Diabetes & Hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar levels)

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Hyperglycaemia literally means too much (hyper-) sugar (-glyc-) in your blood (-aemia). In diabetes this occurs because your body is unable to take sugar out of your blood so if you are diabetic you will need to control the amount of sugar in your blood by managing your dietary intake and (possible) injecting yourself with a hormone called insulin. If you are diabetic then you are unable to produce (or your body no longer responds to) insulin which is a hormone that is usually made and released by your pancreas. If your body detects that the amount of sugar in your blood has increased above normal levels it will usually stimulate your pancreas to secrete insulin into the blood. Insulin binds onto the cells of your body in a way that allows them to absorb some of the sugar from your blood. Your bodies cells will then be able to use this sugar as a form of energy (e.g. your muscle cells) or it will be stored by the cells of your liver. However, if you are diabetic and no insulin is available in your blood (or it is not working properly) then, although there is plenty of sugar in your blood, your body cells will not have access to it. This means that your body cells will continue to send messages to your brain asking for more sugar so more sugar will be released into your blood from your body stores but it will still not be able to be absorbed by your cells. In this way, the amount of sugar in your blood will continue to increase until it is at a very high level that is known as hyperglycaemia. This can cause numerous consequent problems including heart arrhythmia and diabetic coma.  

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