Understanding The Signs and Symptoms Of Hyperglycemia
Hyperglycemia mainly occurs when the blood sugar level is high above the normal range. Although it is almost always defining factor in diabetes, hyperglycemia can also occur in people who have not yet been diagnosed with diabetes. This is primarily because it can also be a result of other factors such as eating the wrong kind of food, not getting sufficient insulin and lack of exercise. Most people are motivated by the symptoms to have their blood glucose level checked by a doctor.
There are two main types of hyperglycemia that occur in people with diabetes:
- Fasting hyperglycemia
This occurs when the patient has been fasting for at least 8 hours but the blood sugar level is higher than 130 mg/dl.
- Postprandial (after-meal) diabetes
Postprandial hyperglycemia is also known as reactive hyperglycemia and it is usually defined as blood glucose level that is greater than 180mg/dl. Although post-meal or postprandial sugars in people without diabetes rarely exceed 140mg/dl, the level might reach 180mg/dl especially after a large meal. However, consistently high post meal blood sugar can be an indication that you are at a higher risk of developing diabetes. However, hyperglycemia can cause damage to blood vessels, nerves and body organs when people with people with diabetes have hyperglycemia for long periods or frequently. It can also lead to more serious conditions including HHNS (hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome) in people with type 2 diabetes or ketoacidosis in people with type 1 diabetes. Therefore, the symptoms of hyperglycemia should be treated promptly in order to avoid complications from diabetes. However, it is important to understand that your target blood sugar levels might be different from the normal blood glucose levels because of factors such as pregnancy and age.
Causes of hyperglycemia
Hyperglycemia in diabetes is usually caused by:
- Forgetting or skipping your insulin
- Lack of exercise or decreased activity
- Strenuous physical activity
3 Classic Signs and Symptoms of Hyperglycemia
- Frequently hungry (polyphagia)
- Frequent urination (polyuria)
- Frequently thirsty (polydipsia)
Other Signs and Symptoms of Hyperglycemia include:
- Blurred vision
- Slow or poor healing effects (scrapes, cuts etc)
- Weight loss
- Skin infections (Itchy or dry skin)
- Dry mouth
- Nerve damage causes foot sore problems, nerve damage and erectile dysfunction
- Swelling of body parts
- Intestinal problems including diarrhea and chronic constipation
- Damage to kidneys and blood vessels
- Impotence (male)
- Recurrent infections. This includes groin rash, vaginal yeast infections or swimmers ear (external ear infection.
Thirst, loss of consciousness, and severe headache are some of the earlier symptoms of hyperglycemia. Increased blood sugar level can cause various stomach problems such as diarrhea and constipation in patients. However, you should remember that the signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia vary according to the intensity of the diabetic condition and the patient’s age.
Hyperglycemia can be controlled by keeping your blood sugar level under control. However, if left untreated, hyperglycemia can cause a diabetic coma. Since the body can’t breakdown food and glucose using its insulin, it breaks down fats instead. Therefore, the body produces ketones which are usually released in urine. However, if your body can’t get rid of ketones fast enough, then a life threatening condition known as ketoacidosis can occur. Therefore, it is critical to seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of hyperglycemia.
If you are experiencing any of these signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia, check out this recommended read on prediabetes and how you may be able to prevent this disease.