Hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar)


Hyperglycaemia, also known as high blood sugar, is a condition in which the body has too much glucose circulating in the bloodstream. It is usually caused by inadequate insulin production or a resistance to the effects of insulin. If left untreated, it can lead to serious health complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis, nerve damage, kidney damage, and heart disease. Treatment for hyperglycaemia usually involves lifestyle changes that focus on diet, exercise, and proper blood sugar monitoring. In more serious cases, medications may be used to help regulate blood sugar.


The most common symptoms of Hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar) include:

  1. Increased thirst
  2. Frequent urination
  3. Fatigue
  4. Blurred vision
  5. Slow healing of wounds or cuts
  6. Increased hunger
  7. Weight loss
  8. Nausea and vomiting
  9. Fruity-smelling breath
  10. 0. Stomach pain
  11. 1. Trouble concentrating
  12. 2. Dizziness or light-headedness


The most common cause of hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar) is a lack of insulin or reduced sensitivity to insulin. Other known causes of hyperglycaemia include stress, certain medications, inadequate or unhealthy diet, alcohol use, lack of exercise and physical activity, certain medical conditions such as Cushing’s disease, and inactivity. In some cases, too much sugar or carbohydrates in the diet can also cause hyperglycaemia.

Risk factors

The primary risk factors for hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar) include:

  • Uncontrolled or untreated diabetes
  • A lack of physical activity
  • Certain medications, such as corticosteroids
  • High-fat, high-sugar, or high-calorie diets
  • Stress
  • Poorly managed diabetes during pregnancy
  • Pancreatic diseases, such as pancreatitis
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Acromegaly
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Renal insufficiency


Hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar) is usually diagnosed through a blood test. A patient’s healthcare provider will typically conduct a fasting blood glucose test to measure the amount of glucose in the blood after a person has not eaten for at least eight hours. If the results show a level of 126 mg/dl or higher, the person is considered to have hyperglycaemia. Other tests including A1C, random blood glucose test, and oral glucose tolerance test may also be used to diagnose hyperglycaemia.


Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) refers to elevated levels of glucose in the bloodstream. It is generally divided into three subtypes, each with its own causes and potential health implications:

  1. Fasting Hyperglycemia: Fasting Hyperglycemia is when an individual has a fasting blood glucose level (after not eating for 8 hours or more) that is higher than normal. This typically points to an underlying condition, such as type 2 diabetes, since fasting glucose should remain relatively constant.
  2. Postprandial Hyperglycemia: Postprandial Hyperglycemia is when an individual has a blood glucose level that is above normal two hours after eating. This usually indicates insulin resistance (the body’s inability to effectively use insulin to manage blood sugar levels).
  3. Random Hyperglycemia: Random Hyperglycemia is when an individual has a randomly high blood glucose level that is above normal. This is a less common form of hyperglycemia and is usually caused by medication side effects or drinking too much alcohol.

In all types of hyperglycemia, it is important to watch for signs and symptoms such as increased thirst, fatigue, frequent urination, blurred vision, and weight loss. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these signs, they should seek medical attention immediately.


The treatment options for hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) depend on the severity and underlying causes of the symptoms.

For mild cases, lifestyle changes such as diet, physical activity, and weight loss are recommended. It is important to follow a healthy diet that is low in sugar and simple carbohydrates, and to focus on foods that are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. Regular physical activity is important for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Additionally, some people may benefit from medications such as metformin, sulfonylureas, and thiazolidinediones.

For more severe cases, a doctor may recommend insulin therapy, either in pill form or injections. Additionally, a doctor may prescribe medications to help control blood sugar if it is not brought under control by diet and exercise alone.

Lastly, people with diabetes should also monitor their blood sugar levels regularly and consult with their doctor for any changes in their treatment plan.


In order to reduce the risk of hyperglycaemia, it is important to make healthy lifestyle choices such as eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, limiting processed and refined carbohydrates, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Additionally, individuals with diabetes should take their prescribed medications as directed, check their blood sugar regularly, and monitor their carbohydrate intake. Regular doctor visits to check blood sugar levels and adjust medications, if necessary, should also be taken advantage of.

Gender differences?

Yes, there are gender-specific differences in the presentation and management of hyperglycaemia. Women tend to have more symptoms than men, such as increased hunger and thirst, fatigue, and blurred vision. Furthermore, women with pre-existing diabetes are at a higher risk of developing ketoacidosis, a life-threatening complication of hyperglycaemia.

Men on the other hand, tend to be more reluctant to seek medical help and are often diagnosed at a later stage, leading to poorer glycaemic control. Furthermore, they are more likely to experience cardiovascular problems as a result of their hyperglycaemia, and may not respond as well to certain therapies and medications.

It is important to emphasise that both men and women experiencing hyperglycaemia should receive appropriate medical attention. Simple lifestyle changes such as increasing physical activity, consuming a balanced diet, and managing stress levels can help to reduce blood sugar levels and improve overall glycaemic control.


Nutrition plays a major role in the management of hyperglycaemia. Appropriate dietary choices can help to achieve and maintain normal blood glucose levels. Eating a balanced diet consisting of foods with a low glycemic index, including whole grains, high-fiber carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats, can assist with controlling and preventing high blood glucose levels. Additionally, healthy snacks and meals should be incorporated throughout the day and maintained at consistent intervals to keep blood glucose levels stable. Finally, reducing the intake of processed and sugary foods and beverages can also help to manage hyperglycaemia.

Physical Activity

Physical activity can help the body use insulin more effectively to lower blood sugar levels. Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as decreasing hyperglycemia in people with diabetes. Physical activity can also help to reduce the amount of medications a person needs to take to control their diabetes. This is because physical activity helps to lower the body’s need for insulin, which helps to keep blood sugar levels under control. In addition, regular physical activity can help reduce overall body weight and abdominal fat, both of which can contribute to hyperglycemia. Therefore, physical activity can be an important factor in the management of hyperglycemia.

Further Reading

  1. https://diabetes.org/healthy-living/medication-treatments/blood-glucose-testing-and-control/hyperglycemia
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperglycemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20373631
  3. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9815-hyperglycemia-high-blood-sugar
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279052/
  5. https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/blood-and-lymph/hyperglycaemia-high-blood-sugar
  6. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/complications/hypers
  7. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/hypoglycemia-low-blood-glucose-in-people-with-diabetes-beyond-the-basics

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