Hyperglycemia? Hypoglycemia? What’s the difference?
You are here because you want to get a handle on blood sugar levels, right? Great. Let’s do this.
Blood sugar levels — the basics
- Hyper means high and hypo means low.
- So hyperglycemia is when your blood sugar level is too high.
- And when it’s too low, that’s hypoglycemia.
- Your blood sugar levels go up or down depending on your actions or thoughts, or even your environment. And it’s this point we need to explore a bit more, because “herein lies hope”. That sounds awfully formal, doesnt it? Or old-fashioned.
HUMAN BIOLOGY 101
A healthy body releases hormones in response as your blood sugar levels change. And it does this in order to effectively use the sugar in your blood supply and also so it can maintain a healthy blood sugar balance for you. For various reasons some people lack the ability to release the correct hormones or to respond effectively to them. This results in either hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
Having high levels of blood glucose is an indicator that your body is not producing enough insulin (or is insulin-resistant). There can be different causes of hyperglycemia including stress, and lack of exercise. Hyperglycemia can also occur if you have Type 1 Diabetes and miss taking any of your diabetes medications.
However the most common cause of hyperglycemia is eating more carbohydrate-rich foods than the body can handle.
There are also cases when a person experiences hyperglycemia as one of the side effects to some other pills that you are taking. This is why it is very important to consult your doctor first before taking any other drugs.
If you notice yourself feeling too tired and thirsty, feeling sick to your stomach, urinating more often and having blurry vision then it is possible that your blood glucose has exceeded safe levels. You should consult your health care provider and describe the symptoms. Simple tests can be done and necessary changes to your meal plans and diabetes medicines can be made.
If your blood glucose falls below 70 mg/dl, you are considered hypoglycemic and your blood glucose levels are too low. In some cases hypoglycemia may pose serious health consequences, immediately and in the longer term. If your blood sugar levels drop too quickly, immediate medical attention may be required as it can lead to convulsions and unconsciousness.
Some causes of hypoglycemia can include skipping or delaying meals, not eating enough carbohydrate-rich foods, prolonged physical exertion and excessive alcohol drinking. Medications for other health problems may also provide side effects that lead to lowered levels of blood glucose.
Symptoms of low blood glucose levels are feelings of anxiousness, irritability, tiredness, numbness around the mouth, slurred speech, feeling shaky, weak and hungry. You may also experience profuse sweating and headaches. If you experience any, or especially a combination of these symptoms, it would be wise to have your health care professional do an assessment.
Keeping your blood sugar levels balanced
If you have reason for concern, regular monitoring of your blood glucose levels can assist a pattern of healthy lifestyle choices. Inexpensive testers are available at pharmacies or online. Exercising on a regular basis can help improve your body’s ability to respond to insulin. Eating healthy meals at appropriate times will greatly assist in maintaining a correct blood sugar balance. If any medications you are taking effects your levels bring it to your doctor’s attention.
Your body is designed to regulate your blood sugar levels. Actions you take will either assist or impede your body in achieving this.
Although medication can be helpful, there are some very big things you can do to manage your situation. Factors like diet and lifestyle. If you are purposefully maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, you have a good chance at keeping your hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia at bay without having to resort to medications.