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Hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar) - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment In India


Hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar) - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Ragiinii Sharma

Written By Prekshi Garg
on Jun 1, 2022

Last Edit Made By Prekshi Garg
on Mar 17, 2024

Hyperglycemia (High blood sugar) - Cause ,Symptoms, Treatment

Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar is common in people with type-1 and type-2 diabetes. It could be due to poorly managed diabetes, lack of medications, consuming foods with a high glycemic index, etc.

Although not fatal, hyperglycemia is a serious condition requiring a timely medical check-up. You have to pay close attention to both hyper and hypoglycemia symptoms to avert substantial risks to your health.

Persistently high blood glucose levels are associated with damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerve function, and cardiovascular functioning. This article will explore everything about hyperglycemia, its causes, symptoms, and treatments.

What is Hyperglycemia?

Hyperglycemia is the persistently high blood glucose level prevalent in diabetes patients. Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, is responsible for metabolizing the glucose molecules in the body.

Diabetes patients have impaired insulin functions. It could either be due to a lack of required insulin production (type-1) or when the secreted insulin isn’t getting absorbed into the cells (type-2).

These conditions contribute to high blood glucose levels, otherwise known as hyperglycemia.

Persistently high blood glucose levels in a diabetes patient often lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) complications, which can be fatal and put the patient at risk of coma.

What is considered Hyperglycemia?

A healthy adult's normal blood glucose levels are between 90-110 mg/dL before a meal.

However, the symptoms of hyperglycemia do not hit the patient until the blood glucose levels surpass 200 mg/dL two hours after consuming a meal.

So, you will have fasting hyperglycemia if your blood glucose levels are persistently in the higher range of over 140 mg/dL after eating.

What are the Symptoms of Hyperglycemia?

Many people believe that the hyperglycemia symptoms hit out of the blue. That isn’t the case. Instead, the symptoms develop over time and get worse gradually. So, you will likely start experiencing early signs of hyperglycemia, which will then take a turn for the much worse symptoms.

The symptoms are more profound in patients who either don’t have diabetes or haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes yet. For better understanding, we will categorize the symptoms into two parts:

Early signs and symptoms

  • Frequent urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Feeling parched or thirsty frequently
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Later signs and symptoms

You are more likely to experience the following symptoms if you don’t get medical attention for the early signs. Some of the more severe symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • The fruity smell in the breath
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle pain and weakness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diabetic coma (in severe cases)

Besides these symptoms, you might have to consider rushing to an emergency if the blood glucose levels remain persistently high, especially with a range above 240 mg/dL.

What are the causes of Hyperglycemia?

Hyperglycemia is generally common in patients with diabetes. In other cases, patients with prediabetes risks are also at risk of developing hyperglycemia. But why does it happen?

Our body is a very complex structure. The physiological functions are relayed and systematic, which means that every step is interconnected. When you consume a meal, the different micro and macronutrients in the food elevate the glucose levels in the body.

The elevated glucose levels in the blood trigger the pancreas to secrete insulin into the bloodstream. The insulin is then responsible for activating the cells to take up excess insulin to produce energy in the body. After that, the excess glucose is stored in the liver and the muscles for future energy needs.

So, what happens during hyperglycemia?

The elevated blood glucose levels are generally either due to a lack of insulin in the blood or due to the impaired functions of the insulin. So, this affected insulin function inhibits the cells from taking up the glucose molecules, leading to an excess in the blood.

Some of the common hyperglycemia causes include:

  • Type-1 diabetes (where there’s a lack of insulin production by the pancreas)
  • Insulin resistance
  • Not taking the optimal dosage of oral medication or insulin injections
  • Eating without any inhibition; not eating a diabetes-friendly diet
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle
  • Suffering from an active infection in the body
  • Taking steroids for certain conditions
  • Undergoing surgery
  • Injury
  • Emotional stress

Although quite difficult to correlate, the hormones released to tackle emotional stress often elevate blood glucose levels. So, if you are stressed and are noticing signs of hyperglycemia, discuss the same with your doctor to get the correct treatment.

What is Dawn Phenomenon?

