If you don’t have diabetes, you don’t need to worry about your blood sugar levels—right? Wrong. While it’s true that your blood sugar levels, or the amount of sugar in your blood, naturally fluctuate throughout the day, there are times when it could be something more than the typical changes.
Normally, your blood sugar will rise after eating and will fall while you’re sleeping, but some may experience more extreme fluctuations known as hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.
Here are some important things you need to know about these common conditions:
Hypoglycemia is a condition that occurs when blood sugar levels are too low. There are actually two different types of hypoglycemia – reactive and nonreactive.
Reactive hypoglycemia occurs within a few hours of eating a meal. This is when the body is producing too much insulin, which breaks down sugar in the body to turn it into energy.
Reactive hypoglycemia may be a warning sign that you are at risk of developing diabetes.
On the other hand, nonreactive hypoglycemia is not food related and may be the result of an underlying illness or disease. Common causes may include certain medications used to treat kidney failure, excessive alcohol consumption, disorders affecting the liver, heart or kidneys, anorexia or other eating disorders, pregnancy and pancreatic tumors. Dumping syndrome, a condition that can develop after stomach surgery, can also cause hypoglycemia.
So, how do you know if you have nondiabetic hypoglycemia? There are several symptoms that serve as good indicators, including:
- Extreme hunger (especially following meals)
- Inability to concentrate
- Blurred vision
- Changes in personality
Sometimes, a person may develop hypoglycemia without displaying any symptoms, a condition known as hypoglycemia unawareness.
Hyperglycemia is a condition that occurs when blood sugar levels are too high. This condition is usually an indicator of severe illness, injury or the onset of diabetes.
Common causes of hyperglycemia include surgery or trauma, polycystic ovarian syndrome, pneumonia, urinary tract infection, certain medicines including steroids or diuretics, and feeding through IV or feeding tube.
So, how do you know if you have nondiabetic hyperglycemia? There are several symptoms to watch for, including:
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
If you are displaying any or all of these symptoms, it is important to seek treatment as hyperglycemia that is not treated can cause severe damage your nerves, blood vessels, tissues and organs.
When should you speak to a doctor?
Because of the overwhelming association of blood sugar issues with diabetes, it can be difficult to diagnose nondiabetic hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. If you have a family history of diabetes, or are displaying one or more of the listed symptoms, speak with an expert at Gwinnett Medical Group Primary Care to rule out any possibilities that you may have a new or worsening condition.