Hyperglycaemia (high Blood Sugar)
Hyperglycaemia is the medical term for a high blood sugar (glucose) level. It's a common problem for people with diabetes. It can affect people with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as pregnant women with gestational diabetes. It can occasionally affect people who don't have diabetes, but usually only people who are seriously ill, such as those who have recently had a stroke or heart attack, or have a severe infection. Hyperglycaemia shouldn't be confused with hypoglycaemia, which is when a person's blood sugar level drops too low. This information focuses on hyperglycaemia in people with diabetes. Is hyperglycaemia serious? The aim of diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar levels as near to normal as possible. But if you have diabetes, no matter how careful you are, you're likely to experience hyperglycaemia at some point. It's important to be able to recognise and treat hyperglycaemia, as it can lead to serious health problems if left untreated. Occasional mild episodes aren't usually a cause for concern and can be treated quite easily or may return to normal on their own. However, hyperglycaemia can be potentially dangerous if blood sugar levels become very high or stay high for long periods. Very high blood sugar levels can cause life-threatening complications, such as: diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) – a condition caused by the body needing to break down fat as a source of energy, which can lead to a diabetic coma; this tends to affect people with type 1 diabetes hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state (HHS) – severe dehydration caused by the body trying to get rid of excess sugar; this tends to affect people with type 2 diabetes Regularly having high blood sugar levels for long periods of time (over months or years) can result in permanent damage to parts Continue reading >>
What Your Doctor Doesn't Know About Glucose Testing.
Blood sugar management is important for preventing everything from hypoglycemia to full blown diabetes. However, monitoring blood glucose is rarely as straightforward as it seems. In this article we’ll discuss the current gold standard for measuring a person’s blood sugar. We’ll share some problems with the most popular tests. And we’ll review the best ways to interpret your results. (Even if your doctor doesn’t know how). [Note: We’ve also prepared an audio recording of this article for you to listen to. So, if you’d rather listen to the piece, click here.] ++ Homeostasis is a fancy scientific word for “body balance”. Essentially, our bodies must keep internal levels of thousands of chemicals in check. Or else health can go awry. One of the most important homeostatic systems in our body is our blood sugar management system. When blood sugar is kept at a healthy range, we feel healthy, strong, energetic. On the other hand, unbalanced blood sugars put us at risk for problems ranging from reactive hypoglycemia to insulin resistance to full blown diabetes. But estimating blood sugar levels can be tricky. First, these levels change throughout the day, and with meals and exercise. So, unless you’re monitoring blood sugar levels continuously, every second of every day, it’s hard to get a complete picture of your glucose health. Second, the convenient glucose meters that many Type 1 diabetics use only give us a snapshot instead of a movie. They don’t show us how patients regulate blood sugars over time. And that may be the most important information of all when it comes to disease prevention. That’s why doctors and scientists have become obsessed with finding a test that measures blood glucose balance across days, weeks, or months. In other words, a t Continue reading >>
Shunning Water Linked To High Blood Sugar
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who drink less than a couple of glasses of water each day may be more likely to develop abnormally high blood sugar, a new study suggests. When someone's blood sugar levels are high, but not high enough to fit the definition of diabetes, doctors often consider that person to have "pre-diabetes" -- which puts them at risk of developing the disease itself. In the new study, adults who drank only half a liter of water -- about two glasses -- or less each day were more likely to develop blood sugar levels in the pre-diabetes range, versus people who drank more water. But whether simply drinking water will cut your risk of blood sugar problems is still up in the air. The findings show a correlation between water intake and blood sugar, but do not prove cause-and-effect, said senior researcher Lise Bankir, of the French national research institute INSERM. Still, it is plausible based on biology, Bankir told Reuters Health in an email. A hormone called vasopressin is the potential missing link, according to the researchers. Vasopressin -- also known as antidiuretic hormone -- helps regulate the body's water retention. When we are dehydrated, vasopressin levels go up, causing the kidneys to conserve water. But research suggests that higher vasopressin levels may also elevate blood sugar. There are vasopressin receptors in the liver, the organ responsible for producing glucose (sugar) in the body, Bankir explained. And one study found that injecting healthy people with vasopressin caused a temporary spike in blood sugar. "There are good arguments to suggest that there could be a real cause-and-effect relationship in the association we have found," Bankir said, "but this is not a proof." The findings are based on 3,615 French adults who were bet Continue reading >>
