Diabetes and Hyperglycemia: Do They Mean the Same Thing?

Diabetes SugarDiabetes is a certain kind of metabolic disease which is often characterized by the patient having extremely high levels of glucose in his or her blood stream.  This is the result of improper management or insufficient production of insulin due to several physiological factors. Therefore, most people often mistake hyperglycemia (a condition also known as high blood sugar) as synonymous to diabetes since this condition is always present among diabetics. But for purposes of clarification, diabetes and hyperglycemia are actually two distinct conditions, despite being interrelated and interdependent diseases.

It is true that hyperglycemia is one of the most commonly attributed complications of diabetes. However, a person suffering from this condition does not necessarily and automatically mean that he or she is diabetic. One does not need to be a diabetic in order to have high amounts of glucose in the blood stream. This condition actually arises for several reasons, but the most common reason why this occurs is the fact that the person’s cells are not capable of processing blood sugar. Aside from diabetics, high blood sugar also occurs among individuals that have other diseases as well. In fact, what is more interesting to note here is that even healthy individuals may suffer from hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia happens when a person has registered blood sugar levels which are higher than 100 mg / dL. Healthy people can experience this condition after an hour or a few hours after meal time. This condition is known by several names, such as after-meal hyperglycemia, postprandial hyperglycemia, or reactive hyperglycemia. Under this classification of hyperglycemia, the patient’s liver continues to produce glucose or sugar, which is an aberration in terms of the proper liver functioning since glucose production should normally stop immediately after eating. In this case, the liver also stores sugar as glycogen. People who experience postprandial hyperglycemia may have blood sugar levels as high as or even higher than 180 mg / dL.

Another cause of high blood sugar levels among healthy individuals is the condition called “fasting hyperglycemia”. Fasting hyperglycemia is a characterized as a condition wherein the individuals’ glucose levels shoot up as a result of not eating for a minimum of eight hours. People with blood glucose levels of at least 130 mg / dL may be experiencing fasting hyperglycemia.

Hyperglycemia is not limited to people who are suffering from diabetes. Individuals who have other diseases may also be affected by this condition. People who take medications such as beta blockers and steroids can also develop high blood sugar levels. Moreover, those who suffer from bulimia may also have excessive amounts of glucose in their blood streams. Bulimia nervosa, or more commonly called bulimia, is a type of eating disorder common among females which happens when the individual restrains his or her food intake for a long time and then eat excessively afterwards.

In addition to the conditions stated above, people who are also taking corticosteroids – a type of drug used to treat diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis (an autoimmune disease characterized by chronic, inflammatory arthritis) or polymyositis (inflammation of several muscle tissues) – may also develop hyperglycemia.

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