Elevated blood sugar: causes, symptoms, consequences
Hyperglycemia – increased glucose in the blood, accompanied by close clinical signs. The intensity and nature of symptoms depends not only on the amount of sugar in the blood plasma, but also from speed of its increase relative to baseline figures.
The level of glucose in the blood, one of the main indicators of carbohydrate metabolism, regulation of which is performed by two mechanisms – Central (neuro-endocrine) and peripheral (cell-tissue). The slightest failure in any link of these two mechanisms can lead to the development of hyperglycemia.
The reasons for the increase in blood sugar
There are two ways of development of hyperglycemia: Executive (business) and regulatory.
Executive development mechanisms (failures directly in the processes of carbohydrate metabolism):
- alimentary hyperglycemia occurs when excessive intake of carbohydrates with food, is transitory (temporary) and permanent (most often seen in bulimia);
- enhanced glycogenolysis is the breakdown of glycogen – a complex carbohydrate formed from excess glucose for storage in the body;
- braking processes convert the excess sugar into glycogen (glycogene);
- increased synthesis of sugars from non-sugar compounds, in particular lipids and glûkogennymi amino acids (increased gluconeogenesis);
- the decreased use of glucose by tissues;
- inhibition of glycolysis – breakdown of glucose;
- the deterioration of the excretion of carbohydrate compounds from the body, particularly in their enhanced reabsorption in the renal tubules or due to insufficient filtration capacity of the membrane in the glomerular apparatus of kidneys.
Regulatory mechanisms of development of hyperglycemia (in case of failures in the nervous system):
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- excitation of the Central nervous system, especially the sympathetic centres;
- the predominance of the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which activates all the body’s processes (including metabolism) of the parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for the internal organs at rest;
- activation of sympathoadrenal system (simultaneous excitation of the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system and secretion of norepinephrine) in stressful situations, traumas and intoxications, which intensifies the processes of glycogenolysis (glycogen breakdown in the liver) and increases glucose consumption by muscle tissue;
- increased production of or increased activity kontrinsuljarnye hormones (observed in various diseases of the endocrine system), whose action on the body the opposite of insulin, i.e. they contribute to increase the level of glucose in the blood;
- inhibition of production or a decrease in chemical activity of the insulin.
Insulin deficiency may be of two types-origin – pancreatic or extrapancreatic. The cause of pancreatic insulin insufficiency be different pathology of the pancreas, affecting insulin production or the chemical structure is:
- trauma and bleeding to the tissues of the body;
- tubercular and syphilitic processes;
- autoimmune failure;
- hypoxic processes in the cells of the islets of Langerhans that occur as a result of spasm or atherosclerosis, which leads to decreased production of insulin and changes in its chemical properties;
- disorders of glucoreceptors – specialized cells that are sensitive to changes in the level of glucose in the blood;
- the deterioration of the insular apparatus of the pancreas due to the fact that he for a long time operated at the limit of their capabilities due to excessive carbohydrate intake;
- hereditary defects in islet apparatus, which reduce the production of insulin.
Diseases and conditions in which there is hyperglycemia
Elevated blood sugar is accompanied by the following diseases:
- endocrine system diseases – diabetes, thyrotoxicosis;
- liver disease (especially hemochromatosis);
- serious infectious processes;
- pathology of the pituitary gland, such as illness, Cushing’s and acromegaly;
- tumors of the medulla or of the adrenal cortex (e.g., pheochromocytoma);
- the development of the adrenal-cortical syndrome;
- the defeat of the diencephalic region of the brain (in tertiary syphilis, tumors, hypertension).
Temporarily elevated blood sugar in the following cases:
- excessive consumption of foods rich in carbohydrates;
- psychological stress;
- acute myocardial infarction;
- an attack of epilepsy;
- traumatic brain injury affecting the hypothalamus;
- injury of the liver;
- sedentary lifestyle and overweight;
- great physical exertion;
Drugs that temporarily cause increased blood sugar:
- thiazide diuretics;
- steroids (drugs) and steroid hormones (glucocorticoids), and adrenaline and thyroidin;
- oral contraceptives;
- psychotropic drugs.
Symptoms of high blood sugar
In addition to the symptoms of the underlying disease, hyperglycemia has its own specific characteristics:
- constant feeling of thirst;
- sensation of dryness in the mouth;
- dryness and itching of the skin and mucous membranes (including genital area and as a consequence, skin diseases and inflammation of mucous membranes, especially vaginal infections);
- polyuria – frequent urination;
- nocturia – night urination;
- weight loss or the opposite – weight gain;
- dizziness, headache;
- visual disturbances and a sharp decline in its severity;
- increase in blood pressure and other problems of the cardiovascular system;
- poor healing of scratches and wounds (delayed regeneration);
- General weakness, chronic fatigue, lethargy, lack of energy and sleepiness;
- the constant feeling of hunger;
- cramps of calf muscles;
- common diseases of an infectious nature.
The long-term effects of hyperglycemia
If a long time in the blood is high levels of glucose begin to suffer all the body systems. But there are target organs, which primarily affects hyperglycemia:
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- Eyes. Long-term glycemia, may lead to retinal detachment, which results in optic nerve atrophy developing glaucoma.
- Kidneys. The main organ that removes excess glucose from the body. Over time, the kidneys cease to do their jobs, violated their filtration ability. From the body begin to excreted with the urine protein, red blood cells and other elements necessary for normal functioning. Developing kidney failure.
- Lower limbs. The deterioration of blood circulation and the condition of the vessel walls leads to dry skin and impaired nutrition of the tissues and deterioration of the skin. The slightest injury very slow to heal. When a persistent and long-lasting increase of sugar over time may develop irreversible gangrene (tissue necrosis).
Hyperglycemia, even transient, is often the first indication that the body has failed. Even if at the moment there is no pathology, you should think about the reasons that influenced the rise in blood sugar, and adjust primarily their diet and regimen.