High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, occurs when the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high. High blood sugar is a common symptom of diabetes, but it can also occur in people who do not have diabetes.
Here are some common causes of high blood sugar:
Not enough insulin or oral diabetes medication: If your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or if you are not taking enough diabetes medication, your blood sugar levels can become too high.
Eating too many carbohydrates: Consuming too many carbohydrates at a meal can cause blood sugar levels to spike.
Skipping insulin or diabetes medication: Forgetting to take insulin or diabetes medication can cause blood sugar levels to rise.
Stress: Stress can cause the release of hormones that can raise blood sugar levels.
Illness: Certain illnesses, such as a cold or the flu, can cause the body to release stress hormones that can raise blood sugar levels.
Certain medications: Some medications, such as steroids, can raise blood sugar levels.
It’s important to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and to work with your healthcare provider to create a treatment plan that helps keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range
Symptoms of high blood sugar
High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, can cause a range of symptoms. Some common symptoms of high blood sugar include:
Increased thirst and dry mouth: As your blood sugar levels rise, your body tries to get rid of the excess sugar by producing more urine, which can lead to dehydration and increased thirst.
Frequent urination: High blood sugar levels can cause your kidneys to work overtime, which can lead to frequent urination.
Fatigue: High blood sugar levels can make you feel tired and sluggish.
Blurred vision: High blood sugar levels can cause the lens of the eye to swell, leading to blurred vision.
Slow-healing cuts and wounds: High blood sugar levels can affect the body’s ability to heal wounds.
Yeast infections: High blood sugar levels can lead to an overgrowth of yeast, which can cause infections such as thrush (oral yeast infection) or vaginal yeast infections.
Dry and itchy skin: High blood sugar levels can cause the skin to dry out and become itchy.
Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet: High blood sugar levels can damage nerves, leading to numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
It’s important to note that some people with high blood sugar may not have any symptoms at all. It’s essential to monitor blood sugar levels regularly and work with a healthcare professional to manage blood sugar levels, in order to avoid complications.
Treatment of high blood sugar
The treatment of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) depends on the cause and severity of the symptoms, but typically involves a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. Here are some common treatments for high blood sugar:
Diet modification: Eating a healthy diet that is low in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fat, and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help lower blood sugar levels.
Regular physical activity: Regular physical activity can help the body use insulin more effectively, which can lower blood sugar levels.
Medications: Depending on the individual, your healthcare provider may recommend oral diabetes medication or insulin to help lower blood sugar levels.
Monitoring blood sugar levels: Regularly monitoring blood sugar levels with a glucose meter can help you and your healthcare provider identify patterns and make adjustments to your treatment plan.
Weight loss: If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can help improve your body’s ability to use insulin and lower blood sugar levels.
Managing stress: stress can affect blood sugar levels, so it’s important to find ways to manage stress such as through yoga, meditation, or therapy.
It’s important to work with a healthcare professional to create a treatment plan that works for you and to adjust your treatment plan if necessary. It’s also important to monitor blood sugar levels regularly to track progress and to prevent complications.
Dangerous blood sugar levels
Dangerously high blood sugar levels, also known as hyperglycemia, can occur when the body is unable to properly regulate glucose levels in the blood. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as not enough insulin being produced, not enough insulin being used by the body, or an illness or infection.
If blood sugar levels remain high for an extended period of time, it can lead to serious health complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis, coma, and even death.
A blood sugar level higher than 600 mg/dL is considered a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately. Blood sugar levels above 250 mg/dL with symptoms of high blood sugar or above 300 mg/dL without symptoms can be treated with oral medications or insulin injections. It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have hyperglycemia.
On the other hand, dangerously low blood sugar levels, also known as hypoglycemia, occur when blood sugar drops below 70 mg/dL. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, dizziness, sweating, hunger, confusion, irritability, headache, pale skin, and difficulty concentrating. It is important to treat low blood sugar as soon as symptoms are noticed.