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High blood sugar (Hyperglycaemia) : Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is High blood sugar?

Blood sugar control is at the center of any diabetes treatment plan. High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, is a major concern, and can affect people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes . There are two main kinds:

  • Fasting hyperglycemia. This is blood sugar that's higher than 130 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) after not eating or drinking for at least 8 hours.
  • Postprandial or after-meal hyperglycemia. This is blood sugar that's higher than 180 mg/dL 2 hours after you eat. People without diabetes rarely have blood sugar levels over 140 mg/dL after a meal, unless it?s really large.

Frequent or ongoing high blood sugar can cause damage to your nerves, blood vessels, and organs. It can also lead to other serious conditions. People with type 1 diabetes are prone to a build-up of acids in the blood called ketoacidosis.

If you have type 2 diabetes or if you?re at risk for it, extremely high blood sugar can lead to a potentially deadly condition in which your body can?t process sugar. It's called hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS). You?ll pee more often at first, and then less often later on, but your urine may become dark and you could get severely dehydrated.

High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) affects people who have diabetes. Several factors can contribute to hyperglycemia in people with diabetes, including food and physical activity choices, illness, nondiabetes medications, or skipping or not taking enough glucose-lowering medication.

It's important to treat hyperglycemia, because if left untreated, hyperglycemia can become severe and lead to serious complications requiring emergency care, such as a diabetic coma. In the long term, persistent hyperglycemia, even if not severe, can lead to complications affecting your eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart.

High blood sugar is also known as Hyperglycaemia. High blood sugar belongs under the category of Blood disease. Fasting hyperglycemia, Postprandial or after-meal hyperglycemia are some common types of High blood sugar. Generally Male,Female are the victim of the High blood sugar. Seriousness of this disease is Low.

Symptoms of High blood sugar are :

  • Vaginal skin infections
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme thirst
  • Shortness of breath
  • Delirium and confusion
  • coma
  • A coma is a state of prolonged unconsciousness that can be caused by a variety of problems ? traumatic head injury, stroke, brain tumor, drug or alcohol intoxication, or even an underlying illness, such as diabetes or an infection.

    A coma is a medical emergency. Swift action is needed to preserve life and brain function. Doctors normally order a battery of blood tests and a brain CT scan to try to determine what's causing the coma so that proper treatment can begin.

    A coma seldom lasts longer than several weeks. People who are unconscious for a longer period of time may transition to a persistent vegetative state.

    Depending on the cause of a coma, people who are in a persistent vegetative state for more than one year are extremely unlikely to awaken.

  • abdominal pain
  • Abdominal pain has many potential causes. The most common causes ? such as gas pains, indigestion or a pulled muscle ? usually aren't serious. Other conditions may require more-urgent medical attention.

    While the location and pattern of abdominal pain can provide important clues, its time course is particularly useful when determining its cause.

    Acute abdominal pain develops, and often resolves, over a few hours to a few days. Chronic abdominal pain may be intermittent, or episodic, meaning it may come and go. This type of pain may be present for weeks to months, or even years. Some conditions cause progressive pain, which steadily gets worse over time.

  • Vomiting
  • Vomiting, or throwing up, is a forceful discharge of stomach contents. It can be a one-time event linked to something that doesn?t settle right in the stomach. Recurrent vomiting may be caused by underlying medical conditions.

    Frequent vomiting may also lead to dehydration, which can be life-threatening if left untreated.

  • Nausea
  • Nausea and vomiting are common signs and symptoms that can be caused by numerous conditions. Nausea and vomiting most often are due to viral gastroenteritis ? often mistakenly called stomach flu ? or the morning sickness of early pregnancy.

    Many medications can cause nausea and vomiting, as can general anesthesia for surgery. Rarely, nausea and vomiting may indicate a serious or even life-threatening problem.

  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Weakness

    Weakness is when strength is decreased and extra effort is needed to move a certain part of the body or the entire body. Weakness is due to loss of muscle strength. Weakness can be a big part of why cancer patients feel fatigue.

    Fatigue

    Fatigue is an extreme feeling of tiredness or lack of energy, often described as being exhausted. Fatigue is something that lasts even when a person seems to be getting enough sleep. It can have many causes, including working too much, having disturbed sleep, stress and worry, not having enough physical activity, and going through an illness and its treatment.

  • Severe Headache
  • Headaches are a common health problem ? most people experience them at some time.

    Factors that lead to headaches may be:

    Frequent or severe headaches can affect a person?s quality of life. Knowing how to recognize the cause of a headache can help a person take appropriate action.

    Causes

    High blood sugar can be caused due to:

    Your blood sugar may rise if you:

    What kind of precaution should be taken in High blood sugar?

    If you work to keep your blood sugar under control -- follow your meal plan, exercise program, and medicine schedule -- you shouldn?t have to worry about hyperglycemia. You can also:

    • Know your diet -- count the total amounts of carbs in each meal and snack.

    • Test your blood sugar regularly.

    • Tell your doctor if you have repeated abnormal blood sugar readings.

    • Wear medical identification to let people know you have diabetes in case of an emergency.

    Treatment for the High blood sugar

    Diagnosis:

    Your doctor sets your target blood sugar range. For many people who have diabetes, Mayo Clinic generally recommends the following target blood sugar levels before meals:

    • Between 80 and 120 mg/dL (4.4 and 6.7 mmol/L) for people age 59 and younger who have no other underlying medical conditions
    • Between 100 and 140 mg/dL (5.6 and 7.8 mmol/L) for people age 60 and older, those who have other medical conditions, such as heart, lung or kidney disease, or those who have a history of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or who have difficulty recognizing the symptoms of hypoglycemia

    For many people who have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association generally recommends the following target blood sugar levels:

    • Between 80 and 130 mg/dL (4.4 and 7.2 mmol/L) before meals
    • Less than 180 mg/dL (10 mmol/L) two hours after meals

    Your target blood sugar range may differ, especially if you're pregnant or you have developed diabetes complications. Your target blood sugar range may change as you get older, too. Sometimes, reaching your target blood sugar range is a challenge.

