What causes hyperglycemia?

As someone who is probably trying to understand what hyperglycemia means, it is important that you know that the suffix ‘-emia’ refers to blood. So when we talk about hyper-gly-cem-ia, we are referring to a condition in which there is an abnormally high level of sugar (glucose) in your blood. This could be caused by numerous factors such as dietary habits and genetic predisposition.

Hyperglycemia can go unnoticed initially, but if left untreated it can cause serious health complications including diabetes mellitus type 2. In this article, I will diving into the nitty-gritty details of what causes hyperglycemia so fasten your seat belts and get ready for the ride.

What Is Blood Sugar?

Before we dive deep into what causes hyperglycemia let us first talk about sugar/glucose: our daily dose of sweet lovin’. Glucose is a simple carbohydrate molecule that provides energy for all cells and organs within your body.

The liver acts like a control freak and helps keep glucose levels constant by releasing stored glucose when necessary or taking up excess glucose whenever there’s too much circulating around at once (thank god!) . Insulin plays an equally significant role; it signals cells to take up circulating glucose present in the bloodstream. It also conversely tells liver cells to stop releasing excessive amounts of stored glycogen.

What Does High Blood Sugar Mean?

High blood sugar occurs because either:

  • Your body does not produce insulin – meaning there’s no signal for body cells on glucose uptake
  • Your body has become insensitive/resistant towards insulin hormone.

When you consume food rich in carbohydrates (bread lovers raise their hands) , digestions breaks them down into simpler components until they form glucose molecules absorbed within intestines moving straight into circulation via hepatic portal vein which leads directly from small intestines to the liver.

What Are the Causes of Hyperglycemia?

1. Consuming Excessive Carbohydrates

Our bodies are basically wired in a way that excessive carbohydrate consumption can often lead to high blood sugar levels – this is because as you already know, carbohydrates break down into glucose molecules which ultimately find their way into your bloodstream (therefore “simple carbs” equal simple sugars) . When there’s more glucose than what cells need for energy, it accumulates in circulation, thereby leading to hyperglycemia.

2. Lack Of Physical Exercise

Those who live sedentary lifestyles typically display higher-than-normal circulating blood sugar levels, and given no physical activity that could call upon muscle cells for energy uptake from circulation, our pancreas keep pumping out more insulin on demand just like an assembly line worker trying to reach his deadline despite multiple obstacles (kudos little guy). This eventually leads one becoming insensitive towards insulin action hence rise in fasting blood glucose concentrations over time with age isn’t a surprise at all!

3. Infection/Chronic Illness

When we fall sick or even suffer through illnesses such as flu and pneumonia (to mention but a few), certain hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline may be released (we don’t know why they do this but I’m sure they have their reasons so let’s not judge them harshly – shall we?) these hormones act against effect of insulin making us resistant towards its actions. During infections treatment periods stress hormone secretion further increase inflammation contributing rise in glycemic load when fighting off viruses such as HIV/AIDS etcetera once again indicating possibility long-term return eventuating diabetes type-2 diagnosis.

4. Medication Side Effects

A number of medications including some steroids utilized by prescribers during treatments of numerous conditions among them allergies or autoimmune illness may result into temporary development hyperglycemia.

It is always important to seek confirmations (since numerous other factors can also elevate sugar concentrations) from your healthcare professional if you do encounter hyperglycemic symptoms so that in case medication side effects are implicated either dose changes or alternative solutions can then be arranged.

5. Surgery

Surgical procedures may trigger an increase in glycemic load as patients have to undergo extreme levels of stress (I know there will be individuals who try doing their own surgery researching on YouTube, please let’s leave surgeries to the pros) triggering hormonal responses including but not limited to cortisol, growth hormone and adrenaline – all hormones which could oppose insulin action leading blood glucose elevatings whilst recovering from surgical wounds.

What Are Symptoms Of Hyperglycemia?

Signs and symptoms characteristic of high blood sugar include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased frequency uination
  • Fatigue/ weakness
  • Blurred vision 
  • Headache
  • Bad breath (yes it sounds weird but it’s actually true!) They say a symptom of bacteria overload in the mouth cause’s bad odor
                  Plus a range of others depending on individual cases


In conclusion, knowing what causes hyperglycemia helps you better understand how you can avoid being one susceptible towards long-term chronic illnesses like diabetes type two. Dietary habits take centre stage since we already know carbohydrates act as significant culprits behind such diagnoses but ensuring adequate physical activity through workouts or exercises is not only great for improving mood but contributes positively when wanting maintain stable blood-sugar loads.

Finally don’t go off changing drug dosages nor overutilize antibiotics believing they may cure your sugars overnight; stay diligent about continued checks and most importantly: reach out to medical professionals whenever experiencing worrisome queries surrounding hyperglycemia.

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