How Does Diabetes Develop? Complications of Hyperglycemia

By Prev Info - February 11, 2022

How Does Diabetes Develop?

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a major health condition which interferes with the body's ability to control insulin. According to the Centers for Disease Control, millions of Americans have diabetes and over one million new people are diagnosed each year. Another 6 million people are walking around, unaware that they even have the disease. Diabetes brings many complications with it such as stroke, heart attack or even blindness. In some cases diabetes is hereditary, while in other cases diabetes develops because of poor choices over a period of time. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is a juvenile condition and type two is an adult condition, which typically comes about later on in life. However, as more children are obese, pre-teens and teenagers are developing type 2 diabetes.


When a person spends years eating high fat, high sugar and highly refined junk foods the body begins to change over time. These foods can cause a person to become obese because eating a diet like this is addicting. The cycle continues and weight comes on especially around the mid-section of a person's torso. Fat located in mid-section is the most dangerous place to carry fat, because it causes serious metabolic changes in the body the longer it stays there.

Over time a bad diet will start to destroy the body internally, because it damages and overworks the pancreas. The pancreas produces insulin and other digestive enzymes which are needed by the body. Insulin is a hormone which helps to convert the food we eat into raw energy. After years of abuse the body is unable to produce insulin in the correct amounts, and the body begins to store even more fat. The extra body fat especially around the middle brings about insulin resistance. The end result is diabetes. Some people may develop diabetes sooner than others. If diabetes is not controlled with medication, the condition will destroy every organ within the body in a very short period of time eventually resulting in death.

Some common warning signals are excessive thirst, frequent urination, slow healing, constant fatigue, blurry vision, leg cramps, and impotence. A person needs to drink 8 to 10 glasses of pure water each day, but if you find that you need more, and if you are still thirsty after drinking enough water, go see your doctor. You need to take all of the above warning signals very seriously.


According to Dr. Linda Page, author of "Healthy Healing," "Start with diet improvement, rather than skipping meals, especially if you are already on insulin therapy." Food is fuel to your body. Its not eating that is bad, but rather what you eat that is bad. Focus on giving your body whole foods, such as organic fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Drink plenty of water and avoid fatty, processed, high sugar foods. High fiber foods are essential in preventing diabetes. However, remember to drink plenty of water if you eat a lot of fiber otherwise you may become constipated.

Complications of Hyperglycemia

After an individual eats a meal, the food is broken down into sugar. That sugar travels to the bloodstream. Once in the pancreas, the sugar becomes insulin. A person's body then uses the insulin to move the sugar into the cells. Then the cells convert the sugar into energy. When an individual has diabetes, there's a breakdown in process. The pancreas doesn't not make or recognize the insulin. If the individual has a high amount of sugar in the blood, hyperglycemia occurs. Over time, if untreated or uncontrolled, complications from hyperglycemia can cause damage.


Ketoacidosis happens when hyperglycemia is not treated. This complication is also called diabetic coma, or DKA. Ketoacidosis usually occurs in an individual with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is the disease where the body produces no insulin at all. Symptoms of ketoacidosis such as dry mouth, thirst, high levels of ketones in the urine and blood. If the symptoms are ignored, more symptoms like confusion, vomiting and loss of consciousness and shortness of breath will occur. At that point, the only treatment is to seek immediate medical attention. At the hospital, IV fluids will be administered.

Heart Disease

Although diabetes will increase a person's risk for heart disease, hyperglycemia left untreated can lead with the disease. For instance, uncontrolled blood sugar levels can increase triglycerides and cholesterol which are blood fats. Also, hyperglycemia can increase the risk of blood flow blockage to the tissues. Hyperglycemia can also cause high blood pressure.


Kidney Disease

Normally, the kidneys rid the blood of toxins and waste. However, kidney functions can diminish when the kidney vessels are affected by hyperglycemia. With kidney disease and hyperglycemia the kidneys' blood vessels do not work properly. Therefore, the toxins and waste stays in a person's body. Dialysis or kidney transplant can be treatments for the disease.

What Is the Source of Ketone Bodies in Uncontrolled Diabetes?

Ketones are an acid that is produced when the body burns fat. This happens when the body cannot effectively use the glucose in the blood stream because the pancreas is not producing insulin. In response, the body burns fat.

