Hyperglycemia is one of the leading causes of death in individuals who have diabetes. Extra precautions must be taken to keep blood sugar levels adequate to prevent a fatality.
What Is Hyperglycemia?
Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar level, is directly related to the production and release of the hormone insulin in the body. Insulin is released by the beta cells of the pancreas and is responsible for the regulation of glucose in the blood. Many a time, the hormone production malfunctions such that the body is unable to synthesize the required amount leading to a hyperglycemic state.
The initial symptoms include a sudden increase in urination, excessive thirst, blurred vision, and fatigue. If the condition persists, the suffering individual may undergo muscle and organ damage. As per WHO, the normal blood sugar level for healthy individuals is around 70–99mg/dl, whereas, for those with diabetes, 80–130 mg/dl is acceptable. Therefore, it’s important to keep blood sugar levels below the borderline.
What Are the Causes Behind Hyperglycemia?
It’s important to be aware of the reasons that can play a notable role in escalating the blood sugar level in the body. The causes are listed below:
- DIABETES: One of the leading causes of hyperglycemia is diabetes. The insufficient production of insulin by the pancreas characterizes the condition. Diabetes management is important to avoid high blood glucose levels. However, if the individual exhibits careless behavior and indulges in carbohydrate-rich or sugar-rich food, then the risk of hyperglycemia multiplies. Furthermore, improper insulin intake, steroid medication, stress, and inactivity affect the levels.
- PANCREATITIS: Inflammation in the pancreas damages the beta cells responsible for insulin production. Consequently, blood sugar levels increase due to a lack of insulin, causing hyperglycemia. The disease resembles diabetes to a certain extent; however, both are entirely different.
- CUSHING’S SYNDROME: The condition is characterized by excessive secretion of the stress hormone cortisol from the adrenal glands. The increased cortisol levels in the blood may result in high blood pressure and high blood glucose levels.
Gestational Diabetes and Hyperglycemia:
Gestational diabetes is a disorder that affects pregnant women for a short period. Approximately 10% of pregnant women worldwide are affected by the condition. Gestational diabetes can cause hyperglycemia, which can be dangerous to the fetus and result in a kid born with birth abnormalities. To promote a healthy fetus and mother, it’s critical to make informed decisions. It is necessary to take precautions and keep a healthy lifestyle. You can also read How to Treat Hyperglycemia?
Not everyone suffers from hyperglycemia for the same reasons. It’s crucial to determine the cause before moving ahead with treatment. For instance, if a person with diabetes has a high blood glucose level because of excessive carbohydrate intake, the treatment should be planned accordingly. In contrast, if it’s due to Cushing’s syndrome, precautions will be taken to treat the root cause. Nevertheless, here’s a list of conventional treatment methods adopted to deal with hyperglycemia:
- Increase the frequency or dose of insulin medication.
- Exercise regularly to keep the blood sugar levels normal.
- Avoid sugary food, cold drinks, and desserts.
Check blood sugar levels twice a day, and maintain a record to see improvement after taking the necessary steps and starting treatment. It will help notice whether the treatment is effective or not.
How Lower Blood Glucose Levels Quickly in an Emergency?
High blood glucose levels can be alarming and create a sense of panic. It’s important to take timely decisions before the condition escalates and there’s no reverse gear to hit. The quickest and the easiest way to bring down blood glucose levels is to take a dose of fast-acting insulin. Fast-acting insulin is prepared especially to ensure the rapid onset of action and starts responding 15-minutes after injection. Therefore, always keep fast-acting insulin available in the medicine cabinet if you’re at risk of developing hyperglycemia due to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Another life-saving option is fluid therapy, in which fluids are entered into the body via the intravenous route to water down the blood and manage the excess sugar. Both the treatment options are suitable for emergency treatment; however, fluid therapy is more commonly given under supervision at a hospital.
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What Precautions Must Be Taken to Avoid Hyperglycemia?
- Proper diet and exercise: It’s of utmost importance to maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep a normal blood sugar level. Exercising helps tremendously as the muscles utilize the glucose circulating in the blood, thereby decreasing blood glucose concentration.
