When a human body has too little insulin or cannot process it well, it leads to a spike in blood sugar levels. When blood sugar values shoot past the normal range, it is called hyperglycemia. Usually affecting persons with diabetes, hyperglycemia symptoms are rapid heartbeats, excessive hunger or thirst, and vomiting. If left untreated, hyperglycemia can cause other health problems.
If you struggle with unregulated blood sugar levels, watch out for signs that make up the hyperglycemia definition. The three P’s of this condition include polydipsia, polyuria, and polyphagia. Polyuria is marked by increased or frequent urination, polydipsia means excessive thirst, and polyphagia is associated with increased appetite. The three P’s may or may not occur together. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your physician and get your blood sugar levels tested immediately.
Table of Contents
The condition where the body’s blood sugar level shoots more than the normal range is known as hyperglycemia. This happens when the body does not produce the optimum amount of insulin or the insulin produced by the body is not processed correctly. If your blood sugar level measures more than 180 mg/dl then you are experiencing hyperglycemia post-one-two hours of having a meal.
If you are ignorant about your spiked blood sugar levels it can make you prone to developing severe complications which include heart attacks, strokes, kidney damage, etc. If you experience symptoms of hyperglycemia you must consult your doctor to bring your blood sugar levels within the normal range.
Hyperglycemia occurs when fasting blood sugar level is more than 125 mg/dL or greater than 180 mg/dL roughly two hours after a meal. People with diabetes who have missed their medication or are unable to manage glucose levels with diet, exercise or insulin can suffer from hyperglycemia. Many factors cause hyperglycemia in a person with diabetes. These causes include-
Early detections of the signs of hyperglycemia can help prevent it from manifesting into a more serious condition. In the case of persons with type 1 diabetes, hyperglycemia can lead to a build-up of toxic acids called ketones in the body. The condition is quite severe, as it can lead to coma or death. However, recognising the symptoms at the right time can help your doctor initiate the right treatment to prevent complications. High sugar levels in the body which is usually termed hyperglycemia can be identified pre-hand by observing the symptoms. Certain symptoms of hyperglycemia are experienced initially while certain symptoms develop gradually.
The 3 P’s of diabetes are the three major symptoms that lead to the diagnosis. These include –
- Polydipsia (excessive thirst): Experience increased thirst and frequent urge to consume water.
- Polyuria (frequent or increased urination): Urinating more than usual as the body gets rid of the extra sugar through urine.
- Polyphagia (increased appetite): Having increased appetite which is a result of loss of fluids and glucose through urination.
You might not experience all of these three at once. People with type 1 diabetes experience these symptoms much faster than type 2. If you experience these symptoms there is a full possibility that you are having hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar level )and, in that case, you must consult your doctor to get your blood sugar levels under control.
If you experience one or more of these symptoms, immediately check with your healthcare provider. A simple blood test will determine the right treatment depending on the range of your blood sugar. Inform your doctor if your blood sugar levels are constantly over 240 mg/dL even after medication, or you have diarrhoea or vomiting.
Also read about random blood test and random blood sugar normal range
Blood sugar levels, especially for individuals with diabetes, often tend to fluctuate. However, you should be aware of what hyperglycemia means for your health. Constantly high sugar levels can cause severe complications. Untreated hyperglycemia can damage the nerves, tissues and blood vessels, eventually damaging other organs and increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. This can also damage the eyes, kidneys and delay wound healing.
Some major symptoms of hyperglycemia include:
Negligence of spiked blood sugar levels can lead to complications. The risk of developing complications can be reduced by keeping the blood sugar level under the normal range. Certain long-term complications include-
Apart from the above-listed complications, certain complications need instant treatments-
Diabetic ketoacidosis- If you have type 1 diabetes and you neglect your spiked blood sugar levels for a long time, you might develop ketoacidosis which is a condition that leads to an excessive buildup of toxins known as ketones. Certain symptoms that you’ll experience if you have ketoacidosis include-
Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state- If your body produces insulin but it is not efficient in optimally using the produced insulin your body's sugar levels will spike tremendously which can lead to a condition called hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state. If you develop this condition, your body won’t be able to use fats and glucose for energy. This condition can lead to immense dehydration of the body and can lead to coma.
