- What is Hyperglycemia and its consequences?
- Symptoms of Hyperglycemia
- Main causes of Hyperglycemia and how can you control it?
Glucose, obtained from the breakdown of carbohydrates, is an essential fuel for the human body, helping us to carry on in our daily life with the energy we require. But bodily processes do not always work. When the body is unable to produce insulin (the hormone that enables the body to consume glucose), or is unable to use it properly, as often happens in the case of Type 1 and 2 diabetes, Hyperglycemia is the result.
Hyperglycemia is simply a medical term for the excess of glucose or ‘sugar’ in the body, and it can affect people with both types of diabetes. This condition may occur after a prolonged period of fasting, or it may occur two to three hours after one eats a particularly large meal (postprandial hyperglycemia).
There is a very important reason why sugar-level controlling is often at the centre of diabetes treatment. If there is more than normal blood sugar level in the body for a prolonged period can lead to a number of problems – failing vision, nerve damage, digestion problems, and damage to eyes, kidneys and blood vessels are some particularly fearful outcomes. These consequences are almost always permanent in nature, and can significantly reduce the quality of life of individuals who may already suffer from diabetes. In the most extreme scenario, the body begins to use fats for energy as it cannot use glucose. This process releases waste products called ketones, which can accumulate in the body and lead to ketoacidosis, or a diabetic coma.
However, there is no need to panic. A good, reliable body of research has helped us map out the symptoms and causes of hyperglycemia to a great detail, which can help all types of individuals know when something is going wrong and take appropriate precautionary measures. Remember that there symptoms will always vary from person to person, and you do not need to have all of them for something to be wrong. An overall vigilant stance regarding these symptoms, along with an open and interactive relationship with your medical practitioner, can help you deal with the possibility of hyperglycemia easily.
Here are some major symptoms of hyperglycemia to look out for –
Early Symptoms – As your blood sugar levels increase, here are some common symptoms you may face –
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
Later Symptoms – If the sugar levels remain high for a prolonged period, the following, more serious symtpoms may begin to show –
- Confusion, trouble concentrating
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain
Emergency Symptoms – While the following symptoms warrant immediate medical attention for any individual, prompt response becomes even more important if a diabetic patient faces –
- If the person is unable to keep any food or liquids down
- If the person loses conciousness
- Persistence of high blood sugar despite medication
- Detection of ketones in urine
Some of these symptoms may seem generic, and indeed they are – they could reflect a number of problems aside from hyperglycemia. However, it is always better to be hyper-cautionary and always assume high blood sugar to be at least a contributing factor in the case of diabetes patients, as inaction or attempts at home treatments may lead to even more serious consequences. Besides, illness in itself contributes majorly to increasing blood sugar levels, which in turn may cause more illness and symptoms. Hence, seeking medical aid is the best option.
Now that you know what you need to look out for, you should also know about how you can avoid hyperglycemia in the first place. Living with diabetes can be challenging, but it does not mean that being sick has to be a part of your life. With the correct lifestyle, social and medical support, you can live your life productively and happily.
Here are some major causes of hyperglycemia, and what you can do about them –
High blood sugar can easily occur if you miss your medication, or are not regular with it, as a person with diabetes is unable to produce the insulin required to break down glucose on their own. Infrequent medication can thus be very harmful.
What To Do – Integrate your medication into your daily routine, and use reminders if necessary. Do not hesitate to bombard your doctor with questions about your medication, and clear all the doubts you may have. If you still feel symptomatic, you can collaborate with your doctor to switch to more effective medication.
- Illness and Stress
Periods of illness and stress are challenging for everybody. However, people with diabetes may suffer more, as stress hormones directly contribute to the rise in blood sugar. Emotional challenges can be just as detrimental.
What To Do – You can increase your medication dosage if a doctor encourages so. However, it may also be possible to combat the illness and stress in the first place such as through regular yoga and meditation. Not only do these practices protect you from illness and stress, they also help diabetic patients in general by increasing blood circulation, strengthening your abdominal muscles, and helping in hormonal regulation.
- Poor Eating And Drinking Habits
Eating too much, or too little, not eating for prolonged periods, and eating contents too high in sugar can all build a path towards hyperglycemia.
What to Do – Ensure that you ate moderate amounts at regular intervals. Drink plenty of water, as it helps in flushing out excess sugar from the body.
- Exercise Habits
Like with food, swinging between two the two extremities of complete inactivity and very high intensity workouts are also not conducive. Many may feel that rigorous workouts may be good in maintaining blood sugar levels, but remember that the body has problems in breaking down glucose for energy in diabetes. In such a scenario, prolonged or heavy exercise may lead to the breakdown of fats, which may in turn lead to the development of ketones and associated problems.
What to Do – Collaborate with your medical professional to determine the level of exercise best for you. Both type 1 and 2 diabetic patients should not exercise if there are ketones in their urine. Hydration, and moderate, enjoyable exercise with the doctor’s recommendations is the path to go for. Living with diabetes can be a challenge, but it is exactly that – a challenge that can be overcome. With a combination of awareness, prevention, and a healthy lifestyle, all diabetic patients can live their best lives free of problems and complications.