Diabetes Hypos & Hypers
What is hyperglycaemia (hyper)?
Hyperglycaemia, or high blood glucose (sugar), occurs when blood glucose (or sugar) rises above your usually recommended range. Your healthcare professional will help you determine the best target blood glucose range for you to aim for.
High blood glucose can be caused by many things, including:
- Stress, infection or illness
- Over treating a hypo (hypoglycaemia)
- Not taking enough insulin and/or other medications
- Little or no physical activity
- Eating too much of certain foods
High blood glucose can cause serious problems over time and can be a contributor to long-term diabetes complications. Warning signs of high blood glucose include:
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth or skin
- Slow-healing cuts and sores
- Unexplained weight loss
It is important to keep your blood glucose level within your target range. Checking your blood glucose more often and keeping a record may help you avoid hyperglycaemia. The mySugr App can be a useful tool to keep track of your blood glucose levels on your smartphone.
If you want to know more about hyperglycaemia, check out our blog.
What is hypoglycaemia (hypo)?
Hypoglycaemia occurs when your blood glucose levels drop too low, often 3.9 mmol/l1 or below but that can differ from person to person.
Low blood glucose may occur for several reasons. In a person without diabetes, the pancreas will stop producing insulin if the blood glucose level falls below normal. In a person with diabetes, the insulin they inject or pump keeps working, even when the blood glucose level is low.
Low blood glucose may be caused by the following:
- Change to your planned meals- e.g. unexpected delays in restaurants
- Too much exercise or exercising for a long time without eating a snack
- Too much medication or a change in the time you take your medication
- Side effects from other medications
- Alcohol intake, especially without food
The body responds to low blood glucose with warning signs that may be different in each person. Some common symptoms are:
- Feeling shaky
- Lack of concentration
- Blurred vision
- Feeling irritable or confused
- Going pale
Regular monitoring may help you avoid hypoglycaemia, find out more here. It is important to check your blood glucose if you feel any hypo warning symptoms and take action if needed. Some people with diabetes may not feel the signs of hypoglycaemia, which is called ‘hypoglycaemia unawareness’. Speak to your healthcare professional if you think it affects you.
- Ratner, R. E. (2018). Hypoglycemia: New Definitions and Regulatory Implications. DIABETES TECHNOLOGY & THERAPEUTICS. Vol. 20 (2) Available from: DOI: 10.1089/dia.2018.0113