14 Surprising Causes Of Dehydration
Chris Ryan via Getty Images By K. Aleisha Fetters Your body is about 60 percent water. Lose even 1.5 percent of that H2O — the tipping point for mild dehydration — and your mood, energy levels and cognitive function all drop, according to research from the University of Connecticut. And while there are obvious reasons you can end up dehydrated — a sunny day, exercise or not drinking enough in general — other triggers are less obvious. Check out these 14 surprising causes of dehydration and how to prevent them. People with diabetes — especially people who don’t yet realize they have it — are at increased risk for dehydration. When levels of sugar in the blood are too high, the body tries to get rid off the excess glucose through increased urine output, says Robert Kominiarek, DO, a board-certified family physician in Ohio. All of those extra trips to the bathroom can be dehydrating. If you’re diabetic and suffer from frequent thirst or urination, talk to your doctor about how you can work together to improve your blood sugar control. And if you’re experiencing excessive thirst along with these other type 2 diabetes symptoms, it’s time to pay a visit to your doctor. Is it that time of the month? Drink an extra glass of water. Estrogen and progesterone influence your body’s hydration levels, and when the two are roller-coastering, like when you’re in the throes of PMS, you may need to increase your fluid intake to stay hydrated, Dr. Kominiarek says. What’s more, for some women who have excessively heavy periods, the amount of blood lost is enough to deplete fluid levels, says OB-GYN Marielena Guerra, MD, of Elite OB/GYN in Florida. If you think the latter might be you, start counting your tampons. If you have to change them more than once every tw Continue reading >>
Diabetes In Hot Weather — 12 Things To Know
To date, 2016 has been the hottest year ever, and it’s getting hotter. From now on, coping with heat will be an important part of managing diabetes. Some knowledge that might help you: 1. High body temperatures can lower blood sugar. Mayo Clinic writers Nancy Klobassa Davidson, RN, and Peggy Moreland, RN, CDE, say you should check your sugars more often in the hot weather. 2. Sunburn can raise blood sugar. The Mayo Clinic advises wearing a good sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat while out in the sun. 3. Warm skin absorbs insulin faster, while dehydrated skin absorbs insulin more slowly. The closer you can keep your injection site to normal temperature and hydration, the better. 4. Dehydration from sweating can raise blood sugar and can lead to heat exhaustion. According to the Cleveland Clinic, people with diabetes are more likely than others to be admitted to hospitals for dehydration and heat exhaustion, and to die from it. High glucose levels lead to urinating more, which increases risk for dehydration. This may be especially true if you’re on an SGLT-2 inhibitor drug. Keep drinking water with a bit of salt if you are blessed to live in an area where water is available. Have a bottle with you and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Learn to check yourself for dehydration by pinching up some skin on your arm and letting it go. It should snap right back into place. If it goes more slowly, you are getting dehydrated. Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine in super-hot weather, as they are dehydrating. 5. Heat can damage insulin, other medications, and test strips. The Joslin Clinic advises people to keep their insulin cool, but not on ice. If you take medicines with you while you’re away from home, get a cooler bag to keep your medicines and test strips in. Ext Continue reading >>
The body needs water to function. Symptoms range from mild to life-threatening. The young and the elderly are especially susceptible to dehydration. What is dehydration? Water is a critical element of the body, and keeping the body adequately hydrated is a must to allow the body to function. Up to 75% of the body's weight is made up of water. Most of the water is found within the cells of the body (intracellular space). The rest is found in the extracellular space, which consists of the blood vessels (intravascular space) and the spaces between cells (interstitial space). Dehydration occurs when the amount of water leaving the body is greater than the amount being taken in. The body is very dynamic and always changing. This is especially true with water in the body. We lose water routinely when we: breathe and humidified air leaves the body (this can be seen on a cold day when you can see your breath in the air, which is just water that has been exhaled); sweat to cool the body; and eliminate waste by urinating or having a bowel movement. In a normal day, a person has to drink a significant amount of water to replace this routine loss. The formula for daily fluid requirements depends upon an individual's weight. Normally, fluid and weight are calculated using the metric system; however, below is the approximation in imperial (American) units. If you would like to calculate your body weight and daily fluid requirements using the metric system, please use this formula. For the first 10kg (kilogram) of body weight the daily fluid intake required is 100cc (or mL) per kg. For the next 10kg of body weight, the fluid required is an additional 50 cc/kg. For every additional kg of body weight, an additional 10cc/kg is required This is the basic body requirement. More fluid would Continue reading >>
How Does Dehydration Affect Blood-glucose Levels?
