First Aid for Hyperglycemia

9 January 2013, Comments: 0

Hyperglycemia refers to a condition that results in high blood glucose levels. It usually occurs in undiagnosed diabetics or diabetics who have not taken their insulin or any other medication to drop glucose levels. This can also be caused by having a heavy meal containing more carbohydrates than the administered amount of insulin can handle.

Hyperglycemia is opposite to the condition called, hypoglycemia that results from low blood glucose levels. When your blood glucose levels are drastically lowered down, the body relies on a backup system i.e. burning fats for energy. However, the brain only utilizes glucose as a fuel of energy as it cannot burn fat, thus making the person experience dizziness and confusion.

Hyperglycemia on the other hand occurs due to high glucose level, which is often caused due to insufficient insulin produced by the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone responsible for breaking down carbohydrates. Without insulin, carbohydrates cannot be broken down into soluble form that the cells can absorb to generate energy. Therefore, in this case also, fats are burnt down.

A diabetic has to take insulin medications to be able to break down carbohydrates. Thus, skipping doses may lead to the symptoms of hyperglycemia. Other causes of hyperglycemia include infections, diseases, stress and reduced physical activity.

Symptoms

  • Lethargy
  • Increased thirst as the body is trying to drain out sugar from the system
  • Frequent urination
  • Dry skin
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Deep yet fatigued breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Weight loss
  • Skin and breath smell like acetone

Treatment

  • Drink plenty of water as it helps prevent dehydration and flush out excess sugar from your system.
  • You should exercise regularly to maintain sugar levels and prevent it from rising.
  • Consult your doctor about the medications, changes in diet and timing of the medication you should be acquiring. Do not take any medication or make any changes to your diet or lifestyle without consulting your doctor.
  • A frequently asked question is whether it is wise to give sugar to a diabetic patient suffering from hyperglycemia. The answer is no, because it will not make any difference. The body is already suffering from high blood glucose levels, however, adding more sugar to the condition will not make it worse because the body cannot utilize it anyway due to the lack of insulin in the system. The body will continue burning fats as its main fuel of energy; therefore, adding more sugar will not remedy a hyperglycemic patient, but will not worsen his condition either.

Learn more about Diabetic Emergencies

workplace approved training courses teach participants to recognize and manage victims of diabetic emergencies. The following courses teach candidates about diabetic emergencies

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