Hyperglycemia is a medical term that means abnormally high levels of blood sugar. It is usually seen among individuals with diabetes. Blood sugar can be defined as high when it exceeds 11.1 mmol/l or 200 mg/dl. Depending on each individual, there can be little to no symptoms seen until the blood sugar levels become significantly higher such as 15 to 20 mmol/l or 250 to 300 mg/dl. According to the American Diabetes Association, an individual can be considered to be slightly hyperglycemic when their blood sugar levels ranges between 5.6 to 7 mmol/l or 100 to 126 mg/dl. Once an individual has a consistent blood sugar level that is above 7 mmol/l, he or she can be considered to have diabetes. It is important for patients to control their blood sugar levels as chronic hyperglycemia can result in complications such as end organ damage.
Hyperglycemia is most commonly seen among patients with diabetes mellitus. The term diabetes refers to a group of metabolic disorders where there is prolonged hyperglycemia if not properly controlled with diet, exercise, and medication. There are three main types of diabetes known as type 1 diabetes mellitus, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes or juvenile diabetes is most commonly seen among young children and occurs as the pancreas does not produce adequate insulin. Type 2 diabetes is mostly seen among adults and occurs when there is insulin resistance. Gestational diabetes occurs among pregnant women and usually resolves once the baby is delivered.
Symptom #1: Polyphagia
Polyphagia or hyperphagia describes the situation where there is excessive hunger and an increased appetite. This causes an abnormally large consumption of food. In hyperglycemia, glucose cannot enter the cells due to insulin resistance or inadequate insulin.
This causes the body to not be able to convert the consumed food into energy, leading to a constant state of hunger. Polyphagia can be seen in other conditions such as Prader-Willi syndrome, Kleine-Levin syndrome, hyperthyroidism, and Bardet-Biedl syndrome.