Hyperglycemia is a condition in which an excessive amount of glucose circulates in the blood plasma.
Your body breaks down carbohydrates from foods during digestion of such foods like bread, rice and pasta in to various sugar molecules. One of these sugar molecules is glucose, it is a main energy source for your body. While glucose is absorbed directly into your bloodstream after you eat, it cannot enter the cells of most of your tissues without the help of insulin – a hormone secreted by your pancreas.
As the level of glucose in your blood rises, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. The insulin unlocks your cells so that glucose can enter and provide the fuel your cells need to function properly. Any extra glucose is stored in your liver and muscles in the form of glycogen.
The process lowers the amount of glucose in your bloodstream and prevents it to reach in a dangerously high level. As your blood sugar level returns to normal, so does the secretion of insulin from your pancreas.
Diabetes drastically diminishes the effects of insulin in your body, either because your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or because your body is resistant to the effects of insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level. As a result, glucose tends to build up in your bloodstream and may reach hyperglycemia if not treated properly. Insulin or other drugs are used to lower blood sugar levels.
Factors that contribute to hyperglycemia
- Not enough usage of insulin or oral diabetes medication
- Not injecting insulin properly or using expired insulin
- Not following your eating plan for diabetes
- Being inactive or no exercise
- Having an illness or infection
- Using certain medications, such as steroids
- Being injured or having surgery
- Experiencing emotional stress, such as family conflict or workplace challenges
Sickness, illness or even stress can trigger hyperglycemia because the hormones produced to combat illness or stress can also cause your blood sugar to rise. Even people who don’t have diabetes may develop hyperglycemia during severe illness. But people with diabetes may need to take extra diabetes medication to keep blood glucose near normal during illness or stress.
You are more at risk for developing diabetes if you are older, extremely overweight or obese, if you have a family history of diabetes (parents, siblings). People who have diabetes have an underproduction of the hormone, insulin, which lowers your blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, you will have problems with elevated blood sugar levels.
Exercise is highly recommended, as it will help to lower blood sugar levels, and promote circulation of the blood throughout your body. If you are not able to control your blood sugar levels with diet, exercise, and medications (in the pill form), your healthcare provider may prescribe insulin injections. You will be required to take your blood sugar levels at home, while your insulin requirements are being determined. Your healthcare provider will discuss this with you, and teach you how to best take care of yourself during this time. Try to exercise. Make a daily walk alone, or with a friend or family member a part of your routine. Even light walking or aerobic activity may help you to promote the flow of oxygen in your lungs and blood (oxygenation), lower your blood sugar levels, and help prevent long-term complications of hyperglycemia. Also, consistent diet and exercise will help your healthcare provider determine your insulin or diabetic pill dosages, and help you to obtain better control of your disease.
Avoiding alcohol is a must. Certain forms of alcohol may cause you to have a severe high or low blood sugar level. High blood sugar levels may result if alcohol is mixed with those drinks with syrup. Low blood sugars may result if you drink certain forms of “straight” liquor. If you are taking pills to control your hyperglycemia, alcohol use may cause life-threatening interaction.