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Hyperglycemia Vs. Hypoglycemia: What’s The Difference?

Medical terms are often alarming, even though the real meaning behind those terms is not that severe. Similar is the case with Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia. These terms are used often by your medical practitioner if you are diagnosed with diabetes.

Some of you might know the terms, and some might be looking for what’s the difference between hyperglycemia vs hypoglycemia.

For those who don’t know about it. Let’s break these terms into two; Hyperglycemia & Hypoglycemia.

In medical terms, Glycemia is used for body glucose. While hyper means high and hypo means low. So, Hyperglycemia means high blood glucose and hypoglycemia means low blood glucose levels.

Now that we have identified the difference between both, let’s have a look into these conditions in detail. In this article, we will brief you through their symptoms, precautions, and treatments.

Hyperglycemia v.s Hypoglycemia symptoms

As these conditions are related to the blood sugar levels in the body, some of the symptoms may seem similar and it can get difficult to differentiate between the two. For example, confusion and headaches occur in both instances. However, some other symptoms might help you to differentiate between the two. Below we have made a table for you to take a quick glance at and see whether you are experiencing hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.

Hyperglycemia SymptomsHypoglycemia Symptoms
ConfusionTrouble concentrating
Blurry visionConfusion
NauseaFast heartbeat
Frequent and excessive urinationIrritability
Dry mouthShaking
Extreme thirstSweating
Shortness of breathHunger

If you are experiencing symptoms from either group, you must immediately see a medical practitioner. In case if you are going through minor hypoglycemia, you wouldn’t want to waste time and start taking precautions, because in severe hypoglycemia cases, people may start experiencing confusion, combativeness, seizures, disorientation, loss of consciousness, and even coma.

Another way to determine hyperglycemia v.s hypoglycemia difference is through seeing why both occur in the first place. Knowing the causes would help you determine what you are experiencing.

Causes of Hyperglycemia v.s Hypoglycemia

The below chart will briefly help you see all the major and most common causes of Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia at a glance.

Hyperglycemia CausesHypoglycemia Causes
Missing insulin dose or other diabetic medicationExcessive dose of insulin compared to the body’s need or taking excessive diabetic medical doses
Taking medications for other conditionOther medical conditions
Lack of physical activityFeeling sick. Especially if nauseous, diarrhea or vomiting
OverstressWorking out too much
Too much consumption of food rich in carbohydratesBad eating habits. Avoiding food especially rich in carbohydrate

If you are experiencing any of these situations along with the symptoms, it’s time for you to give your body some care. In the next part, we will discuss how to prevent both conditions, because prevention is always better than cure.

How to prevent oneself from Hyperglycemia or Hypoglycemia?

Keeping your glucose level in control is very important, otherwise, the situation may get worse and lead to other terminal illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases, bone problems, kidney diseases, nerve damage, infection, etc. If the situation worsens, it may lead to body part amputation and also death.

To keep your glucose level in check, ensure that your glucose levels are under the Time in Range goals.

Time in Range is a term that defines an ideal glucose level, which is between 70 – 180 mg/dL. If your glucose level goes below 70 mg/dL, it would be described as Time Below Range. On the contrary, if it goes above 180mg/dL, it would be identified as Time Above Range.

To ensure your glucose level is in Time in Range, you can either use a sugar level monitoring machine or CGM.

Here are a few tips on preventing Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia.

Preventing Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia may occur even if you are not diabetic. To prevent it from happening, ensure that you don’t skip your meals. Instead, eat five to six times a day to keep your sugar levels TIR. If you actively workout, then make sure that you don’t starve yourself. In case, if you are taking any medication that causes your blood sugar level to get low, keep a watch and check for the symptoms.

If you are diabetic and experiencing symptoms, then it’s important that you talk about it with your doctor and monitor your sugar level on a regular basis. Even after taking your medication regularly, you experience episodes of Hypoglycemia, then ask your medical practitioner to give you fast-acting carbohydrates, for example, glucose pills, which stabilize sugar levels quickly.

Preventing Hyperglycemia

Similar to Hypoglycemia, Hyperglycemia can also occur in individuals without diabetes. To ensure that you don’t experience it, make sure to eat right and healthy. Maintain a healthy weight and start exercising for at least 30 minutes a day. Have a balanced diet and eat your veggies and fruits regularly.

In case if you are diabetic, keep your blood sugar levels on watch at all times. Never miss your medication and get in touch with a professional dietician, who specializes in developing meals for diabetic patients. Moreover, if you plan to start exercising, consult your doctor before jumping on it.

This brings us to the last part of this article, how to treat hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.

Treatment of Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia

The best thing to do is to take precautionary measures, but in case, if you start experiencing symptoms of Hypoglycemia or Hyperglycemia, here are some tips to bring your sugar level back in TIR.

In case of Hyperglycemia: Check if your insulin level is correct. If not then get the right dose. Moreover, never skip your diabetes medication. Keep yourself hydrated at all times and if you feel your sugar level is going high, start any mild exercise for example a walk, etc. Lastly, if your medication is not suiting you, don’t hesitate to talk to your healthcare professional and get it changed.

In case of Hypoglycemia: If it is mild hypoglycemia, take something that is rich in carbohydrates to level up the glucose level. However, if it becomes an emergency, then ensure that you have your hypoglycemia emergency kit with you. For milder hypoglycemia, you can work out the 15-15 rule, which means that you have 15 gms of carbohydrate-rich food and then wait for 15 minutes before checking your sugar level. If you need more, then repeat the process, but if your sugar level stabilizes between 70-180 mg/dL, then stop the process.

In case of an emergency situation, Glucagon can come in handy. Glucagon is a hormone that tells your body to release stored sugar. It can be either injected or inhaled. However, use this only when all the other options go void.

This brings us to conclude our discussion regarding Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia. We hope that all the important information, regarding both, might come in handy for you. Before ending we just want to tell you, stay healthy and your health is your top priority because health is wealth.

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