Hyperglycemia can best be defined as a situation where there is excess sugar in the bloodstream.
This can happen either because the body can’t produce sufficient insulin or the body is incapable of putting it to proper use: a condition commonly known as diabetes.
Blood sugar, also termed glucose, is gotten from the food and drinks we consume which serves as our daily energy source.
Our body helps to regulate its highs and lows in the bloodstream through the production and deployment of insulin to help convey it into the cells for energy. However, in a situation where the body fails to produce enough insulin or none at all – as it is in some cases, excess sugar is left there hanging in the body, leaving the individual in a state of discomfort.
Hyperglycemia can cause life-altering complications if not detected earlier enough and properly managed. This is why it is imperative to know and understand its symptoms to be able to properly manage it before it gets complicated.
Below are some of the causes of hyperglycemia.
• In a situation whereby the body is incapable of producing its insulin: either in sufficient quantity or any at all – insulin dosage is prescribed. However, if the dosage is not the right one for you, it can cause blood sugar irregularities.
• There has to be a balance between the amount of sugar the body takes in from carbohydrates consumed, either by eating or drinking, and the amount of insulin produced by the body or taken in. The body becomes hyperglycemic when insulin is not available or insufficient.
• Hyperglycemia can also be caused by the body’s inability to effectively utilize the natural insulin: as seen in type 2 diabetes.
• Less activity than usual can cause a glucose level spike. This is why adequate exercise is needed to keep a balance.
• Stress – both physical and emotional, can also take its toll on the body and cause an imbalance in the body’s glucose level.
• Some medications like diuretics and steroids
• Since the pancreas is the organ responsible for the production of insulin in the body, diseases directly or indirectly affecting it automatically expose the body to a spike in its glucose level. Some of these diseases are pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
• Pregnancy in some rare cases can also cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity, leading to hypoglycemia. This condition is called Gestational Diabetes.
Symptoms to watch include the following:
Having a continuous feeling of tiredness can be said to be one of the most common signs of high blood sugar. But, fatigue is an everyday occurrence that can be caused by myriads of other factors like stress, muscle overworks, insomnia, fever, and even low blood sugar. This makes it quite hard to tell.
However, if tiredness becomes a regular occurrence, especially after meals then a spike in your blood sugar levels might just be the cause. This is caused by the body’s inability to process energy from the food you eat. Since the body can’t provide the right balance of insulin needed, the body is deprived of the much-needed energy as glucose remains in the bloodstream instead of being moved to the cells.
Polydipsia – a condition characterized by an excessive craving for water is also a very prominent symptom of hypoglycemia.
When the glucose level is high, the kidney is left to clean up the mess by processing it to be passed out as urine. However, in expelling that extra sugar, water is being added to it from the body, causing a loss of body fluid. The seemingly unending thirst experienced is a result of the body trying to make up for lost fluids.
In a bid to quench the body’s insatiable thirst, more and more water is consumed. And the resultant effect of that is excessive urination, a condition referred to in medical terms as polyuria.
In addition to the liquid consumed, the body lets out excess glucose from the body via urine passage also. This further increases the urge to use the toilet.
Hyperglycemia can weaken the body’s immune system in the long run, if not properly managed. The excess sugar lying in the bloodstream helps to feed the bacteria in the body which strengthens them. Spillage from the urine being passed out of the body also helps to feed the infection-causing parasites in the urinary tract or around the genitalia. This keeps the individual open to infections.
Just like the case of polydipsia – excessive urge to drink water, persons fighting hyperglycemia can also feel an increase in hunger. This condition is termed polyphagia.
This is because, during the process of ridding the body of excessive glucose via the urinary tract, calories needed for energy are let out too. To balance up and get the body the energy it needs, the individual is subjected to continuous pangs of hunger, despite feeding not quite long ago.
And even after eating some more food, the cycle might, most likely, be repeated if the body still fails to process the calories needed for energy.
In absence of the much-needed energy making glucose, the body is forced to find alternatives. The body turns to the fats and muscles in the body for energy, and as the reserves are depleted, emaciation occurs.
The excess glucose in the bloodstream can affect the eyes and impair vision. This happens as the excess sugar with body fluid fills the eye lens, causing a blurry effect. This happens mostly temporarily until the balance is restored.
Hyperglycemia can, however, result in extreme eye complications and even blindness, in the long run – if not properly managed.
During the process of breaking down fats in the body as an alternative means of energy, toxic acids called – ketones, build up in the blood. The bloodstream gets polluted in the process, causing a condition known as ketoacidosis. Some of the visible signs of this condition are:
• Hyperventilation and heavy breathing
Hyperglycemia is a condition that needs proper tending, which makes early detection highly important. Some of the most common early signs and symptoms have been listed above to give you a cue as to when visiting a medical expert becomes necessary.