- Restrict alcohol intake: A research study concluded that chronic alcohol consumption from an early age could contribute to high blood sugar levels in the body. Apart from it, alcohol itself has a high sugar content, imparting its effect.
- Keep away from smoking: Smoking and diabetes do not go hand in hand. Cigarettes have high nicotine content, which plays a crucial role in increasing blood sugar levels. Even if it doesn’t directly cause a hyperglycemic state, the risk of diabetes is increased by multitudes, leading to high blood sugar levels.
- Manage body weight: Obesity is the major cause of insulin resistance; the cells in the body fail to react to the insulin present in the body. Eventually, the pancreatic cells stop responding, leading to impaired insulin production, contributing to hyperglycemia. Other than obese individuals, it’s mostly observed pre-diabetic population.
What Are the Complications Due to Hyperglycemia?
1. Diabetic Ketoacidosis: insulin depletion makes the glucose circulating in the blood unavailable for cells to use to make energy. As a result, the blood glucose concentration shoots above the normal range, forcing the body to produce ketones, making the blood acidic. The most common symptom of diabetic Ketoacidosis is fruity breath, blurred vision, polydipsia, and polyuria.
2. Kidney failure: The human kidney is made of millions of blood cells. The constant circulation of high glucose in the blood can obstruct the vessels and damage the main functioning unit, the nephrons resulting in kidney damage and kidney failure.
3. Nerve damage: High blood glucose concentration exhibits an identical phenomenon in the blood vessels present in the kidney. The blood vessels clog up, resulting in damage to the nerves, affecting signal transmission. Consequently, the affected person cannot feel any sensation in the body, particularly pain sensations. This is why the majority of diabetic patients have pain insensitivity.
4. Retinopathy: Just as high blood glucose levels damage the blood vessels in the kidney and around nerves, the blood vessels in the retina are also damaged significantly. Eyesight is an incomparable blessing, and all necessary actions must be taken to ensure the retina remains unaffected by diabetes and hyperglycemia.
5. Cardiovascular diseases: Individuals with diabetes-induced hyperglycemia are more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases than healthy individuals. It is due to the high glucose levels in the circulating blood, which damages the arteries and blood vessels, resulting in heart damage.
How Is Hyperglycemia Diagnosed?
For some people, the diagnosis of hyperglycemia is easy as the symptoms openly present themselves; however, it can take some time for others. It’s important to understand the symptoms and keep an eye on ourselves. The HbA1C test is an important marker for diabetes-induced hyperglycemia as it allows the detection of sugar levels in the blood. Similarly, the fasting plasma glucose test can also serve as a route for detecting diabetes and hyperglycemia. For individuals trying to perform a diagnosis by themselves, routinely record o blood glucose levels can be a determining factor and help conclude.
Hyperglycemia in Teens:
The blood glucose concentration of a teenager should be within 70–150 mg/dL. Levels above 150 come under the tag of pre-diabetic. Teenagers with a family history of diabetes need to be mindful of their sugar intake and maintain a healthy lifestyle to avoid diabetes. Any pre-diabetic or diabetic symptom should be catered to immediately without any delay to avoid escalation of the disease.
Can Individuals with No Trace of Diabetes Suffer from Hyperglycemia?
Yes, people without a history of diabetes can develop hyperglycemia for various causes. Individuals with diabetes are continually reminded of the negative implications of high blood glucose levels in the body, while the general public remains blissfully unaware of the ramifications. Crushing syndrome and pancreatitis, which have been described previously, are the most common causes of hyperglycemia, and patients should be vigilant.
Hyperglycemia is a dangerous condition that can lead to death if left untreated. It’s vital to observe a lifestyle described to prevent diabetes and other diseases that might lead to a hyperglycemic state. Knowing the course of action to lower blood glucose levels quickly is indispensable as it can help save the life of someone. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve the quality of life and enable an individual to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. Healthy individuals should not be under the illusion that hyperglycemia cannot harm them; it’s a vulnerable condition and can affect anyone who exhibits careless behavior. Eat well, make conscious choices and remain active to steer clear of any risks and enjoy a guilt-free life.
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