Causes, Effects and Management of Hyperglycemia

You’ve been walking in the sun for a while, and you start getting headaches and can’t see clearly. When you get home, drink some water and relax, you simply brush it off as a case of heat exhaustion.

But is it?

Considering that approximately 90% of people with prediabetes (a “pre-diagnosis” of diabetes) don’t know they have it, could you be experiencing the effects of diabetes-related hyperglycemia?

What is hyperglycemia?

Hyperglycemia means high blood sugar. It mostly affects people with both type 1 & 2 diabetes when they don’t control their blood glucose level. Those using steroids or suffering from bulimia can also develop hyperglycemia.

Why is it necessary for diabetics to maintain their blood glucose levels? Well, the disease kills 1.5 million people every year. That’s why.

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Types of hyperglycemia

Two types of hyperglycemia exist:

  1. Fasting hyperglycemia – your blood sugar gets higher than 130mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) without food or drink for 8 hours.
  2. Post prandial/after meal hyperglycemia – your blood sugar rises to more than 180 mg/dL 2 hours after a meal.

What makes blood sugar rise?

Maintaining the right blood sugar level is a delicate balancing act, which can be upset by multiple issues, some of which you can control.

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Blood sugar rises when you:

  • forget to inject insulin or take oral-glucose medication
  • take in too much carbohydrates, exceeding the amount of insulin you take
  • get an infection
  • fall ill
  • become stressed
  • exercise too little or not at all
  • perform strenuous physical activity with low insulin and high blood sugar levels

Symptoms of high blood sugar levels

1 in 11 people in the world live with diabetes, yet almost half don’t realize it. Knowing the symptoms of diabetes-related high blood sugar will help you identify this ailment.

High blood sugar can be identified through the following visible symptoms:

  • thirst
  • continuous headaches
  • lack of concentration
  • blurry vision
  • frequent bathroom breaks
  • weakness
  • weight loss

Can hyperglycemia be treated?

Diabetics, who are especially vulnerable to high blood sugar, can manage the situation in the following ways:

  • Drinking a lot of water.
  • Your doctor can adjust your medication to avoid the rise in glucose levels.
  • Getting an appropriate meal plan i.e. watching your sugar and carbohydrate intake, and eating healthy doses of vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

When assisting someone affected by high blood sugar, the American Diabetes Association recommends the following guidelines:

  • Rehydrate the patient.
  • Check and treat any underlying diseases.
  • Monitor for any cardiovascular changes and assist as needed.

Ultimately, controlling diabetes is the best way to prevent high sugar levels.

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Such treatment must be done as soon as possible because failure to do so can lead to long-term complications, including:

  • kidney and nerve damage
  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • eye damage
  • wounds not healing properly

Particularly people with type 1 diabetes need to curb high blood sugar levels because it can lead to ketoacidosis (a serious complication characterized by high levels of blood acids called ketones).


Generally maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is vital in curbing high blood sugar. However, a person with diabetes should also follow the doctor’s instructions. Follow this up with regular check-ups, especially if you notice any unusual symptoms.

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