When you are affected with diabetes, hyperglycemia or high blood glucose levels is one of the conditions which you should be able to manage effectively. If not, your body will face several complications arising out of the heart and kidney related conditions, nerve damage, eye problems, amputations, amongst other things. There is a close relationship between the two and in this article, we shall deep dive and analyze this very relationship between diabetes and hyperglycemia.
So, come and join in for the article “Hyperglycemia and diabetes: What’s the Connection?”
Table of Contents
Relationship Between Hyperglycemia and Diabetes
Let us first understand the relationship between diabetes and hyperglycemia. The two are widely interrelated to one another in many aspects.
To begin with, in a healthy individual, the food that is eaten is broken down into glucose. This glucose, with the help of the hormone insulin, is used up by the cells to produce energy. However, as we know, diabetes is a condition where the body is either not producing enough insulin or the insulin which is so produced is not used effectively by it. Hence, the glucose which is released by the breakdown of carbohydrates and several other nutrients present in the food remains intact in the blood itself. This then causes the blood sugar level to rise, thereby leading to the dangerous condition of hyperglycemia. If hyperglycemia is left untreated, it can even lead to the death of the patient.
Hyperglycemia usually affects people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. When the blood sugar rises above 130 mg per dl without eating or drinking for at least eight hours, it is known as fasting hyperglycemia. When your blood sugar is higher than 180 mg per dl after around a couple of hours of eating your meal, the condition is called after-meal or postprandial hyperglycemia.
Thus, as is clear from the above paragraph, both diabetes and hyperglycemia are closely linked to one another and share a “Cause and Effect” relationship.
What Causes Hyperglycemia in Diabetes?
There are several causes of high blood glucose levels in diabetes patients. This paragraph explains the causes of hyperglycemia which is very much specific and related to those of the diabetes patients:
- The diabetes patient is not following the right type of exercise which has been recommended to him or her.
- As we know, there is a restriction on the total amount of carbohydrates which a diabetes patient should take in a day. However, if you eat more than the recommended quantity regularly, you are at a greater risk of getting the problem of hyperglycemia
- Stress caused by physical factors, work, or any kind of illness also contributes largely to hyperglycemia
- If you are not taking the medicines prescribed to you appropriately, you can suffer from hyperglycemia.
Hence, mentioned above are the causes of high blood glucose levels those are related to diabetes. However, there are certain factors that independently contribute to the condition as well. Such factors are explained in the following paragraph
Factors Contributing to Hyperglycemia
Following are a few factors that lead to the condition of hyperglycemia:
- Lack of physical exercise
- Sickness or infection
- Insulin intake is not enough
- The patient is not taking medicines as prescribed by the doctors
- The diabetes patient is not adhering to the meal plan which has been recommended by the experts
- Surgery of some kind can also lead to high glucose levels
- Using expired insulin
- If the diabetes patient is taking certain medication which could cause the blood glucose levels to increase
- Any types of stress is also a major factor which exposes you to a higher risk of getting hyperglycemia
Complications of Hyperglycemia in Diabetes
There are several complications that can be caused by hyperglycemia. Most of the complications that arise as a result of high glucose levels in the blood are also the ones that are caused by diabetes.
A few of these include the following:
- Heart-related conditions such as stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.
- Diabetic nephropathy or damage to kidneys
- Diabetic neuropathy or damage to the nervous system of the body
- Joint problems
- Diabetic retinopathy even leading to blindness
- Possible amputations of various body parts
- Skin infections including boils, wounds, various bacterial infections
- Eye cataract
- Infections and diseases related to the gum and the teeth.
Other complications caused are:
Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Syndrome
This is a condition which is caused when the blood glucose levels rise very high. In fact, the level of glucose in the blood might reach to greater than 600 mg per dl. In this case, the body has insulin, but the same is unable to function efficiently. This, in turn, disables the body from using glucose or fat to produce the much-needed energy. This could be a fatal condition and an immediate medical attention is required.
This is a condition which is very common amongst type 1 diabetes patients and is caused when the blood sugar level of the patient is somewhere around 17 mmol/L. When the cells in the body do not get enough energy due to the lack of insulin, the fat which has so far been stored is used for that energy. There is a possibility that due to this process, the number of ketones that is present I the urine increases, giving rise to a fatal condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis.
Can Hyperglycemia be Prevented?
Both diabetes and the condition of hyperglycemia are strongly linked to one another. Hence, if you take steps to prevent one of these, you can be successful in effectively managing the other condition as well. Let us see a few ways in which you can control or effectively manage these conditions:
- The most important way of managing both diabetes and hyperglycemia is to regularly monitor your blood glucose and sugar levels. You should maintain a log and note down the levels of glucose both before and after a meal. Whenever you feel that the level is going out of the recommended range, you can always take necessary steps to bring the same to a normal range.
- Another important way of managing the two conditions is a healthy eating habit. When you are suffering from something like this, you should keep a track of what you eat and how much you eat. You should consult a nutritionist who shall help you in devising a meal plan. You should stick to the same.
- Exercise is one of the best ways of remaining healthy. Doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of any form of exercise for at least five days in a week.Also, note the variations in your blood glucose levels just before and after the physical activity.
- Avoid smoking and drink alcohol only as recommended by your doctor
- There are a lot of medications and drugs which might be prescribed by your doctor. You should stick to the same.
- Managing your stress levels through meditation or yoga also goes a long way in helping you to manage these conditions.
Thus, a healthy lifestyle, a well-regulated diet, and regular physical activity is the key to effectively manage high blood glucose levels and thereby, diabetes.
We hope that the above post has been helpful in improving your understanding about the connection between diabetes and hyperglycemia. The two are closely related and in order to manage one, you need to manage and treat the other condition as well. With proper care and medical advice, you can successfully lead a healthy, normal life even if you are affected with either hyperglycemia or diabetes!