Many people do not understand the difference between hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. Hyper means high and hypo means low. So therefore, hyperglycemia is too high a blood sugar level and hypoglycemia is too low a blood sugar level.
Our blood sugar levels can fluctuate depending on our actions, state of health, thoughts or even our environment. A healthy body releases hormones in response to changing blood sugar levels to most effectively utilize the sugar and to maintain a healthy blood glucose balance.
For various reasons some individuals’ systems lack the ability to either produce and release the correct hormones or to respond effectively to them. These inabilities result in either hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
Having high levels of blood glucose is an indication 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 is eating more carbohydrate-rich foods than the body can handle. If this situation becomes chronic or constant, pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes can result.
When, or as, this happens the body will become increasingly less able to control blood sugar levels. This has huge adverse health implications for the individual.
There are also cases when a person experiences hyperglycemia as one of the side effects to current medication. This is why it is very important to consult your doctor first before taking any other drugs, which may exacerbate the condition.
If you notice yourself feeling abnormally 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 must consult your health care provider and describe the symptoms. Simple tests can be done and necessary changes to your meal plans, exercise patterns and if necessary, 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 extreme cases hypoglycemia can pose very 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 result in 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.
Usually a hypoglycemic episode is the result of a combination of circumstances rather than a single factor.
Type 1 diabetics are at risk of experiencing hypoglycemia if their insulin dosage exceeds their immediate requirements. This can occur if unplanned fasting and physical exertion follows medication, which results in a depletion of available 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, take action to increase available blood sugar and have someone monitor your response. Seek immediate medical attention if your condition deteriorates. If episodes re-occur, it would be wise to have your health care professional do an assessment.
Keeping Balanced Blood Glucose Levels
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 and regular times will greatly assist in maintaining a correct blood sugar balance. If any medications you are taking affects 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. For type 1 diabetics, medication, generally insulin, is essential.
For others, although medication can assist, the major factor is your actions regarding diet and lifestyle. If you are pro-active in your pursuit of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, you have a good chance at managing your hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia without the need of medications.