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What is Hyperglycemia? Here Are the Symptoms and Treatments

    What is Hyperglycemia? Here Are the Symptoms and Treatments

    What is Hyperglycemia?

    Hyperglycemia is a condition wherein the level of blood glucose (sugar level in the body) exceeds the normal sugar level of the body while fasting.

    Hyperglycemia is the hallmark of diabetes. Those with diabetes either cannot produce insulin, the hormone your body needs to process sugar and turn it into energy, or have an inability to use the insulin. As a result, the sugar level in the blood stays high.

    A person with hyperglycemia would have a blood glucose level that exceeds 125mg/dL while fasting or 180mg/dL of blood glucose two hours after a meal (postprandial).

    Hyperglycemia is a severe type of condition and gets worse over time. The severity of hyperglycemia can cause complications such as diabetic coma. In terms of long term effects, hyperglycemia may affect organs such as the heart and kidneys. The eyes and nerves may be affected as well.

    Signs and Symptoms of Hyperglycemia

    It is important to recognize the signs of hyperglycemia to prevent the condition from worsening and causing further damage to the body.

    Early symptoms of hyperglycemia:

    • Blurred vision
    • Headache
    • Urinating frequently
    • High blood sugar
    • Increased hunger and thirst

    Additional symptoms of hyperglycemia:

    • Fatigue
    • Cuts and sores do not heal quickly
    • Weight loss
    • Infections for both the vaginal and skin areas

    Causes of Hyperglycemia

    Below are some of the causes of this condition:

    • Type 1 diabetes. Wherein the pancreas does not produce enough insulin.
    • Type 2 diabetes. This is when the body has enough insulin but it is not doing an efficient job at keeping blood glucose levels low.
    • Consuming too much food or not doing enough exercises
    • Stress due to an illness such as flu and colds.
    • Other causes of stress such as family arguments, work, school, relationship problems and others
    • Dawn phenomenon. A sudden burst of hormones that the body produces everyday from 4:00am and 5:00am.

    Risks of Hyperglycemia

    The following are risk factors for acquiring this condition:

    • Having a family history of type 2 diabetes
    • Being overweight
    • History of gestational diabetes
    • Having high blood pressure and cholesterol
    • Being of African American, Native American, Hispanic, or Asian American descent
    • Having polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

    Complications of Hyperglycemia

    If hyperglycemia is uncontrolled, it will lead to several complications associated with diabetes. These include:

    Microvascular complications

    Complications affecting the smaller blood vessels. Among these are:

    • Retinopathy or damage to the retina in the eye, possibly resulting in vision loss.
    • Nephropathy or kidney disease.
    • Neuropathy or nerve disease.

    Macrovascular complications

    Conditions that affect the arteries. These affect the supply of blood to the heart, brain, and other organs. Among these are:

    • Coronary artery disease
    • Cerebrovascular disease
    • Peripheral vascular disease

    Treatment of Hyperglycemia

    Since hyperglycemia is having too much blood sugar in the body, one way of treating this is by exercising. Exercising has the ability to lower blood sugar levels in the body.

    However, you must make sure that you do not have ketones. Ketones result from your body breaking down body fat because it can’t turn sugar into energy. If you do have ketones, you must not engage in exercises.

    Different treatments are advised for people with ketones since exercising would only make their blood sugar higher.

    Speak with your doctor or dietitian to discuss what your diet should look like. If by any chance both exercising and changing your diet does not do much in terms of balancing your blood sugar level, then the next recommended treatment would be changing the amount of your current medication.

    Prevention of Hyperglycemia

    In order to prevent hyperglycemia from happening, you may observe the following practices:

    • Exercise in order to lower your blood sugar levels.
    • Do not smoke.
    • Limit alcohol intake because alcoholic beverages can increase your blood sugar levels or lower them too much.
    • Observe your diet, follow it, and maintain a healthy weight

    Key takeaway

    Hyperglycemia must be addressed as soon as possible as it can cause serious health problems if left untreated for a long time. Severe cases lead to comas and even death. Make sure to consult a health professional as soon as you start feeling symptoms.

    Learn more about Diabetes Complications here.

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    Sources

    Hyperglycemia, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9815-hyperglycemia-high-blood-sugar

    Accessed April 20, 2021

     

    Hyperglycemia (High Blood Glucose) 

    https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/medication-treatments/blood-glucose-testing-and-control/hyperglycemia

    Accessed April 20, 2021 

     

    Five Things to Know About Ketones

    https://www.diabetes.org/blog/five-things-know-about-ketones

    Accessed May 6, 2021

     

    Hyperglycemia and Diabetic Ketoacidosis

    https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/hyperglycemia.html

    Accessed May 6, 2021

     

    Diabetes Mellitus: Management of Microvascular and Macrovascular Complications

    https://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/endocrinology/diabetes-mellitus/

    Accessed May 6, 2021

     

    Diabetic retinopathy

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetic-retinopathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20371611

    Accessed May 6, 2021

     

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    Written by Jen Mallari Updated Jul 18
    Medically reviewed by John Paul Abrina, MD
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