Hyperglycemia, also known as high blood sugar, is when the amount of glucose in the blood exceeds the needed amounts.

At any given point, the body requires only 4 grams of sugar to be circulating throughout the body. That’s about a teaspoon. However, when you eat, the food gets broken down into glucose which is then released into the bloodstream, obviously increasing your glucose levels.

To bring normalcy, the pancreas releases insulin, a hormone that carries excess glucose from the blood into the cells, where it’s used for energy.

However, when there’s low insulin production or when your body cells are less sensitive to insulin, glucose is left to accumulate in the blood, causing hyperglycemia or high blood sugar.

Low insulin production or a lack of insulin production is mainly observed in type 1 diabetes, and for this, one needs to get insulin shots. Otherwise, the common cause of high blood sugar in most people is insulin resistance, a condition whereby your cells are less sensitive to insulin, so they don’t allow insulin to get into the cell.

Also, see Best Foods To Lower And Regulate Blood Sugar, and How To Stop Sugar Cravings?

Hyperglycemia, also known as high blood sugar, is when the amount of glucose in the blood exceeds the needed amounts.

What Are The Effects Of High Blood Sugar On The Body?

Often, high blood sugar has no obvious symptoms, at least not at the initial stages. Research shows that 86 million people in the US have higher-than-normal glucose but are not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes.

That’s why you should always get your blood checked, especially if you are at risk, such as if you are obese, physically inactive, or have high blood pressure. This can help catch it early before complications such as progression to type diabetes, among other complications occur.

Common signs of elevated blood sugar levels include

1. Weight gain and obesity

The pancreas releases insulin to transport excess sugar into the cells when you eat. Any extra sugar is stored in the liver and within the muscles in the form of glycogen to be used later.

However, on a high carbohydrate diet, especially processed carbohydrates, there’s still sugar remaining in the blood even after the cell uptake and storage.

This prompts insulin to perform its other function of fat storage. Since the glucose in the blood can only be maintained at a certain amount, any extra amount is converted into fat and stored throughout the body. Common storage areas include your midsection and internal organs, including the liver

. This can lead to weight gain and obesity, which puts your health at risk of chronic conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver, high cholesterol, stroke, heart attack, and heart disease.

2. Excessive water intake with too much peeing

When there is too much sugar circulating in your blood, the kidneys can’t keep up with the high levels causing some of this sugar to be excreted into the urine, drawing along fluids. This leaves you dehydrated with the feeling of thirst. This causes you to drink more water, and the more you drink, the more you urinate.

3. Unexplained fatigue

If your leading cause of high blood glucose is insulin resistance, glucose can’t get into the cells. This leaves your cells starving and without energy which translates to your feelings. Also, when the blood glucose levels are high, the body tends to lose fluid through urine. This causes the blood to thicken, making it difficult for the heart to pump. And since blood delivers various nutrients into the cells, there might be deficiencies if the situation continues.

4. It may affect your body’s microcirculation

Excess sugar passing from the blood into urine causes filtering effects where fluid is drawn from the body, leaving the blood thicker and stickier. This makes it difficult for the blood to reach the tiny blood vessels supplying the eyes, ears, kidneys, nerves, and heart.

That’s why complications of small blood vessels are common even in people without diabetes.

5. It may affect your vision

Persistent high blood sugar is a danger to your eyes. It can affect the blood vessels in your retina (the inner-most light-sensitive area at the back of the eye that senses light and sends images to the brain). Temporal elevation in blood glucose can cause blurry vision that often improves when your levels drop back to normal. However, prolonged elevation can cause abnormal blood vessels to develop, obstructing your peripheral and central vision. It can also affect the iris (the colored part that surrounds the pupil) of the eye resulting in increased pressure within the eye and glaucoma formation.

6. It may result in poor digestion

Poor digestion has various causes, and too much blood sugar levels could be one of them. This is because high blood sugar in the blood can damage the nerve supplying your stomach muscles, a condition known as gastroparesis. This condition affects your -stomach muscles, preventing proper stomach emptying. It’s often characterized by nausea, a feeling of fullness after little food intake, bloating, and pain. This can further interfere with your nutrient absorption.

1. It can affect your memory

According to one German study, chronic elevation of blood sugar can impair your thinking capacity, interfere with memory and increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly.

Another study found that poor glucose intolerance can impair the structure and function of the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with learning and memory. The study further found that improving glucose levels can improve the hippocampal structure and function, which can promote memory in old age.

How to Promote Glucose Regulation in the Body

There are several ways to ensure your glucose levels are well regulated to prevent complications and improve health. These may include

  • Engaging in regular physical activities
  • Avoiding highly processed foods
  • Regulating your carbohydrate intake
  • Staying hydrated
  • Eating fiber-rich foods
  • In case of diabetes, ensure you’re incorporating with your healthcare provider to ensure proper glucose control.

Final Thoughts

Chronic elevation of blood glucose levels can increase your risk of various health conditions, including obesity, which increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and brain functions. It can also cause kidney damage, impair vision, and interfere with normal gut functions.

A few things you can do to improve your glucose regulation include proper food intake, physical activity, and proper management in case of diabetes.

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