What Is Hyperglycemia? Signs and Symptoms
Hyperglycaemia, also known as high blood sugar, is the presence of excess glucose in the blood.
A patient is considered hyperglycaemic when they have a blood glucose level above 7.2 mmol/L and haven’t eaten for 8 hours. A level above 10 mmol/L within an hour or two of a meal is also considered hyperglycaemic.
Signs and symptoms of hyperglycaemia
Symptoms of hyperglycaemia, such as frequent urination, increased thirst, blurred vision, and fatigue, don’t typically manifest until levels are significantly elevated between 10 and 11.1 mmol/L. Severe hyperglycaemia can lead to complications, including ketoacidosis, which is a buildup of waste products that can lead to a diabetic coma.
Several factors can contribute to hyperglycaemia in diabetics:
- Undercounting carbs at mealtime
- Not exercising
- Emotional or physical stress
- Medications other than those used to treat diabetes
- Skipping or not taking glucose-lowering prescriptions
- Over long periods of time, chronic hyperglycaemia can lead to complications including nerve, blood vessel, or organ damage.
How to manage hyperglycaemia
Exercise and drinking water to flush out excess glucose after meals can help lower a blood glucose spike. Insulin injections will also treat hyperglycaemia. However, the best way to manage hyperglycaemia is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Methods include regularly monitoring glucose levels and using a combination of medicine (typically insulin injections), exercise, and careful meal planning.