HomeDiabetesHyperglycemia vs. Hypoglycemia: What's The Difference?

Hyperglycemia vs. Hypoglycemia: What’s The Difference?

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When you dwell with diabetes, you understand that managing your blood sugars inside a good vary might be tough. 

Particularly if you happen to’re struggling to decipher between what hyperglycemia (excessive) and hypoglycemia (low) blood sugars really feel like. 

Much more confusingly, the signs of each circumstances might be very comparable.

So how do you inform the distinction between excessive and low blood sugars? 

This text will describe each hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, their signs, and how one can inform the distinction between the 2 when it issues most. 

Woman in front of laptop holds her head in her hands.Woman in front of laptop holds her head in her hands.

What’s hyperglycemia? 

Hyperglycemia is often known as excessive blood sugar, and that implies that one’s blood glucose is larger than regular. This could occur in folks each with and with out diabetes. 

Regular blood sugar ranges can differ, however the blood sugar ranges in somebody with out diabetes after fasting (no meals for a minimum of 2 hours) is often 99 mg/dL or decrease.

100-125 mg/dL signifies prediabetes, and something over 125 mg/dL whereas fasting signifies diabetes. 

For folks with out diabetes, hyperglycemic episodes are short-lived. 

Nevertheless, folks with diabetes usually have to both train or take a prescribed remedy to deliver their blood sugar ranges down. 

Individuals with diabetes can have blood sugar ranges go extraordinarily excessive, and when this occurs, it could actually flip into diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which may develop into life-threatening if not handled. 

What are the causes of hyperglycemia?

For folks with out diabetes, a blood sugar larger than regular is normally brought on by consuming one thing sugary or from medicines like steroids. 

For folks with diabetes, excessive blood sugar is the direct results of too little or no endogenous insulin (the insulin the pancreas makes) within the bloodstream. 

Having diabetes implies that your default blood sugar will all the time be excessive with out correct medicines to deliver it down. 

Acute hyperglycemic episodes might be brought on by: 

  • Consuming too many grams of sugar or carbohydrates with too little insulin or remedy 
  • Not getting sufficient train 
  • Being sick or affected by an an infection
  • Experiencing insulin resistance
  • Being confused
  • Getting too little sleep
  • Sure medicines
  • Dehydration 

In actual fact, over 42 totally different variables could cause blood sugar modifications in folks with diabetes. 

What are the signs of hyperglycemia? 

The signs of hyperglycemia are the exact same that many individuals expertise upon being identified with diabetes they usually embrace however are usually not restricted to:

  • Excessive thirst 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Frequent urination
  • Fruity-smelling breath
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Bodyache 
  • Blurry imaginative and prescient 
  • In excessive instances, weight reduction 
  • In excessive and extended instances, the shortcoming to heal from infections 
  • In excessive instances, DKA
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When you’re experiencing any of those signs and have current diabetes, verify for ketones instantly and search medical consideration. 

When you’re experiencing any of those signs and haven’t been identified with diabetes, name your physician immediately to be examined for diabetes. 

What’s hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia is often known as low blood sugar. 

This occurs when there may be too little glucose within the bloodstream for the physique to correctly perform. 

This could occur in folks each with and with out diabetes. 

Low blood sugar ranges can differ. Nevertheless, something decrease than 70 mg/dL is taken into account low in folks each with and with out diabetes. 

People who find themselves experiencing low blood sugar would require any type of glucose (sugar) to deliver their blood sugars again into a traditional vary. 

For a low blood sugar stage that’s not extreme, consuming between 15-20 grams of carbohydrates will deliver somebody again into a traditional vary, however that varies by individual. 

Test together with your physician if you happen to’re not sure of what number of carbohydrates you’ll require to deal with a typical low blood sugar stage. 

It’s extra widespread to expertise extreme low blood sugar if you happen to take exogenous insulin(insulin injected or taken through an insulin pump.) 

Your liver will usually dump glucose into the bloodstream to forestall a catastrophic low. 

If somebody with diabetes is experiencing severely low blood sugar and their liver fails to do that, they’ll require an injection of the hormone glucagon (obtainable in a pen or inhaler.) 

This can set off their liver to launch glucose into the bloodstream and might be life-saving. 

Sadly, as many as 25% of individuals with kind 1 diabetes (and plenty of with kind 2 diabetes) have hypo unawareness the place they can not detect their low blood sugars. 

What are the causes of hypoglycemia? 

In folks with out diabetes, hypoglycemia might be the results of fasting, consuming too few carbohydrates, strenuous train, or being on sure medicines. 

In folks with diabetes, hypoglycemia is the results of:

  • Taking an excessive amount of insulin or different diabetes medicines
  • Consuming too few carbohydrates
  • Ingesting alcohol 
  • Adjustments in insulin routine or medicines 
  • Surprising modifications to your schedule 
  • Sizzling and humid climate 
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Even if you happen to’re in a position to detect your low blood sugar stage, it’s necessary to have the ability to acknowledge signs of a low blood sugar stage earlier than it turns into severe. 

