Hyperglycemia is a condition where a person’s blood sugar level is too high. Although this can happen to anyone, it is of particular concern to diabetes patients. Hyperglycemia is caused by resistance to insulin or loss of insulin producing cells. In most cases, the body is usually unable to produce an adequate amount of insulin to metabolize glucose in the bloodstream. This can happen when people with diabetes eats to much of the wrong food or forget to take their diabetes medication.
Self-monitoring and good management of blood sugar levels is the key to preventing hyperglycemia especially for people who’ve already been diagnosed with diabetes. If you’ve not been diagnosed with diabetes, you should report any symptoms of hyperglycemia to a doctor in order to be tested for diabetes and other conditions that can lead to hyperglycemia. High blood sugar should be controlled in order to prevent chronic hyperglycemia and complications that may be caused by the condition.
The Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Hyperglycemia Include:
This condition is also known as polyphagia and it simply means that you’re experiencing increased hunger. Therefore, you may find yourself feeling hungry and wanting to snack shortly after eating even when you had previously managed to easily limit your snacking especially between meals. Polyphagia is caused by the reduced ability of your body to metabolize glucose. Since glucose is a very important nutrient for all cells in our bodies, when they become malnourished, they usually signal the body that they need more food to maintain proper functioning, resulting in feelings of hunger.
The medical term for this symptom is polydipsia. The kidneys normally absorb sugar in the bloodstream in order to recycle it and make it readily available to supply our blood cells. However, when there’s too much sugar in the blood stream, the kidneys are overworked but they may still be unable to keep up. When the kidneys are unable to absorb glucose, they discard it by simply excreting it in urine. This usually results in increased urination which often causes dehydration and you may end up feeling thirsty.
This symptoms that is impossible or very difficult to ignore. The medical term for increased urination is polyuria. It simply refers to a noticeable increase in the volume of urine passed, frequency of urination, or both. Hyperglycemia results in excess sugar in the blood stream causing the kidneys to discard it in urine. Therefore, the kidneys must work extra hard and this inevitably results in more urine or frequent urination.
Blurred Vision and Eye Damage
High blood sugar levels cause the lenses in our eyes to swell. On the other hand any change in the size or shape of the lenses causes significant changes in vision which usually result in blurry vision. This problem should be addressed as soon as it arises because it can cause permanent changes in your vision.
Although weight loss does not sound like a logical outcome especially when you think of excess glucose in the bloodstream, it can actually happen and it makes sense when the process is broken down. Remember, the body is unable to process the glucose in the bloodstream. Therefore, the cells that need nourishment in form of glucose do not get it. The body responds by tapping into the fat reserves stored in different area in order to use it for energy. As these reserves are gradually depleted, weight loss occurs.
Slow Healing Cuts and Wounds
The healing function for people with hyperglycemia can be slowed quite dramatically. Healing can be slower than normal for more than one reason. Blood vessels can become narrowed due to high glucose levels and this can reduce blood flow hence causing slower healing. The negative effect of high glucose on red blood cells can also slow the healing process. This is a very dangerous condition because wounds that take longer to heal are more susceptible to other infections.
This condition is also known as xerostomia. Dry mouth can result due to the negative impact of high blood sugar levels on the salivary glands. It can cause significant difficulty with both eating and swallowing. For people who wear dentures, this condition can make it very difficult for them to keep their dentures in place and they are also more likely to develop sores. Moreover, since saliva is very important for the health of gums and teeth, people with dry moth are also more likely to develop other dental problems.
Itchy or dry skin
Dry skin can be caused by the reduction of moisture due to high blood sugar levels. Since nerve damage is also another potential complication of high blood sugar levels, it can also interfere with the body’s ability to perspire and this also dries the skin. It is very important to understand that dry skin is generally more prone to itching and cracking, which increases the risk of injury. The reduced ability of the patient’s body to heal itself can make this a very serious condition because of the high risk of infection.
Irregular heartbeat is also known as cardiac arrhythmia. High blood glucose levels can deplete the supply of potassium, which is very important especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy and regular heartbeat. This is the primary reason that higher blood sugar levels can cause cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).
This is a potentially dangerous and frightening symptom. Seizures are triggered by hyperglycemia in some people. Since normal brain function mainly relies on a steady supply of nutrient-rich and oxygen-rich blood, hyperglycemia can interfere with the delivery of oxygen and vital nutrients hence triggering seizures in some individuals. However, it’s essential to understand that the likelihood of seizures varies from person to person.
Your blood sugar level may rise if you forget or skip your oral glucose-lowering medication or insulin, eat too many carbohydrates, are ill, are under stress, have an infection, exercise less or become inactive, or when you engage in strenuous physical activity when your insulin levels are low and blood glucose levels are high. However, you shouldn’t worry about hyperglycemia if you keep your blood glucose levels under control by following your exercise program, meal plan and medicine schedule.