Metabolic Health

What Causes Blood Sugar to Rise in Non-Diabetics?

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

What Is Non-Diabetic Hyperglycemia?

Non-diabetic Hyperglycemia is a condition in which the blood glucose (sugar) level is high, but the individual does not have diabetes. This condition may result from stress, trauma, major illness or a longstanding underlying chronic condition you're unaware of. Hyperglycemia not only makes the body vulnerable to catching infections, but also interferes with the healing process, making it hard to manage and crucial to identify it early. Another reason for increased sugar levels can be Prediabetes also called Impaired glucose tolerance, refers to raised blood glucose levels, but not in the diabetic range.

Why is Hyperglycemia dangerous?

Whether its low or high, the blood sugar levels play an integral part in our body functions. Most often we may not even know or realise that our blood sugar levels are fluctuation; thus making it dangerous since  if it's left untreated, it can lead to irreversible health problems like increased risk of heart attack, stroke, nerve damage, damage to your blood vessels, organs, and tissues.

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How is Hyperglycemia Diagnosed?

The most common way to diagnose Hyperglycemia is by the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test. In this you will be asked to take about 75 grams of carbohydrates in a fasting state, and your blood sugars will be tested two hours later. Blood sugar levels between 140-200 mg/dL is considered as Prediabetes while levels above 200 mg/dL are diagnosed as Diabetes.

Hyperglycemia doesn't cause symptoms until glucose values are significantly raised, and even then they develop slowly and over several weeks/months and sometimes even years.

The longer our blood sugar levels stay high, the more serious the complications and more difficult to reverse the condition. However, quite often many may not show any symptoms and not even notice or be aware of it for a long time despite elevated blood sugar levels. Hence it is highly recommended to Look out for both Early and Later Signs and Symptoms.

It is important to remember that although Hyperglycemia has symptoms, you may not notice them or be aware of it for a long time. Hence it is highly recommended to keep an eye out for the Signs and not ignore them. If you have any of the mentioned Signs or Symptoms, make sure you meet your doctor and take a blood sugar test to assess your risk and determine whether you need any treatment or management for the same.

What Causes Non-diabetic Hyperglycemia?

Certain conditions can increase your blood glucose levels by interfering with the ability of insulin to transport glucose out of the bloodstream. When this occurs, you develop hyperglycemia, which puts you at an increased risk of prediabetes, diabetes, and other related complications. The most common causes of high blood sugar in Non-diabetics are-

1. Pancreatic Diseases

The pancreas produce certain enzymes and hormones including insulin, which is a key player in blood sugar regulation. Certain disorders of the Pancreas like Pancreatitis, Pancreatic Cancer and Cystic Fibrosis, result in inflammation and damaged pancreatic cells. This results in the pancreatic cells being unable to produce enough insulin to remove glucose from the blood causing it to build up leading to hyperglycemia.

2. Obesity and Weight Related Factors

Obesity refers to the state of being grossly overweight. It can lead to inflammation in the body due to excessive build-up of body fat—this inflammation results in insulin resistance

If you are obese, talk immediately with your healthcare expert regarding this problem. Your healthcare expert or dietician will provide tips to reduce excessive weight like a physical activity routine, diet plan, medications, etc. 

3. Cushing's Syndrome

Cushing's Syndrome is a disorder that results due to the consumption of or exposure to an excessive amount of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol is a hormone whose production takes place in the human body. Certain medications also contain it.

If your body begins the overproduction of cortisol, you may develop Cushing's Syndrome. 10–30% of people affected with this syndrome tend to have impaired glucose tolerance. Certain metabolic changes may also happen in such patients that make the process of blood sugar regulation hard. Cortisol also hinders the effects of insulin in your body. This results in an enhanced level of insulin resistance. 

4. Surgery and Stress

Trauma to the body results in a massive stress response from it. This results in a significant rise in cortisol levels. Consequently, what happens is an insulin resistance response by the body. 

Therefore, after surgery, it is crucial to monitor the body’s condition during the healing process. One of the key things to keep in mind during this process is to keep the body hydrated and healthy. 

5. Medication Side Effects

You need to be wary of certain medications as they can cause high blood sugar levels. Usually, these consist of diuretics or steroids. Also, you need to be careful of medications that can produce insulin resistance. 

This is why it is a matter of paramount importance to read directions on medications before using them. Make sure to review any medications that your doctor prescribes. Also, ensure to consume medicines in the correct manner and the correct dosage. 

6. Prediabetes

Prediabetes is a condition that is a precursor to type 2 diabetes. However, it may not display any signs or symptoms. If left untreated, the progression of pre-diabetes may continue and take the form of diabetes. Moreover, various related complications can take place if you leave pre-diabetes on its own without intervening.

This condition is also known by experts as impaired glucose tolerance. Another popular name for this condition is impaired fasting glucose. Adults between the age of 40–60 years are at the most risk for developing prediabetes.

How can Hyperglycemia be managed?

The standard recommendation to prevent and manage hyperglycemia is by using the 4 ways mentioned below.

1. Dietary management

2. Regular exercise or physical workout 

3. Weight loss

4. Prescribed medication 

Bottomline

A variety of factors can contribute to high blood sugar, and some of them like diet and exercise can help keep your blood glucose in check. Sometimes high blood sugar in people without diabetes could be due to prediabetes, which could lead to the development of diabetes. If you have high blood sugar often, it’s important to check with your healthcare provider and monitor it.

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