While we are on the topic of discussing hyperglycemia causes, we had to highlight the dawn phenomenon. It is a leading cause of hyperglycemia.

The condition is usually triggered in the early morning when the levels of epinephrine, glucagon, and cortisol are high in the blood. The combination of these hormones typically triggers the liver to release and break down the glycogen reserves, leading to high blood glucose levels.

If you have diabetes, keep checking on this cause, especially after 8-10 hours after your bedtime.

How is Hyperglycemia Diagnosed?

As we mentioned, the normal blood glucose levels in a healthy are between 80-120 mg/dL before meals and under 140 mg/dL after meals.

An elevated blood glucose level is generally between 180-200 mg/dL and is hyperglycemia. There are a few routine blood tests that can analyze this complication. They are:

Fasting blood glucose test measures the blood glucose levels before a meal.

Post-prandial blood glucose test measures blood glucose levels two hours after a meal.

Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) measures the average blood glucose levels over the past two to three months.

Besides these lab-based blood glucose monitoring tests, your doctor will also prescribe buying a home blood sugar monitoring kit. This comes in handy and provides instant readings from the comfort of your home.

How is Hyperglycemia Treated?

Hyperglycemia could be a sign of prediabetes or diabetes, or it could be due to a momentary complication due to emotional stress or other underlying health complications. So, hyperglycemia treatment generally starts with monitoring over a certain period.

Your doctor wants to assess the causes behind the elevated blood glucose levels before they prescribe medications or come to a formal diagnosis. So, the chances are that you’d be asked to monitor your glucose levels for a day or a few days before the doctor proceeds with a treatment plan.

Some of the common treatment plans following that are:

Get a formal diagnosis

If your blood glucose levels remain persistently high, your doctor will first give you a formal diagnosis of diabetes. They will ascertain the type of diabetes before putting you on diabetes management treatment.

Switch up the diet

Diabetes patients who have a habit of going overboard and not following a diabetes-friendly diet will be asked to make the necessary changes in the diet. This includes cutting out refined, fried foods high in glycemic index. Your doctor will also suggest eating smaller meals with frequent snacking to keep the daily sugar levels normal.

Get into physical activities

If you live a sedentary lifestyle, your doctor will strictly advise including daily exercise and physical activities in your everyday life. Exercise improves the cell’s ability to absorb the secreted or injected insulin in the body, thereby subsequently reducing blood glucose levels.

Take the prescribed medication

Mismanagement of diabetes medications is also a very common reason behind hyperglycemia. Missing out on a dose can lead to elevated blood glucose. Also, improper dosage of the medicine can lead to risks of high blood glucose. So, discuss the same with your doctor to see if they switch the dosage of your medications.

Monitor your blood glucose

If you are experiencing signs of hyperglycemia quite frequently, your doctor will advise monitoring the blood glucose levels once every day until the levels return to normal. This will enable you to record the levels and get immediate medical help if things get worse.

Besides these basic and primary care treatment options for hyperglycemia, there are emergency cases that need immediate treatment, including:

  • Fluid replacement
  • Electrolyte replacement
  • Insulin therapy

Getting the right and timely treatment for hyperglycemia is crucial for recovery. If you take the signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia for granted and don’t get the necessary treatment, it will eventually lead to complications, some even fatal.


  1. What are sudden signs of hyperglycemia?

    Some of the sudden signs of hyperglycemia include thirst, trouble concentrating, headaches, blurred vision, sudden weight loss, etc.

  2. What causes hyperglycemia?

    The causes of hyperglycemia are diverse, but diabetes is the major contributing factor. Besides that, patients with infections, injury, or emotional stress can also experience high blood glucose levels.

  3. What is the first aid for hyperglycemia?

    Severe hyperglycemia is a medical emergency wherein the patient must undergo immediate fluid replacement to lower the blood glucose levels. You will have to rush into the emergency for further help.


Hyperglycemia is a very common consequence of diabetes. However, if you are experiencing the symptoms, don’t take them for granted. Sometimes, getting help during the early stages can avert future complications like a diabetic coma. If you are at risk, monitor the glucose levels at home and discuss the symptoms and possible treatment options with your doctor to regulate the condition.

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