There can be many underlying hyperglycemia causes in persons with diabetes. As discussed in the previous sections, improper use of medication/insulin, illness or stress, use of steroids or certain drugs, insufficient physical activity or eating more than your body can process, can trigger hyperglycemia. A combination of diet, medication and exercise can help maintain blood sugar levels within the normal range. If your blood glucose is constantly more than 240 mg/dl, you should also get your urine tested for ketones. Avoid exercising if you have ketones in urine, as it can spike your blood glucose even further.
It is always a better option to take the necessary precautions to prevent the development of severe complications of hyperglycemia. You can resort to certain diabetes management plans that focus on maintaining normal blood sugar levels. However, there are certain alterations that you can make in your life to prevent hyperglycemia.
While it is advised that persons with diabetes watch out for the Signs and Symptoms of Hyperglycemia, it is always better to take the necessary precautions to help prevent it in the first place. Blood sugar levels can be kept under control if you follow the diabetes management plan advised by your doctor. In case hyperglycemia is induced by certain steroids or illnesses, your doctor will be able to adjust medication to bring your blood sugar levels within the normal range. The following points can help prevent hyperglycemia:
If you are unsure of how frequently you should check your sugar levels, consult your doctor. Managing hyperglycemia with a healthy diet, active lifestyle and stress management is easy for individuals diagnosed with both, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Oral medications and insulin can help control high blood glucose levels. You may even be asked to take extra medication until your blood sugar is back in the normal range. Your physician will also advise the exercises that best suit you. Avoid strenuous exercise if you have cardiovascular or other physical conditions.
The 3 p’s in diabetes are –
In diabetes, these 3 P’s may often, but not always, occur together. The development of these 3 in type 1 diabetes is much faster than in type 2 diabetes. Other symptoms might also accompany the three P’s that can characterize and mark the onset of diabetes. Other tests would be required to make a definitive diagnosis.
Polyphagia symptoms, or excessive hunger, can be a sign of diabetes. Hyper and hypoglycemia associated with diabetes can cause excessive hunger at times. Extreme hunger, even after you eat, can be a warning sign for diabetes as the muscles may not be getting the energy they require from the food you have eaten. The insulin resistance may prevent glucose from entering the muscles and thereby, restricting energy. This leads to the muscles and other tissues sending a ‘hunger’ sign out to the brain trying to receive more energy.
The main symptom of polyphagia in diabetes is excessive hunger. This hunger does not seem to subside even after consuming food. You will find yourself craving more food and energy, often in the form of sugars. This can happen in undiagnosed diabetes. Even after the diagnosis, unmanaged or poorly controlled diabetes can lead to excessive hunger and can be a cyclic process as it contributes to an even higher increase in blood sugar levels.
Most often than not, experiences of high blood sugar levels are associated with diabetes. However, there can be certain times wherein the sugar levels of the body can be high but diabetes, as a condition, is not present. This can be in cases of high-stress situations or during a major illness or injury. Other issues related to the pancreas like pancreatitis, pancreatic tumor, etc can also result in high sugar levels
Can hyperglycemia go away on its own?
In case episodes of hyperglycemia are left untreated and are frequent, visiting a doctor for a proper diagnosis is vital. However, even if there are isolated incidents of high blood sugar levels, understanding the cause could help in the treatment. If the pancreas is functioning properly and an adequate amount of insulin is being produced in the body, hyperglycemic episodes can resolve themselves. However, there are times when drinking water, walking, or taking insulin might be best
Usually, fluid replacement is the way to go. Having a lot of water can help flush out the toxins from the body and can help to lower blood sugar levels. Secondly, mild exercise like walking, jogging, etc can also burn the excess sugars in the bloodstream and bring the levels down. In case a person with diabetes is experiencing hyperglycemia, the first aid for them would be to take the correction dose of insulin.
Yes, one of the symptoms of spiked sugar levels is experiencing a rapid heartbeat. If you are having hyperglycemia which is a result of elevated blood sugar levels, the rate at which your heart beats might get affected. Ignorance of such symptoms can lead to the development of complications like heart attacks, strokes, etc.
If your blood sugar levels are abnormally high, you might experience increased appetite. This is a symptom of hyperglycemia. As glucose present in the blood is restricted to enter the cells due to insulin resistance or the inability of the body to produce insulin. This makes the body ineffective in turning food into energy which eventually leads to increased hunger.
Was this post helpful?