Exercise Induced Hyperglycemia: Symptoms & Treatment

Instructor: Allison Satorski

Allison Satorski has a Masters degree in Public Health with a concentration in health education and assists in teaching both undergraduate and graduate public health courses.

In this lesson exercise-induced hyperglycemia will be discussed. The lesson will go over what exercise-induced hyperglycemia is, what symptoms may be present, and how it is diagnosed. Treatment options will also be discussed.

What is Exercise-Induced Hyperglycemia?

You go out for a run and halfway through you start to feel lightheaded, have blurred vision, and trouble concentrating. There are multiple things that could be wrong, but one likely cause is exercise-induced hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia is the medical term for high blood sugar. Usually symptoms are not present until the blood sugar reaches over 200mg/dl. A normal blood sugar is usually between 70-99mg/dl.

Exercise-induced hyperglycemia is not very common. In fact, it is more common for people to suffer from exercise-induced hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar), since people who participate in long or strenuous exercises can break down too much glycogen, which can cause low blood sugar. On the other hand, exercise-induced hyperglycemia is common in those who have diabetes. If your body does not produce insulin correctly, this can cause glucose to rise, which causes hyperglycemia.

Symptoms

There are many different symptoms associated with hyperglycemia. For exercise-induced hyperglycemia, it is important to note that these symptoms will take place either during a strenuous workout or directly after finishing a workout or exercise. Any of the symptoms that are present during hyperglycemia can happen for exercise-induced hyperglycemia. Some of the main symptoms that may be felt are:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Increased thirst

If the hyperglycemia is severe, it can lead to coma and even death.

Getting a diagnosis

If you believe that you are experiencing symptoms of exercise-induced hyperglycemia, it is important to see your doctor. When seeing your doctor, he or she may ask you to describe the symptoms you may be having, and what activities you may be doing when the symptoms occur. Your doctor may have you get blood drawn, so that he or she may look at your glucose levels, as well as other levels in order to determine what may be causing the exercise-induced hyperglycemia.

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