Water is important for your health and staying well-hydrated may help you reduce your blood-glucose levels, which helps you better manage the hormone insulin. This is especially important for diabetics and some evidence suggests that proper hydration may help you from getting type 2 diabetes. Video of the Day Blood Glucose Basics Glucose is a form of sugar your body uses for energy. When you eat carbohydrates, your body converts carbohydrates to glucose. Foods that are absorbed more rapidly, such as refined sugar and white flour, result in a greater spike in blood glucose, whereas less-refined foods such as whole-grain bread result in a slower, steadier blood-glucose rise. As glucose levels increase, your body releases insulin, which prompts your cells to store glucose and reduces the amount in your bloodstream. Diabetes occurs when people become resistant to insulin, causing blood-glucose levels to remain high. The Hydration Factor If you're concerned about blood glucose, proper hydration should be a top priority. When you're dehydrated, your body produces a hormone called vasopressin, according to "The New York Times." Vasopressin causes your kidneys to retain water and also prompts your liver to produce blood sugar, which may lead to elevated blood-glucose levels. Over time, this effect may lead to insulin resistance, notes the "New York Times." Although more studies are needed to confirm this effect, dehydration may eventually lead to chronic hyperglycemia, or high blood glucose, which may indicate diabetes, according to a study published in "Diabetes Care" in 2011. The study followed 3,615 adults over nine years and found that those who drank the greatest amount of water were the least likely to develop hyperglycemia, while those who drank the least amount of water Continue reading >>
Drink More Water
Last month I was taken to the emergency room because my blood pressure dropped. It turned out I had gone low because of dehydration. I’m really embarrassed because I hadn’t realized how important hydration is. It was scary. I could sit up, but only for about a minute. Then I’d have to lie down again. Couldn’t even think about standing (which is hard enough for me on a good day). I was in the ER for about 12 hours getting IV fluids before I was strong enough to go home. Lord knows what it will cost, and all because I didn’t drink enough. I didn’t know I had a viral infection. They found that on a white blood count in the ER. But I did know I was eating lots of fiber, which absorbs water, and not drinking much. I just didn’t know I could get in so much physical trouble from a little dryness. For people with diabetes, the risk of dehydration is greater, because higher than normal blood glucose depletes fluids. To get rid of the glucose, the kidneys will try to pass it out in the urine, but that takes water. So the higher your blood glucose, the more fluids you should drink, which is why thirst is one of the main symptoms of diabetes. According to the British diabetes site diabetes.co.uk, other causative factors for dehydration include insufficient fluid intake, sweating because of hot weather or exercise, alcohol, diarrhea, or vomiting. The symptoms of mild dehydration include thirst, headache, dry mouth and eyes, dizziness, fatigue, and dark-colored urine. Severe dehydration causes all those symptoms plus low blood pressure, sunken eyes, weak pulse and/or rapid heartbeat, confusion, and lethargy. But many people, especially older people, don’t get these symptoms. It seems that thirst signals become weaker as we age. Diabetes may get people used to thirst s Continue reading >>
20 Reasons For Blood Sugar Swings
Upswing: Caffeine Your blood sugar can rise after you have coffee -- even black coffee with no calories -- thanks to the caffeine. The same goes for black tea, green tea, and energy drinks. Each person with diabetes reacts to foods and drinks differently, so it's best to keep track of your own responses. Ironically, other compounds in coffee may help prevent type 2 diabetes in healthy people. Many of these will raise your blood sugar levels. Why? They can still have plenty of carbs from starches. Check the total carbohydrates on the Nutrition Facts label before you dig in. You should also pay attention to sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and xylitol. They add sweetness with fewer carbs than sugar (sucrose), but they may still have enough to boost your levels. One study found that people with type 2 diabetes who switched to a vegan (or all vegetable-based) diet had better blood sugar control and needed less insulin. A boost in fiber from whole grains and beans might play a role, by slowing down the digestion of carbs. But scientists need more research to know if going vegan really helps diabetes. Talk to your doctor before you make major diet changes. Blood sugar can dip dangerously low during shut-eye for some people with diabetes, especially if they take insulin. It's best to check your levels at bedtime and when you wake up. A snack before bed may help. For some people, blood sugar can rise in the morning -- even before breakfast -- due to changes in hormones or a drop in insulin. Regular testing is important. One option is a continuous blood glucose monitor, which can alert you to highs and lows. Physical activity is a great health booster for everyone. But people with diabetes should tailor it to what they need. When you work out hard enough to sweat and raise your h Continue reading >>
Why Does Diabetes Cause Excessive Thirst?
