Difference Between Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia

Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia are associated with blood sugar level. Hypoglycemia is a drop and hyperglycemia is a rise of blood sugar level. Excessive insulin causes hypoglycemia while lack of it causes hyperglycemia.

What is Hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia is a drop in serum glucose level. This may occur after prolonged fasting, insulin overdose and sulfonamide overdose. Biochemically hypoglycemia is defined as serum glucose level less than 50 milligrams per deciliter. Hypoglycemia features lethargy, lack of energy, generalized body weakness, yawning, blurred vision, dizziness, vertigo and ringing in ears. Severe drop of blood sugar may also cause hallucinations and may permanently damage the brain. Diabetic patients taking insulin are no strangers to hypoglycemic symptoms.

Treatment: when these symptoms occur, taking a sweet drink or eating food relieves symptoms. Severe drop of blood sugar needs hospitalization and administration of intravenous preparations of glucose. Regular blood sugar measurements are, therefore, important in diabetics. A glucometer, which uses capillary blood (finger prick) to assess blood sugar level, is an essential household piece of equipment for diabetics. High risk jobs like driving, heavy machine operating, flying aircrafts, diving and swimming may need to be changed if there is a rapidly fluctuating blood sugar level, because of probable risk to life.

What is Hyperglycemia?

Hyperglycemia is a rise in blood sugar. Biochemically it is defined as random blood glucose level above 200 milligrams per deciliter. Diabetes is the commonest cause for elevated blood sugar. A blood sugar level above 120 milligrams per deciliter after 12 hours of fasting and a blood sugar level above 200 milligrams per deciliter are associated with diabetes. Diabetes causes excessive thirst, hunger and frequent urination. Even though the blood sugar is high enough, it does not enter the cells and, therefore, brain signals hunger to get more food. Glucose gets filtered by the kidneys. Frequent urination removes a lot of water from the system giving rise to dehydration and thirst.

Treatment: blood sugar can be lowered by drugs such as metformin, sulfonamides, gliclazide, glipizide, glimepiride and acarbose, as well as insulin. Insulin is the hormone that controls blood sugar in the body. Pancreas secretes insulin from its beta cells in response to blood sugar level. Extremely high blood sugar level may give rise to diabetic ketoacidosis. It occurs in a known diabetic patient. There is elevated blood sugar level and ketone body level. Loss of consciousness, hallucinations, and acetone smelling breath suggests its presence. Immediate hospitalization is needed for rapid reduction of blood sugar by insulin injections, intravenous fluid replacement to cover for the loss and management of acidosis.

What is the difference between Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia?

• Hypoglycemia is a drop and hyperglycemia is a rise of blood sugar level.

• Excessive insulin causes hypoglycemia while lack of it causes hyperglycemia.

• Hypoglycemia requires glucose as treatment while hyperglycemia needs sugar lowering drugs.

• Both can be damaging to the brain at extreme levels.