Hyperglycemia Facts Part 1, All You Want to Know


Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar affects those who have diabetes. There are different factors that can lead to it, symptoms, what to do to prevent it from appearing as an unwelcome guest. Then there are the tests and diagnosis and the treatment for if this condition is left untreated, it could lead to serious complications.

What is Hyperglycemia?This is the condition in which there is too much glucose circulating in the blood. The word comes from the Greek hyper which means excessive; gly means sweet and emia which means of the blood. This happens when the blood glucose level becomes higher than 180 mg/dl (10mmol/l) but it is not obvious until the glucose level reaches 270-360 mg/dl.

What are the Symptoms?The symptoms are not readily apparent at the start for they develop slowly. Sometimes it takes days or even weeks before the symptoms become noticeable. If the blood glucose levels stay high longer, the symptoms become more serious.

The Early Symptoms:

  • Excessive thirst and frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Headache


Symptoms That Come Later:

  • Breath smelling fruity
  • Ketones or toxic acids in the blood and urine
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Weakness and shortness of breath
  • Mouth is dry
  • Confusion
  • Coma

When Do You Need to see a Doctor?You need to call for medical assistance or call 911 if you experience the following:

  • The blood sugar levels are steadily above 13 mmol/L (240 mg/dL) and ketones are present in the urine.
  • You are feeling ill and cannot keep any fluids or food down.

Alert! Generally, hyperglycemia is a blood glucose level of 10+ mmol/l (180 mg/dl), but you may not notice the symptoms until later when the numbers are 15-20+ mmol/l (270-360 mg/dl)or 15.2-32.6 mmol/l. Take care not to have them go to chronic levels of over 125 mg/dl for they can produce organ damage.

Book an appointment with the doctor if:

  • You are feeling ill and cannot keep any fluids or food down.
  • Fever is present for more than 24 hours
  • the blood sugar is more than 13 mmol/L (240 mg/dL) and is not going down even though the diabetes medications have been taken

What are the Causes?

The factors that contribute to it are as follows:

  • The diabetes eating plan is not followed.
  • Lack or limited activity
  • Presence of infection or illness
  • Taking inadequate amount of insulin or diabetes medication
  • Improper injection of insulin or using expired insulin
  • Emotional stress
  • Having surgery or being injured
  • Taking medications like steroids

What are the Complications?

The long term complications of this condition if left untreated are as follows:

  • Neuropathy or nerve damage
  • Nephropathy or kidney damage or kidney failure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetic retinopathy that could lead to blindness
  • Cataract or clouding of the eye lens
  • Joint and bone problems such as osteoporosis
  • Bacterial infections and wounds that do not heal or slow to heal
  • Infections in teeth and gums
  • Problems in the feet due to damaged nerves or poor blood flow
There you have part 1 on this topic that covers the definition and the symptoms both early and the ones that come later. Then we covered when to see a doctor, when to book an appointment and the causes and complications. Part 2 will start with the two emergency complications of hyperglycemia.

Hyperglycemia - How to Prevent It

Hyperglycemia can be prevented by following the exercise program, meal plans and medicine timetable. Test the blood sugar often and know the diet with the total amount of carbohydrate consumption. If the reading of the blood sugar is repeated, know when to get in touch with the health care team and make sure you wear the diabetes bracelet.

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Hyperglycemia Part 2 - What to Prepare for the Doctor's Appointment and a Home Treatment Plan

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