbed into the bloodstream without having to pass through the other organs in the digestive tract. Conversely, in order for it to enter the cells, it requires insulin. Increase in glucose levels in the blood will send signals to the pancreas to discharge insulin. When the body does not produce sufficient amounts of insulin or at all, diabetes develops.
There are many causes for hyperglycemia, ranging from illnesses to lifestyle activities.
- For diabetics, forgetting to take insulin or glucose-lowering medications
- Too much carbohydrates in the diet, such as bread, rice, and sweets, among other
- Emotional stress
- Decreased exercise than normal
- Strenuous physical activity
Signs and Symptoms Hyperglycemia
It is especially important for diabetics to recognize symptoms of hyperglycemia to avoid complications.
- Increased thirst
- Frequent need to urinate
- Difficulty concentrating
- Blurred vision
- Weight loss
Prolonged hyperglycemia may show more aggressive symptoms such as:
- Longer healing time of wounds
- Decreased vision
- Nerve damage to the feet
- Loss of hair on lower extremities
- Erectile dysfunction
- Skin and vaginal infections
- Damage to skin, blood vessels or kidneys
Treatment for Hyperglycemia
Hyperglycemia is usually not life-threatening, nonetheless, it should still be treated immediately. There are multiple ways to treat hyperglycemia which include:
- Set up a regular exercise schedule to control blood sugar
- Although if ketones are present in the urine, do not do this.
- Avoid eating too much carbohydrates or anything sugary. Follow a meal plan.
- For diabetics, do not forget or skip medications.
Hyperglycemia, if not treated, can be severe and lead to long-term
complications, but often occur in diabetics. It is strongly advised to diabetics, and people prone to hyperglycemia, to take first aid training and CPR courses offered by many institutions and organizations, such as St Mark James, in cases medical emergencies may arise.