7 0 We’ve written before about the signs and symptoms of diabetes. While there are a lot of sources about what symptoms diabetes causes, and even some good information about why they’re bad for you, what you don’t often get are the “whys”. And while the “whys” aren’t necessarily critical for your long-term health, they can help you to understand what’s going on with your body and why it acts the way it does. That, in turn, can help with acceptance and understanding of how to better treat the symptoms, which in turn can help you stay on a good diabetes management regimen. In short, you don’t NEED to know why diabetes causes excessive thirst, but knowing the mechanism behind it can make your blood glucose control regimen make more sense and help you stick to it. So why DOES diabetes cause thirst? First, we’d like to start by saying that excessive thirst is not a good indicator of diabetes. For many people, the symptom creeps up so slowly that it’s almost impossible to determine if your thirst has noticeably increased (unless you keep a spreadsheet of how much water you drink, in which case you also probably get tested pretty regularly anyway). It’s also a common enough symptom that a sudden increase in thirst can mean almost anything. Some conditions that cause thirst increases include allergies, the flu, the common cold, almost anything that causes a fever, and dehydration caused by vomiting or diarrhea. So while excessive thirst is one of those diabetes symptoms that happens, and needs to be addressed, it’s not always a great sign that you should immediately go out and get an A1C test. Why does diabetes cause thirst? Excessive thirst, when linked to another condition as a symptom or comorbidity, is called polydipsia. It’s usually one of the Continue reading >>
Diabetes And Dehydration: A Dangerous Combination
When you experience vomiting, nausea, fever, diarrhea, or any form of infection, you should immediately contact your physician. I can’t really emphasize enough the importance of getting treatment and getting it fast. To drive home this point, I’ll share the following experience. Some years ago, I got a call from a woman at about four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. She wasn’t my patient, but her diabetologist was out of town for the weekend with no backup for emergencies. He had never taught her what I teach my patients — the contents of this chapter. She found my Diabetes Center in the white pages of the phone book. She was alone with her toddler son and had been vomiting continuously since 9:00 a.m. She asked me what she could do. I told her that she must be so dehydrated that her only choice was to get to a hospital emergency room as fast as possible for intravenous fluid replacement. While she dropped off her son with her mother, I called the hospital and told them to expect her. I got a call 5 hours later from an attending physician. He had admitted her to the hospital because the emergency room couldn’t help her. Why not? Her kidneys had failed from dehydration. Fortunately, the hospital had a dialysis center, so they put her on dialysis and gave her intravenous fluids. Had dialysis not been available, she would likely have died. As it turned out, she spent five days in the hospital. Clearly, a dehydrating illness is not something to take lightly, not a reason to assume your doctor is going to think you’re a hypochondriac if you call every time you have one of the problems discussed in this chapter. This is something that could kill you, and you need prompt treatment. Why is it, then, that diabetics have a more serious time with dehydrating illness th Continue reading >>
High Blood Sugar Emergencies
Blood sugar levels that are too high (hyperglycemia) can quickly turn into a diabetic emergency without quick and appropriate treatment. The best way to avoid dangerously high blood sugar levels is to self-test to stay in tune with your body, and to stay attuned to the symptoms and risk factors for hyperglycemia. Extremely high blood sugar levels can lead to one of two conditions—diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS; also called hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic coma). Although both syndromes can occur in either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, DKA is more common in type 1, and HHNS is more common in type 2. Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) Ketoacidosis (or DKA) occurs when blood sugars become elevated (over 249 mg/dl, or 13.9 mmol/l) over a period of time and the body begins to burn fat for energy, resulting in ketone bodies in the blood or urine (a phenomenon called ketosis). A variety of factors can cause hyperglycemia (high blood glucose), including failure to take medication or insulin, stress, dietary changes without medication adjustments, eating disorders, and illness or injury. This last cause is important, because if illness brings on DKA, it may slip by unnoticed, since its symptoms can mimic the flu (aches, vomiting, etc.). In fact, people with type 1 diabetes are often seeking help for the flu-like symptoms of DKA when they first receive their diagnosis. Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis may include: fruity (acetone) breath nausea and/or vomiting abdominal pain dry, warm skin confusion fatigue breathing problems excessive thirst frequent urination in extreme cases, loss of consciousness DKA is a medical emergency, and requires prompt and immediate treatment. A simple over-the-counter urine dipstick test (e.g., Keto Continue reading >>
How To Manage Your Diabetes In Extreme Summer Heat
