What is Hyperglycemia?
Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar (glucose), is a serious health problem for those with diabetes. Hyperglycemia develops when there is too much sugar in the blood. In people with diabetes, there are two specific types of hyperglycemia that occur:
- Fasting hyperglycemia is defined as a blood sugar greater than 130 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) after fasting for at least 8 hours.
- Postprandial or after-meal hyperglycemia is defined as a blood sugar usually greater than 180 mg/dL. In people without diabetes postprandial or post-meal sugars rarely go over 140 mg/dL. However, occasionally after a large meal, a 1-2 hour post-meal sugar level can reach 180 mg/dL. Consistently elevated high post-meal blood sugar levels can be an indicator that a person is at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes
When a person with diabetes has hyperglycemia frequently or for long periods of time as indicated by a high HbA1c blood test, damage to nerves, blood vessels, and other body organs can occur. Hyperglycemia can also lead to more serious conditions, including ketoacidosis -- mostly in people with type 1 diabetes -- and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS) in people with type 2 diabetes or in people at risk for type 2 diabetes.
It's important to treat the symptoms of hyperglycemia promptly to prevent complications from diabetes.