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Hyperglycemia

Higher than normal amount of glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood. Hyperglycemia can be a sign of diabetes or other conditions. Also called high blood sugar.

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(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Controlling High Blood Sugar

You can manage the effects of diabetes on your health by controlling your blood sugar. Controlling your blood sugar means making sure your blood sugar level does not get too high.

Serious health problems caused by high blood sugar (a condition called "hyperglycemia," pronounced hi-per-gli-SEE-me-ah) include:

Treatment can help lower your high blood sugar. If your blood sugar gets too low (a condition called "hypoglycemia," pronounced hi-po-gli-SEE-me-ah), you may become dizzy, weak, or black out (lose consciousness). If not treated right away, hypoglycemia can even lead to death. It is important to monitor your blood sugar so it does not get too low. Some people with diabetes may drink orange juice or eat candy if their blood sugar gets too low. It is important to discuss hypoglycemia with your doctor.

If you are a woman with diabetes, becoming pregnant can make it harder to control your blood sugar level. Controlling your blood sugar during pregnancy is important to keep you and your baby healthy... Read more about Hyperglycemia

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Interventions for prevention of neonatal hyperglycemia in very low birth weight infants

Blood sugar levels higher than usually seen in full term infants are frequently seen in babies born very early (before 32 weeks gestation) or with very low birth weight (< 1500 grams) and who are fed totally or partially by vein. Several types of adverse outcomes have been associated with high blood sugar levels including increased risks for death, infections, vision problems, and bleeding into the brain. It is not known if prevention of high blood sugar levels improves those complications and, if so, which intervention is best. Possible options include restriction of the amount of sugar delivered by vein to nourish the baby or administration of insulin. Trials which compared lower with higher amounts of sugar delivered by vein were too small to determine effects on the health outcomes of the babies. Insulin was found to reduce the number of babies who developed high blood sugar levels, but the health outcomes of the babies were not improved. In fact, insulin infusion was associated with an increased risk of death before 28 days of age.

Interventions for treatment of neonatal hyperglycemia in very low birth weight infants

Higher‐than‐normal blood sugar levels are frequently seen in babies born very early (before 32 weeks gestation) or with very low birth weight (< 1500 grams) and who are fed totally or partially by vein. Several types of adverse outcomes have been associated with high blood sugar levels, including increased risks for death, infections, eye problems, and bleeding into the brain. It is not known if treatment to lower the baby's blood sugar helps to prevent those complications and, if so, which treatment is best. These treatment options include decreasing the amount of sugar delivered by vein to nourish the baby or administration of insulin. This review of trials found no evidence of significant effects of these treatments on the risks of death or major complications. However, the studies reviewed were very small. There is a need for larger trials to answer these questions.

Management of Inpatient Hyperglycemia: A Systematic Review [Internet]

Hyperglycemia is a common finding in hospitalized patients and has been associated with worsened outcomes in a variety of inpatient subpopulations. The use of insulin to control blood glucose has been advocated as a way to improve health outcomes in hospitalized patients with hyperglycemia, but the evidence for the efficacy of this approach and the thresholds for initiating insulin management are unclear. The key questions were: 1. Does strict blood glucose control compared to less strict blood glucose control improve final health outcomes in the following patients: patients in the medical intensive care unit, patients in the surgical intensive care unit, acute myocardial infarction patients, acute stroke patients, post coronary artery bypass graft patients, general surgical ward patients, general medicine ward patients. 2. What are the harms of strict blood glucose control in the above subpopulations? What are the most effective and safest means of normalizing blood glucose in the above subpopulations?

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Summaries for consumers

Interventions for prevention of neonatal hyperglycemia in very low birth weight infants

Blood sugar levels higher than usually seen in full term infants are frequently seen in babies born very early (before 32 weeks gestation) or with very low birth weight (< 1500 grams) and who are fed totally or partially by vein. Several types of adverse outcomes have been associated with high blood sugar levels including increased risks for death, infections, vision problems, and bleeding into the brain. It is not known if prevention of high blood sugar levels improves those complications and, if so, which intervention is best. Possible options include restriction of the amount of sugar delivered by vein to nourish the baby or administration of insulin. Trials which compared lower with higher amounts of sugar delivered by vein were too small to determine effects on the health outcomes of the babies. Insulin was found to reduce the number of babies who developed high blood sugar levels, but the health outcomes of the babies were not improved. In fact, insulin infusion was associated with an increased risk of death before 28 days of age.

Interventions for treatment of neonatal hyperglycemia in very low birth weight infants

Higher‐than‐normal blood sugar levels are frequently seen in babies born very early (before 32 weeks gestation) or with very low birth weight (< 1500 grams) and who are fed totally or partially by vein. Several types of adverse outcomes have been associated with high blood sugar levels, including increased risks for death, infections, eye problems, and bleeding into the brain. It is not known if treatment to lower the baby's blood sugar helps to prevent those complications and, if so, which treatment is best. These treatment options include decreasing the amount of sugar delivered by vein to nourish the baby or administration of insulin. This review of trials found no evidence of significant effects of these treatments on the risks of death or major complications. However, the studies reviewed were very small. There is a need for larger trials to answer these questions.

Hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia in type 1 diabetes

Hyperglycemia can occur when blood sugar levels are too high. People develop hyperglycemia if their diabetes is not treated properly. Hypoglycemia sets in when blood sugar levels are too low. This is usually a side effect of treatment with blood-sugar-lowering medication.Diabetes is a metabolic disease with far-reaching health effects. In type 1 diabetes, the body only produces very little insulin, or none at all. In type 2 diabetes, not enough insulin is released into the bloodstream, or the insulin cannot be used properly.We need insulin to live. Without it, sugar (glucose) builds up in the blood because it cannot be taken out and used by the body. Very high blood sugar, known as hyperglycemia, leads to a number of symptoms. If blood sugar levels are too low, it is called hypoglycemia.

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Terms to know

Blood Glucose
The main sugar found in the blood and the body's main source of energy. Also called blood sugar.
Diabetes Mellitus (Diabetes)
A disease in which the body does not control the amount of glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood and the kidneys make a large amount of urine. This disease occurs when the body does not make enough insulin or does not use it the way it should.
Glucagon
A hormone produced by the pancreas that increases the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
Insulin
A hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. The beta cells of the pancreas make insulin. When the body cannot make enough insulin, insulin is taken by injection or other means.

More about Hyperglycemia

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Also called: Hyperglycaemia, High blood glucose, High blood sugar, Elevated blood glucose

See Also: Hypoglycemia, Blood Glucose Monitoring

Other terms to know: See all 4
Blood Glucose, Diabetes Mellitus (Diabetes), Glucagon

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