Hyperglycemia, which means excessive sweet in the blood in Greek, is diagnosed when the blood glucose level is above 10 millimoles per liter. However, chronic levels higher than 7 millimoles per liter can already lead to organ damage.
High Blood Sugar Levels – Causes and Treatment
Blood sugar levels elevate when the hormone insulin fails to properly convert glucose from digested food into energy supply for cells. Stress can cause blood glucose levels to shoot up, because it triggers the release of endogenous catecholamines that raise sugar levels. Eating high fructose fruits, sugary beverages and simple carbohydrates can also raise blood glucose levels. High blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes occur when glucose does not enter the cells sufficiently and instead builds up in the blood. Treatment depends on the severity of hyperglycemia. Some require medication including insulin shots for severe cases. High blood sugar levels can be avoided or managed through improvements in diet, regular monitoring of blood glucose, and exercise.
High Blood Sugar Symptoms – Diabetics and Non-Diabetics
In some cases, hyperglycemia is asymptomatic. Some common high blood sugar symptoms are thirst, blurry vision, fatigue or drowsiness and increased appetite. Several hours of hyperglycemia could lead to dehydration and trigger more symptoms including difficulty breathing, dizziness upon standing, and rapid weight loss. Some of these high blood sugar symptoms are similar to symptoms of hyperglycemia in people with diabetes. However, diabetic patients could also experience more serious abnormalities including slow-healing cuts and sores, loss of hair on the lower extremities, and chronic constipation or diarrhea. Prolonged hyperglycemia in diabetics could also result in erectile dysfunction brought as a complication of nerve damage.
Signs of High Blood Sugar – Acute and Severe Types
Frequent urination especially at night, excessive thirst, pronounced hunger and rapid weight loss are some of the most obvious signs of high blood sugar. Hypoglycemic patients exhibit a dry mouth or dehydrated, flushed or itchy skin. They can also feel sleepy, confused or see hallucinations. Weakness on one side of the body and recurrent infections can also be a sign of high blood sugar. A medical sign is when blood glucose levels exceed 240 milligrams per deciliter. Hyperglycemia could lead to ketoacidosis if left untreated. Diabetic ketoacidosis, characterized by nausea and vomiting, fruity-smelling breath and stomach pain, can lead to coma.