We often look forward to changes of season, but if you have diabetes, you need to be extra careful when temperatures climb dramatically. Extreme heat can affect your blood sugar control. If you use insulin or if your treatment of blood sugars is inadequate, this can put you at higher risk. Often, worsening blood sugar control is the main concern. Depending on the situation and your level of physical activity, low blood sugars are also possible. Extreme temperatures can also damage your medications and testing equipment. I always remind my patients to take precautions to protect themselves and their supplies during both winter and summer. If a patient’s blood sugars are mostly higher than 250 mg/dl, I recommend improving blood sugar control before engaging in heavy physical activity — regardless of the climate and the temperature, as recommended by the American Diabetes Association. How heat can affect you The extreme heat of summer affects blood sugar levels. How the heat affects your levels depends on what you’ve eaten, whether you’re well-hydrated and your activity level. If the heat and your activity make you sweat profusely, you may become dehydrated, leading to a rise in glucose levels. If you become dehydrated, your blood glucose levels will rise. This can lead to frequent urination, which then leads to further dehydration and even higher blood sugar levels — a kind of vicious cycle. Further, if the treatment includes insulin, dehydration reduces blood supply to the skin and, therefore, less absorption of injected insulin dosage. Adjusting your insulin dosage Most types of insulin can tolerate temperatures from 93 degrees F to 95 degrees F, but any higher than that and the medication will degrade rapidly. Attention should be paid to the insulin you are c Continue reading >>
How Does Dehydration Affect Blood Glucose Levels?
Definition Dehydration occurs when your body does not have enough fluid to carry out its normal functions. Dehydration can be mild, or it can be severe and life threatening, resulting in coma and death. Low fluid intake, illness, exercise, excessive sweating, too much sun exposure, heat and humidity, burns, certain medications and alcohol can all cause dehydration. Glucose Levels Rise When you become dehydrated, the amount of liquid in your blood is low in relation to the nutrients and waste products in the blood. Therefore, concentrations of glucose increase. As glucose levels increase, blood circulation through the capillaries, the smallest blood vessels, diminishes. Over time, this decreased blood supply can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, blindness, nervous system damage, kidney disease and dental disease. In the short term, increased blood glucose levels can cause fatigue, blurred vision, increased thirst and an increased need to urinate. Since diabetes is characterized by increased thirst and urination anyway, if you are diabetic, dehydration can rapidly become a serious problem. Symptoms Mild dehydration, even without the complication of diabetes, can make you feel tired, thirsty and weak and give you a headache. Severe dehydration adds irritability, dry mouth and mucous membranes, sunken eyes, low blood pressure, overly rapid heartbeat and fever. Delirium, unconsciousness and death can follow. Avoid Dehydration As a diabetic, you should know what causes dehydration and take steps to avoid it. Vigorous exercise in high heat and humidity conditions require a greater fluid intake, as does spending the day at the beach. Pay attention to your body's thirst signals. Have a plan to prevent or minimize dehydration caused by fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Continue reading >>
Diabetic Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Syndrome
What is diabetic hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome? Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome (HHS) is a potentially life-threatening condition involving extremely high blood sugar, or glucose, levels. Any illness that causes dehydration or reduced insulin activity can lead to HHS. It’s most commonly a result of uncontrolled or undiagnosed diabetes. An illness or infection can trigger HHS. Failure to monitor and control blood glucose levels can also lead to HHS. When your blood sugar gets too high, the kidneys try to compensate by removing some of the excess glucose through urination. If you don’t drink enough fluids to replace the fluid you’re losing, your blood sugar levels spike. Your blood also becomes more concentrated. This can also occur if you drink too many sugary beverages. This condition is called hyperosmolarity. Blood that’s too concentrated begins to draw water out of other organs, including the brain. Some possible symptoms are excessive thirst, increased urination, and fever. Symptoms may develop slowly and increase over a period of days or weeks. Treatment involves reversing or preventing dehydration and getting blood glucose levels under control. Prompt treatment can relieve symptoms within a few hours. Untreated HHS can lead to life-threatening complications, including dehydration, shock, or coma. Go to an emergency room or call 911 if you have symptoms of HHS. This is a medical emergency. HHS can happen to anyone. It’s more common in older people who have type 2 diabetes. Symptoms may begin gradually and worsen over a few days or weeks. A high blood sugar level is a warning sign of HHS. The symptoms include: excessive thirst high urine output dry mouth weakness sleepiness a fever warm skin that doesn’t perspire nausea vomiting weight loss leg Continue reading >>
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