Why high blood sugar in diabetes is dangerous? Causes, symptoms and first aid actions.

Hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar)

Associated with diabetes, high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) is a progressive medical condition that prevents the body from producing or using insulin. Insulin, one of the most important hormones in the body, helps regulate the sugar levels in the body by providing the cells with enough glucose to function properly.

1. Causes

During digestion, the body transforms food carbohydrates like those in pasta, bread, and rice into glucose. When blood glucose levels rise, the pancreas releases insulin to open the cells and allow glucose to enter. This gives the cells the fuel they require to function properly.

Diabetes significantly lessens the physiological effects of insulin.  This might be the case if, like in type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Or, as in type 2 diabetes, if the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin or is unable to produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Because body tissues lack insulin or do not have enough insulin to absorb glucose, glucose has a tendency to build up in the bloodstream.

If hyperglycemia is not treated, it can worsen and cause serious health problems that call for emergency care, including a diabetic coma. Even a mild instance of persistent hyperglycemia can have negative effects on the heart, kidneys, eyes, nerves, and nervous system.

2. Risk Factors

Hyperglycemia can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • using insufficient amounts of insulin or other diabetes medications
  • improper insulin administration or the use of out-of-date insulin
  • not adhering to your diabetes diet plan
  • being inactive
  • suffering from a disease or infection
  • taking specific drugs, like steroids or immunosuppressants
  • having an injury or undergoing surgery
  • feeling emotionally strained because of problems at work or in the family

3. Signs and Symptoms of High blood Sugar with a Diabetic Person

  • dry mouth
  • excessive thirst
  • frequent urination
  • tiredness
  • blurred vision
  • hot, dry skin
  • fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • smell of acetone / fruits on breath
  • confusion
  • loss of consciousness

Usually, symptoms of hyperglycemia don't appear until blood sugar (glucose) levels are elevated, which is at or above 180 to 200 mg/dL, or 10 to 11.1 mmol/L. The signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia appear gradually over days or weeks. The longer blood sugar levels stay high, the more severe symptoms may appear.

4. First Aid Actions for a Responsive Person who has High Blood Sugar

Follow these first-aid action steps if the person is responsive and shows signs of high blood sugar:

  1. Make sure the scene is safe.
  2. Call the local emergency number or ask someone else to do it, especially if:
    1. The person has an ongoing fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, and she can't keep any food or fluids down.
    2. The urine contains ketones (quick test if possible) and blood glucose levels remain above 240 mg/dL (13.3 mmol/L).
  3. If the patient has medication (oral medication or insulin), ask if they need assistance. Only help the patient to administer insulin if they request it.
  4. Encourage the person to drink water
  5. Treat for shock (maintain body temperature).
  6. If the person becomes unresponsive, quickly check for breathing.
  7. If he is unresponsive and breathing normally, roll the person onto his side (recovery position).
  8. If he is unresponsive and is not breathing normally or only gasping, start CPR.
  9. Stay with the person, provide reassurance and monitor their condition until the ambulance arrives and medical professionals take over.

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