Causes of Ketones

Ketones are a complication of Diabetes. When the body burns stored fat for energy instead of using the glucose in the blood stream, ketones are produced. This happens most often in Type 1 diabetics that produce no insulin at all, but can be seen in Type 2 diabetics with very low insulin production.

Ketones and the Body

Ketones can be an indication of extremely poor blood glucose control. If left uncorrected, ketones can cause a condition called ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis can lead to diabetic coma or, in extreme cases, death.


Ketones and ketoacidosis are serious medical conditions. Diabetics need to be aware of the warning signs. Some of these symptoms include extreme thirst, fatigue, blood glucose numbers over 250, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fruity odor on the breath and difficulty breathing (deep, short breaths).


Ketones can most easily be detected in the urine. The quickest and easiest way to check for ketones is by using a ketone test strip readily available at any drug store or pharmacy. Testing is as easy as passing the strip through your urine stream and comparing the color to the key that comes with the strips.


Excessively high ketone values need to be treated before you develop ketoacidosis. First, do not exercise if you have high ketones. Burning more fat will complicate the problem. Drink lots of water and continue to check your ketone levels every hour for 3 to 4 hours. If ketones are not reduced within a few hours, call your doctor right away.


Elevated ketone levels are a result of not eating enough, not taking enough insulin or possibly a reaction to the insulin you did take. The best way to prevent a problem with high ketones or ketoacidosis is through strict blood glucose control. If you are having trouble keeping those numbers under control, talk with your doctor for help.

How to Neutralize the Effects of Sugar on the Body

The United States Department of Agriculture estimates the average person consumes approximately 20 teaspoons of sugar each day -- twice as much as the daily recommendation. When your body takes in more sugar than it can use, it causes acidity levels to rise. This can lead to increased hunger or thirst; frequent urination; blurred vision; breathing troubles; exhaustion; upset stomach; and dry, itchy skin. To neutralize the effects of sugar on the body, the balance between acidity and alkalinity must be restored. Have a question?


1 - Drink three to four glasses of water immediately after consuming a sugary food or beverage. This will dilute some of the sugar in your system.

2 - Urinate as soon as possible, to flush the sugar from your body.


3 - Exercise vigorously for half an hour. Jogging, aerobics and other cardiovascular exercises that increase your heart rate will help burn off the sugar in your bloodstream.


4 - Eat foods with a low glycemic index, to help bring down your blood sugar level. A snack of peanuts, cashews, apples or oranges will help lower sugar levels, and balance the acidity and alkalinity in your body.

Tips & Warnings

Excessive sugar intake can also cause diarrhea in some individuals. According to the Mayo Clinic, this typically lasts 2 to 3 days and can be treated with over-the-counter antidiarrheal medication. Drink plenty of water to replace the fluids lost and prevent dehydration.

Sunshine & Diabetes

Recent studies have indicated that diabetes, a chronic disease with complications including cardiovascular disease and neuropathy, can be prevented by getting enough sunshine. Researchers believe vitamin D produced in the body when exposed to sunlight reduces the risk of diabetes.


A review article, published in "Diabetes Educator," by researchers from the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University, found that vitamin D may prevent or delay onset of diabetes and reduce complications for people who have it. The review considered studies of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Another study, led by Dr. Cedric F. Garland, professor of Family and Preventive Medicine in the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, found a relationship between sunlight exposure in different geographical regions and the development of type 1 diabetes.

Influence of Geography

The study by Dr. Garland and fellow researchers, published June 5, 2008 in the online version of "Diabetologia," found lower incidence rates of type 1 diabetes in populations at or near the equator and higher rates at higher latitudes, with scarce available sunshine. The researchers plotted incident rates for 51 regions according to latitude on a graph, producing a parabolic curve that resembled a smile. The scientists accounted for lower per capita health care expenditures in regions located near the equator, which could have resulted in under-reporting of the disease.

Dr. Garland and his fellow researchers concluded that childhood type 1 diabetes may be preventable with vitamin D3 intake and sunlight exposure. 

The issue of sun exposure, too, is a difficult one. Some vitamin D researchers suggest that five to 30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 am and 3 pm at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs or back without sunscreen leads to sufficient vitamin D synthesis, according to the Office of Dietary recommendations fact sheet.


 Dr. Garland indicated that hats and dark glasses are a good idea during sun exposure at any age. Considering the complexity of the issues involved, individuals with concerns about vitamin D deficiency and appropriate measures should probably consult a physician or pediatrician.



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