Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, is the result of either too little insulin or of the body's inefficient use of insulin. Indicators of hyperglycemia include frequent urination, thirst, high levels of sugar in the urine, and high blood sugar. Failure to address hyperglycemia results in dehydration and ketoacidosis. Over the long term, hyperglycemia causes heart disease, foot problems, blindness, kidney disease, and nerve damage.
For diabetics, frequent blood glucose testing and diet management are critical to preventing hyperglycemia. Regular self-monitoring of blood glucose levels determines the degree of adjustment in insulin and diet. A registered dietician can conduct a nutritional assessment that will reveal nutritional needs critical to preventing and treating chronic complications of diabetes. This assessment, based on personal, cultural, and lifestyle preferences, is the foundation for a diabetic's dietary plan. For meal planning, the diabetic exchange system provides a quick method for estimating and maintaining the proper balance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and calories. In the exchange system, foods are categorized into groups, with each group comprised of foods with similar amounts of carbohydrate, protein, fat, and calories. Based on the individual's diabetes treatment plan and goals, any food on the list can be exchanged with another food within the same group.
Exercise improves physical fitness, assists in weight control, and provides psychological benefits. For those with diabetes, physical activity reduces cholesterol levels, lowers blood pressure, decreases body fat, and increases sensitivity to insulin. Exercise further contributes to blood glucose control and reduces the risk factors for diabetes-related complications. With meal planning, exercise has the ability to control type 2 diabetes without medications.
American Diabetes Association (2003). "Hyperglycemia Crises in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus." Diabetes Care 26(4):S109–S117.
Kitabach, Abbas E.; Umpierrez, Guillermo E.; Murphy, Mary Beth; Barrett, Eugene, J.; Kreisberg, R. A.; Malone, J. I.; and Wall, B. M. (2001). "Management of Hyperglycemic Crises in Patients with Diabetes." Diabetes Care 24(1):131–153.
American Diabetes Association. "Hyperglycemia." Available from <http://www.diabetes.org>
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. "Diabetes." Available from <http://www.niddk.nih.gov>
WebMD. "Complications of Diabetes: Hyperglycemia." Available from <http://webmd.com>