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Hyperglycemia, an abnormally high level of blood sugar, can be associated with a number of causes, including certain medical conditions, medications, stress, diet, and lack of exercise. People who are more at risk for hyperglycemia, such as patients with diabetes, may be warned about the risks and given advice on keeping blood sugar levels low and avoiding common hyperglycemia causes. Generally, people who eat a balanced diet and exercise well should have a relatively low risk of hyperglycemia unless they have underlying and untreated medical conditions.
Medical conditions associated with hyperglycemia include Cushing's disease, diabetes, endocrine conditions, and cystic fibrosis. The body also naturally experiences a rise in blood sugar in response to inflammation and infection, and these can be potential hyperglycemia causes. Post-surgical patients are at risk because of the inflammation caused by surgery and the stress of undergoing surgery, as stress is another potential hyperglycemia cause.
People who eat more than usual can develop high blood sugar as their bodies try to process the food, and a reduction in exercise levels is also linked with hyperglycemia, as the body doesn't use the energy it stores in the form of sugars when people are not exercising enough. Stroke and heart attack are other hyperglycemia causes, as is damage to the pancreas, because they are involved in insulin production and insulin problems are associated with hyperglycemia. In addition, people can sometimes experience hyperglycemia in response to high levels of chronic anxiety.
Medications like some antidepressants, oral contraceptives, steroid medications, beta-blockers, and stimulants are also potential hyperglycemia causes. Medications with known blood sugar risks will typically carry warning labels advising patients about the risks and how to address them. Sometimes, chronic use of certain medications can have the opposite effect, reducing blood sugar in the patient and causing hypoglycemia.
If hyperglycemia is severe, a physician may administer insulin to bring blood sugar levels back down, monitoring the patient for signs of complications in the process. Once the patient is stable and blood sugar levels are more reasonable, an evaluation can be performed to find out why the patient's blood sugar spiked. The treatment for high blood sugar is elimination or control of the underlying hyperglycemia causes in the patient, ranging from changing a patient's diet to providing supportive therapy for patients during and after strokes to help them recover. Failure to treat hyperglycemia can result in complications for the patient, including damage to the organs and the potential to fall into a coma.