What are the signs of hypoglycemia? 

Signs of low blood sugar can differ, but it surely usually consists of:

  • Shakiness
  • Sweating 
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Quick heartbeat 
  • Dizziness
  • Starvation 
  • Nervousness
  • In excessive instances, diabetic coma
  • If excessive instances, loss of life 

How can I inform the distinction between excessive and low blood sugar ranges?

In some instances, the signs of excessive and low blood sugar ranges can mimic one another, particularly if it happens in a single day while you’re not as alert and awake. 

Emotions of confusion and fatigue have an effect on folks when their blood sugar ranges are each excessive and low. 

Nevertheless, feeling torpid and experiencing muscle aches are basic excessive blood sugar signs. 

Feeling jittery and nervous with a speedy heartbeat and sweats are basic low blood sugar signs. 

When you’re having bother deciphering between the 2, sporting a steady glucose monitor (CGM) might be useful, particularly for in a single day blood sugar ranges. 

When you select (or can not) to not put on a CGM, testing your blood sugar incessantly can affirm the signs you’re experiencing. 

Moreover, if you happen to wrestle with hypo unawareness, getting a diabetes alert canine (DAD) that’s skilled to detect each excessive and low blood sugar ranges might help you detect and deal with these episodes earlier than they develop into medical emergencies. 

Many individuals are unable to detect the distinction between low, regular, and excessive blood sugar ranges if their diabetes administration has develop into unfastened, or they don’t have very tight management of their blood sugar ranges. 

By conserving a better watch on blood sugar ranges, and treating larger blood sugars extra aggressively, you’ll begin to really feel the signs of hyperglycemia earlier. 

The identical recommendation applies to low blood sugar ranges.

When you begin treating your hypoglycemic episodes when your blood sugar hits 80 mg/dL as a substitute of 70 mg/dL, chances are you’ll begin to really feel when your blood sugar is nearing 80 mg/dL as a substitute of not experiencing any signs in any respect till your blood sugar stage is at a way more harmful 60 mg/dL. 

Speak together with your physician if you happen to’re involved that you could be not be feeling your highs and lows, and see what suggestions they might have for you. 

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It’s best to forestall each excessive and low blood sugars as a lot as potential. Hold a detailed watch in your blood sugar ranges, and deal with each highs and lows earlier than they develop into problematic. 

Take all of your diabetes medicines as prescribed, and attempt to handle sleep, bodily exercise, weight loss program, and stress in a wholesome manner. 

Hold a meals journal, particularly if you happen to’re having bother with excessive or low blood sugar ranges after meals, and make notes of the way you’re feeling after you eat sure meals or do sure actions. 

Attempt to do what works greatest for you and your diabetes administration. 

Keep consistency in terms of the timing of your train and actions, meals, and medicines. 

Search help from household and pals, and be vocal together with your physician about what’s working (and what’s not) in terms of your diabetes administration. 

Keep in mind, it’s your life, and if one thing isn’t working, you’re all the time allowed (and inspired) to vary it!


Individuals each with and with out diabetes can expertise hyperglycemia (excessive) and hypoglycemia (low) blood sugar ranges. 

Fasting excessive blood sugar ranges for somebody with out diabetes is something over 99 mg/dL and excessive fasting blood sugar ranges for somebody with diabetes is something over 125 mg/dL. 

Low blood sugar ranges for somebody each with and with out diabetes is something below 70 mg/dL. 

There are numerous totally different causes for prime and low blood sugar ranges, however for folks with insulin-dependent diabetes, it’s normally a matter of taking an excessive amount of insulin (low blood sugar) or too little insulin (excessive blood sugar). 

Each ranges might be harmful to 1’s well being, so it’s necessary to note the signs of every and act accordingly.

Signs of excessive blood sugar embrace thirst, frequent urination, muscle aches, and fatigue. 

Whereas signs of low blood sugar embrace shakiness, nervousness, sweating, and fatigue. 

A number of of the signs of high and low blood sugars overlap, so it’s necessary to manually verify your blood sugar ranges usually to verify any signs you’re experiencing. 

Moreover, chances are you’ll discover it useful to make use of a steady glucose monitor (CGM). When you wrestle with hypo unawareness, use a diabetes alert canine (DAD) who can sense excessive and low blood sugar ranges. 

Taking preventive measures to keep away from dangerously excessive and low blood sugar ranges is essential. 

At all times take your medicines as prescribed, carry snacks to deal with low blood sugar, hold to a schedule, and attempt to create a wholesome sleep, stress administration, and train routine. 

Speak together with your physician about any issues you will have about frequent high and low blood sugar ranges and how one can assist deal with and forestall them. 

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