Hyperglycemia

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

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People with diabetes don't have the luxury of that auto-sensing. Not enough insulin and the glucose levels in the blood stream start to rise; too much insulin, and they plummet.

The consequences of hypoglycemia are easy to understand. No energy source, no function - and the first organ to go is the brain. It needs glucose to function and without it, the brain shuts down quickly. Confusion, lethargy, and coma occur quickly. Blood sugar is one of the first things checked on scene of a comatose patient, because it's so easy to fix and very embarrassing for an EMT to miss.

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Hyperglycemia facts

  • Hyperglycemia is an abnormally high blood glucose (blood sugar) level.
  • Hyperglycemia is a hallmark sign of diabetes (both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes) and prediabetes.
  • Diabetes is the most common cause of hyperglycemia.
  • Other conditions that can cause hyperglycemia are pancreatitis, Cushing's syndrome, unusual hormone-secreting tumors, pancreatic cancer, certain medications, and severe illnesses.
  • The main symptoms of hyperglycemia are increased thirst and a frequent need to urinate.
  • Severely elevated glucose levels can result in a medical emergency like diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS, also referred to as hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state).
  • Insulin is the treatment of choice for people with type 1 diabetes and for life-threatening increases in glucose levels.
  • People with type 2 diabetes may be managed with a combination of different oral and injectable medications.
  • Hyperglycemia due to medical conditions other than diabetes is generally treated by treating the underlying condition responsible for the elevated glucose. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 6/11/2014
References
REFERENCES:

CDC.gov. Diabetes.

American Diabetes Association.

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