WHAT IS HYPERGLYCEMIA?
Hyperglycemia is when there are abnormally high levels of blood sugar. When we eat, our bodies receive glucose. A hormone called insulin then helps the glucose move into the cells to give them energy. Hyperglycemia occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body can’t use the insulin properly. Due to this, hyperglycemia is often a hallmark sign of diabetes (1).
RISK FACTORS FOR HYPERGLYCEMIA
- Family history of diabetes
- Diet high in sugar
- Being inactive
- Having an illness or infection
- Using certain medications, such as steroids
- Being injured or having surgery
- Experiencing emotional stress, such as family conflict or workplace challenges
- Being over age 45
- Being overweight (2,3 )
SYMPTOMS OF HYPERGLYCEMIA
Recognizing the symptoms early can help you treat the condition quickly.
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Blurred vision
- Headache (2)
- Fruity-smelling breath
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Dry mouth
- Abdominal pain (2)
If left untreated, hyperglycemia can lead to ketoacidosis (diabetic coma) (4).
HYPERGLYCEMIA FACTS AND STATISTICS
- In 2015, 84.1 million Americans over the age of 18 had prediabetes, and 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4% of the population, had diabetes. Of the 30.3 million Americans, an estimated 7.2 million were undiagnosed.
- The total cost of diabetes and pre-diabetes in the US in 2017 was $327 billion.
- Healthcare costs 2.3 times more than those without diabetes (5).
MEDICAL TREATMENT OF HYPERGLYCEMIA
Because hyperglycemia usually is caused by diabetes. Most people are treated for diabetes. Listed below are a few medications prescribed for those with diabetes.
- Meglitinides: marketed as Starlix and Prandin. Possible side-effects include weight gain, low blood sugar
- Biguanides/Metformin: Possible side-effects include sickness with alcohol, kidney complications, upset stomach, tiredness or dizziness, metal taste
- Sulfonylureas: marketed as Diabinese, Amaryl, Glucotrol, Micronase, Tolinase, Orinase. Possible side effects include low blood sugar, upset stomach, skin rash or itching, weight gain
- Thiazolidinediones: marketed as Actons, Avandia. Possible side-effects include weight gain, risk of liver disease, anemia risk, swelling of legs or ankles
- Insulin: Possible side-effects include low blood sugar, headaches, rashes, dizziness, anxiety, cough, and dry mouth (6).
NATURAL WAYS TO SUPPORT NORMAL BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
Practices to Support Normal Blood Sugar Levels:
- Change in diet
- Exercise (2,4)
Natural Supplements to Support Normal Blood Sugar Levels:
- Banaba (8)
- Bilberry (9)
- Bitter Melon (10)
- Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus aculeatus) (11,12)
- Cinnamon Extract (Cinnamomum aromaticum) (14)
- Gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre) (15)
- Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) (16)
- Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) (17)
- Hyperglycemia. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/hyperglycemia.html. Accessed July 10, 2018.
- Hyperglycemia in diabetes. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperglycemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20373631. Accessed July 10, 2018.
- At A Glance 2016 Diabetes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/pdf/2016/diabetes-aag.pdf. Accessed July 10, 2018.
- Hyperglycemia (High Blood Glucose). American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/hyperglycemia.html. Accessed July 10, 2018.
- Statistics About Diabetes. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/. Accessed July 10, 2018.
- Side Effects and Interactions of Diabetes Drugs. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/diabetes-drugs-side-effects-interactions#3. Accessed July 10, 2018.
- Konrad T, Vicini P, Kusterer K, et al. Alpha-lipoic acid treatment decreases serum lactate and pyruvate concentrations and improves glucose effectiveness in lean and obese patients with Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 1999;22:280-7
- Judy WV, Hari SP, Stogsdill WW, et al. Antidiabetic activity of a standardized extract (Glucosol) from Lagerstroemia speciosa leaves in Type II diabetics. A dose-dependence study. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003;87:115-7
- Hoggard N, Cruickshank M, Moar KM, Bestwick C, Holst J, Russell W, et al. A single supplement of a standardized bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) extract (36% wet weight anthocyanins) modifies glycaemic response in individuals with type 2 diabetes controlled by diet and lifestyle. J Nutr Sci. 2013 Jul;2(e22):1-9. doi:10.1017/jns.2013.16
- Welihinda J, et al. Effect of Momordica charantia on the glucose tolerance in maturity onset diabetes. J Ethnopharmacol. 1986;17:277-82
- Vanscheidt W, Jost V, Wolna P, et al. Efficacy and safety of a Butcher’s broom preparation (Ruscus aculeatus L. extract) compared to placebo in patients suffering from chronic venous insufficiency. Arzneimittelforschung. 2002;52:243-250. DOI:10.1055/s-0031-1299887
- Archimowicz-Cyrylowska B, Adamek B, Droździk M, Samochowiec L, Wójcicki J. Clinical effect of buckwheat herb, Ruscus extract and troxerutin on retinopathy and lipids in diabetic patients. Phytotherapy Res. 1996;10:659-662.
- Anderson RA, Cheng N, Bryden NA, et al. Elevated intakes of supplemental chromium improve glucose and insulin variables in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes. 1997;46:1786-91
- Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan M, et al. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003;26:3215-8
- Baskaran, K, Ahamath, BK, Shanmugasundaram, KR, and et all. Antidiabetic effect of a leaf extract from Gymnema sylvestre in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients. J Ethnopharm. 1990;30:295-305
- Madar Z, Abel R, Samish S, Arad J. Glucose-lowering effect of fenugreek in non-insulin dependent diabetics. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1988;42:51-4.
- Agrawal P, Rai V, Singh RB. Randomized placebo-controlled, single blind trial of holy basil leaves in patients with noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1996;34:406-9