What Causes Blood Sugar to Rise in Non-Diabetics?

High blood sugar or glucose, also called hyperglycemia, occurs when there is too much sugar in the blood. High blood sugar is the primary symptom that underlies diabetes, but it can also occur in people who don’t have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, either because of stress or trauma, or gradually as a result of certain chronic conditions.

It is important to manage high blood sugar, even if you don’t have diabetes, because elevated blood glucose can delay your ability to heal, increase your risk of infections, and cause irreversible damage to your nerves, blood vessels, and organs, such as your eyes and kidneys. Blood vessel damage from high blood sugar also increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Non-Diabetic Hyperglycemia and Prediabetes

You are considered to have impaired glucose tolerance or prediabetes if you have a fasting glucose level between 100–125 mg/dL, and hyperglycemia if your fasting blood glucose level is greater than 125 mg/dL, or greater than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after eating.

The body obtains glucose mainly through carbohydrate consumption, but also through the breakdown of glycogen to glucose—a process called glycogenolysis—or conversion of non-carbohydrate sources to glucose—called gluconeogenesis—that primarily occurs in the liver.

While 50% to 80% of glucose is used by the brain, kidneys, and red blood cells for energy, the remaining supply of glucose is used to produce energy. It is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles, and can be tapped into at a later time for energy or converted into fat tissue.

In healthy people, blood glucose levels are regulated by the hormone insulin to stay at a steady level of 80–100 mg/dL. Insulin maintains steady blood sugar by increasing the uptake and storage of glucose and decreasing inflammatory proteins that raise blood sugar when there is an excess of glucose in the blood.

Certain conditions can increase your blood glucose levels by impairing the ability of insulin to transport glucose out of the bloodstream. When this occurs, you develop hyperglycemia, which puts you at an increased risk of prediabetes, diabetes, and related complications.

Common Causes

Cushing’s Syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome results from excess secretion of the adrenocorticotropic hormone, a hormone produced in the anterior portion of the pituitary gland that causes excess cortisol to be produced and released from the adrenal glands. Pituitary adenomas, or tumors of the pituitary gland, are the cause of Cushing’s syndrome in more than 70% of cases, while prolonged use of corticosteroid medication can also significantly increase the risk.

People with Cushing’s syndrome are at an increased risk of developing impaired glucose tolerance and hyperglycemia as a result of increased levels of cortisol throughout the body. Cortisol is a hormone that counteracts the effects of insulin by blocking the uptake of glucose from the bloodstream, thereby increasing insulin resistance and maintaining high blood sugar levels. Elevated cortisol levels also partially decrease the release of insulin from where it is produced in the pancreas.

Approximately 10% to 30% of people with Cushing’s syndrome will develop impaired glucose tolerance, while 40% to 45% will develop diabetes.

Corticosteroid medication is often prescribed to decrease inflammation throughout the body, but can lead to the development of Cushing’s syndrome and hyperglycemia because it activates specific enzymes that increase the conversion of non-carbohydrate molecules into glucose (gluconeogenesis). Corticosteroids also disrupt pancreatic cell function by inhibiting cell signaling pathways involved in the release of insulin from the pancreas.

Read other causes at https://www.verywellhealth.com/causes-blood-sugar-rise-in-non-diabetics-5120349

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