What is hyperglycemia?

Hyperglycemia is the technical term for high blood glucose (blood sugar). It describes an abnormally high blood glucose (blood sugar) level.

However, normal ranges for blood glucose measurements can vary slightly: For example:

  • The blood glucose levels are greater than 7.0 mmol/L (126 mg/dl) when fasting;
  • The blood glucose levels are greater than 11.0 mmol/L (200 mg/dl) 2 hours after meals.
Hyperglycemia - high blood sugar level

What causes hyperglycemia?

In fact, high blood glucose happens when the body has too little insulin or when the body can’t use insulin properly.

Furthermore, more reasons for hyperglycemia include:

  • Missing a dose of diabetic medication, tablets or insulin;
  • Eating more carbohydrates than your body and/or medication can manage;
  • Being mentally or emotionally stressed (injury, surgery or anxiety);
  • Contracting an infection.

What are the early signs and symptoms?

Some of the early signs and symptoms are the following:

  • Frequent urination;
  • Increased thirst;
  • Blurred vision;
  • Fatigue;
  • Headache;
  • Regular/above-average urination;
  • Weakness or feeling tired;
  • Loss of weight.

Finally, if you recognize the early signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia, it can help you treat the condition promptly.

Later signs and symptoms

If we don’t treat hyperglycemia, it can cause toxic acids (ketones) to build up in your blood and urine (ketoacidosis) as well. Consequently, later signs and symptoms are:

  • Fruity-smelling breath;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Dry mouth;
  • Weakness;
  • Confusion;
  • Coma;
  • Abdominal pain.

What are the complications?

Long-term complications of prolonged hyperglycemia can be severe. When the condition is poorly controlled, they can not only worse, but also they may develop slowly over time.

Finally, if you control your blood sugar regularly, you can prevent many complications. Some of them are:

  • 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, as well as amputation;
  • Bone and joint problems;
  • Teeth and gum infections.

How to treat it?

Important, checking your blood glucose often is part of diabetes management. Likewise, ask your doctor how often you should check it. Last, but not least, check your blood and treat your blood glucose. Besides, it will help you avoid many problems.

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