Monday 13 February 2012

Symptoms of Hyperglycemia

For those of us who have children with diabetes, we are all too familiar with the extreme symptoms of hyperglycemia, as they were the triggers that led our child to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. But hyperglycemia can occur daily, even with mild symptoms, so it is important to know the signs and treat it accordingly. Last week I posted about hypoglycemia symptoms and included a little picture that helps kids identify the signs. Here is its hyperglycemia equivalent:

Hyperglycemia can be defined as a level of sugar in the blood that exceeds the target range. Ideal blood sugar range can vary by individual, but as the level increases, symptoms of hyperglycemia appear.

The most common symptoms include:
  • dry mouth
  • extreme thirst
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • drowsiness
  • frequent bed wetting (in children)
  • blurry vision
  • increased appetite

If untreated, hyperglycemia can lead to:
  • rapid weight loss
  • dizziness
  • difficulty breathing
  • unconsciousness or coma
  • ketoacidosis

Over the long term, extended or frequent periods of hyperglycemia can lead to diabetes side effects such as blindness, kidney failure, foot or leg amputation., and even brain damage. 

So what causes hyperglycemia? A number of factors can be responsible, but the more common contributors include:
  • too much carbohydrate
  • less activity than normal
  • emotional stress
  • illness
  • growth spurts
  • forgetting insulin
  • faulty insulin/old infusion sets/equipment failure, etc

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