    Home blood sugar monitoring

    Routine blood sugar monitoring with a blood glucose meter is the best way to be sure that your treatment plan is keeping your blood sugar within your goal range. Check your blood sugar as often as your doctor recommends.

    If you have any signs or symptoms of severe hyperglycemia ? even if they're subtle ? check your blood sugar level. If your blood sugar level is 240 mg/dL (13.3 mmol/L) or above, use an over-the-counter urine ketones test kit. If the urine test is positive, your body may have started making the changes that can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. You'll need your doctor's help to lower your blood sugar level safely.

    Hemoglobin A1C test

    During an appointment, your doctor may conduct an A1C test. This blood test indicates your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. It works by measuring the percentage of blood sugar attached to the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells (hemoglobin).

    An A1C level of 7% or less means that your treatment plan is working and that your blood sugar was consistently within the target range. If your A1C level is higher than 7%, your blood sugar, on average, was above the normal range. In this case, your doctor may recommend a change in your diabetes treatment plan.

    However, for some people, especially older adults and those with certain medical conditions or limited life expectancy, a higher A1C level of up to 8% may be appropriate.

    Keep in mind that the normal range for A1C results may vary somewhat among labs. If you consult a new doctor or use a different lab, it's important to consider this possible variation when interpreting your A1C test results.

    How often you need the A1C test depends on the type of diabetes you have and how well you're managing your blood sugar. Most people with diabetes, however, receive this test between two and four times a year.

    Treatment:

    Home treatment

    Talk to your doctor about managing your blood sugar and understand how different treatments can help keep your glucose levels within your goal range. Your doctor may suggest the following treatments:

    • Get physical. Regular exercise is often an effective way to control your blood sugar. However, don't exercise if ketones are present in your urine. This can drive your blood sugar even higher.
    • Take your medication as directed. If you have frequent episodes of hyperglycemia, your doctor may adjust the dosage or timing of your medication.
    • Follow your diabetes eating plan. It helps to eat smaller portions and avoid sugary beverages and frequent snacking. If you're having trouble sticking to your meal plan, ask your doctor or dietitian for help.
    • Check your blood sugar. Monitor your blood glucose as directed by your doctor. Check more often if you're ill or you're concerned about severe hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
    • Adjust your insulin doses to control hyperglycemia. Adjustments to your insulin program or a supplement of short-acting insulin can help control hyperglycemia. A supplement is an extra dose of insulin used to help temporarily correct a high blood sugar level. Ask your doctor how often you need an insulin supplement if you have high blood sugar.

    Emergency treatment for severe hyperglycemia

    If you have signs and symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state, you may be treated in the emergency room or admitted to the hospital. Emergency treatment can lower your blood sugar to a normal range. Treatment usually includes:

    • Fluid replacement. You'll receive fluids ? usually through a vein (intravenously) ? until you're rehydrated. The fluids replace those you've lost through excessive urination, as well as help dilute the excess sugar in your blood.
    • Electrolyte replacement. Electrolytes are minerals in your blood that are necessary for your tissues to function properly. The absence of insulin can lower the level of several electrolytes in your blood. You'll receive electrolytes through your veins to help keep your heart, muscles and nerve cells functioning normally.
    • Insulin therapy. Insulin reverses the processes that cause ketones to build up in your blood. Along with fluids and electrolytes, you'll receive insulin therapy ? usually through a vein.

    As your body chemistry returns to normal, your doctor will consider what may have triggered the severe hyperglycemia. Depending on the circumstances, you may need additional evaluation and treatment.

    Possible complication with High blood sugar

    Long-term complications

    Keeping your blood sugar in a healthy range can help prevent many diabetes-related complications. Long-term complications of untreated hyperglycemia can include:

    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
    • Kidney damage (diabetic nephropathy) or kidney failure
    • Damage to the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness
    • Clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye (cataract)
    • Feet problems caused by damaged nerves or poor blood flow that can lead to serious skin infections, ulcerations, and in some severe cases, amputation
    • Bone and joint problems
    • Teeth and gum infections

    Emergency complications

    If blood sugar rises high enough or for a prolonged period of time, it can lead to two serious conditions.

    • Diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis develops when you don't have enough insulin in your body. When this happens, sugar (glucose) can't enter your cells for energy. Your blood sugar level rises, and your body begins to break down fat for energy.

      This process produces toxic acids known as ketones. Excess ketones accumulate in the blood and eventually "spill over" into the urine. Left untreated, diabetic ketoacidosis can lead to a diabetic coma and be life-threatening.

    • Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state. This condition occurs when people produce insulin, but it doesn't work properly. Blood glucose levels may become very high ? greater than 1,000 mg/dL (55.6 mmol/L). Because insulin is present but not working properly, the body can't use either glucose or fat for energy.

      Glucose is then spilled into the urine, causing increased urination. Left untreated, diabetic hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state can lead to life-threatening dehydration and coma. Prompt medical care is essential.

    References:

    1 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperglycemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20373631 2 https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/diabetes-hyperglycemia#2-4 3 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323699 4 https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9815-hyperglycemia-high-blood-sugar 5 https://www.medicinenet.com/hyperglycemia/article.htm#how_is_high_blood_sugar_diagnosed 6 https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/medication-management/blood-glucose-testing-and-control/hyperglycemia 7 https://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/hyperglycemia 8 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430900/ 9 https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hyperglycemia/hyperglycemia-when-your-blood-glucose-level-goes-too-high

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