Hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose)

You have hyperglycaemia if your blood glucose level is higher than your target range. Your target range is likely to be 4-7mmol/L. High blood glucose can occur when your food, activity and medication are not balanced. It can also happen when you are unwell or under stress.

If you have Type 2 diabetes, reduced insulin production or insulin resistance stops glucose travelling into your cells and muscles. This stimulates your liver to release more glucose, which causes your blood glucose level to rise.

If there is no fuel or energy going into your cells, you may feel tired. You will need extra fluid to dilute the glucose, which will make you thirsty. The only way your body can get rid of this excess glucose is through your urine. It is this symptom that gave diabetes its full medical name of "diabetes mellitus". Diabetes means "flowing through" and mellitus means "sweet as honey". The condition was named after the high volume of urine laden with sugar that is found in people with untreated diabetes. The extra fluid your body uses to dilute your high blood glucose level can also make you dehydrated, which will leave your skin feeling dry.

If you have high blood glucose levels you may be more prone to infections, such as Candida (thrush) that can lead to an infection of the genitals. Having an infection can cause your blood glucose levels to rise, especially if you have a high temperature. When you are unwell, you produce hormones (such as cortisol and glucagon), which stimulate your liver to release more glucose. So at a time when you are not feeling hungry and eating less, it can be surprising that your blood glucose levels are still rising.

The symptoms of diabetes are the same as the symptoms of high blood glucose, because diabetes causes high blood glucose. These symptoms include:

  • thirst
  • high output of urine, especially at night
  • weight loss
  • lack of energy
  • blurred vision

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is likely that you will need to adjust how you are treating your diabetes. Talk to your diabetes healthcare team about changing your treatment plan and treating hyperglycaemia.

 

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