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What Do Elevated Glucose Levels Mean?

by
author image Toby Pendergrass
Toby Pendergrass began writing and editing in 1998. He has served as editor for numerous custom health publications and physician journals. His work has appeared in publications such as Hospital Corporation of America's "YOU." He enjoys writing about cardiology and cancer care and holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
What Do Elevated Glucose Levels Mean?
Exercise helps maintain healthy glucose levels. Photo Credit Sri Maiava Rusden/Photodisc/Getty Images

Diabetes is a disease that interferes with your body's ability to use glucose, or blood sugar. Glucose serves as the primary energy source for your muscle and tissue cells. Proper management of your glucose levels -- including recognizing the triggers that cause your blood sugar to rise -- are vital to your long-term health.

Food Consumption

An elevated glucose level can indicate that you recently ate, as your blood sugar rises for up to two hours after food consumption and then begins to decrease. Avoid a glucose spike by eating meals at the same time daily, which will keep your blood sugar in a healthy range, reports MayoClinic.com. Carbohydrates, including bread, rice and pastries, affect your glucose levels to a greater degree than fat or protein, so plan your menus with caution.

Hyperglycemia

Over-consumption of food may elevate your blood sugar to dangerous levels, a condition known as hyperglycemia. Symptoms of hyperglycemia include fatigue, frequent urination and constant thirst. Left untreated, the condition can increase your risk for serious health conditions, including diabetic coma.

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Lack of Exercise

Exercise keeps your blood sugar low, as your muscles consume glucose for energy. Staying active also helps your body respond better to insulin medication, while a sedentary lifestyle increases your likelihood of elevated glucose and obesity. Seek your doctor's permission before committing to an exercise plan, and monitor your blood sugar before, during and after any strenuous activity, suggests the American Diabetes Association.

Medications

Follow the guidelines to ensure you are taking the recommended dose of insulin or other medications, as using medications improperly or in the wrong dose can elevates glucose levels. Check the expiration date on your medication, and always ask your doctor or pharmacist if a new medicine may affect your blood sugar.

Illness

When your body generates hormones to help fight sickness, these hormones can elevate your blood sugar levels and reduce the effectiveness of insulin, says MayoClinic.com. Notify your physician if you have nausea and vomiting that prevents you from eating and --- when possible --- stick to the meal plan recommended by your physician to increase your chances of maintaining a healthy blood sugar level.

Stress or Frustration

Glucose levels rise as a part of your body's response to stress, while hormones released to combat the stress weaken the effectiveness of insulin. Proper stress management is essential to those who have diabetes, reports the American Diabetes Association. Consider using relaxation techniques, and avoid situations that are likely to create anxiety. Alert your physician if you feel your stress is unmanageable.

Menstruation

MayoClinic.com indicates that women with diabetes may notice elevated glucose levels in the week before or during a menstrual cycle when hormones fluctuate. Monitor your blood sugar on a monthly basis to determine when elevation occurs related to your period. Your doctor can suggest changes in your medications, exercise and a meal plan to accommodate for the monthly changes.

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