Nondiabetic Hyperglycemia: A Detailed Guide

Gunjan Sooden

November 18, 2022

Nondiabetic hyperglycemia refers to a high blood sugar level despite the absence of diabetes. During a severe sickness or injury, hyperglycemia can strike suddenly.

A chronic condition may be the root cause of hyperglycemia and cause it to last longer. Hyperglycemia can make it more difficult to control your health, raise infection risk, and hamper healing. To avoid these issues, one must take care to treat them. 

Hyperglycemia can harm the nerves, blood vessels, tissues, and organs if untreated. For example, heart attack and stroke risk can increase if your arteries are damaged. Other heart, stomach, and nerve issues could also result from nerve damage.

You can manage blood sugar levels by eating a healthy, balanced diet that emphasises foods high in proteins, fats, and fibre while avoiding meals high in sugar and processed or refined carbs.

While there is no particular diet for hyperglycemia, it is essential to consume a diet that does not raise the blood sugar levels in the body to harmful levels. 

One way to know what is right is to go for CGM-enabled BIOS, a wearable device, and a HealthifyPro2.0 feature that allows you to monitor blood sugar levels when you have hyperglycemia.

The device monitors food and how it affects blood glucose levels. The device transmits the user’s blood glucose levels in real time, and the backend also sends the information to the HealthifyMe coach.

The dual intervention of a coach’s and AI-enabled advice helps you control hyperglycemia by understanding the correct dietary interventions interspersed with activities like a quick walk after a meal. Like all other ailments, long-term healthy habits can reverse or arrest the condition.

Therefore, a holistic approach like HealthifyPro 2.0 helps you to understand your metabolic health and its simple relationship with lifestyle and dietary habits. In addition, the continuous monitoring of blood glucose levels teaches one to imbibe healthier habits. A study says that a CGM plays an essential role in health benefits and self-optimisations. 

Causes of High Blood Sugar in Non-diabetics

Cushing’s Syndrome

The anterior (back) region of the pituitary gland produces the adrenocorticotropic hormone, which causes Cushing’s syndrome when secreted in excess.

This disorder stimulates the adrenal glands to create and release too much cortisol. According to studies, corticosteroid medicine used for longer can also significantly raise the risk.

Due to elevated cortisol levels in the body, people with Cushing’s syndrome have a higher risk of having reduced glucose tolerance and hyperglycemia.

Cortisol reverses insulin’s effects by preventing the body from absorbing glucose from the bloodstream. As a result, insulin resistance builds up, and blood sugar levels stay high. Increased cortisol levels also inhibit insulin’s ability to release from the pancreas, where it gets secreted.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

PCOS is a condition that results in irregular, frequently longer menstrual cycles. It is a typical endocrine condition in females of reproductive age. Hormonal irregularities in PCOS-affected women include elevated insulin, testosterone and inflammatory protein levels.

According to research, women with PCOS have insulin resistance despite having higher insulin levels. Also, their insulin hormones are inadequate for absorbing glucose or using it as fuel.

As a result, women with PCOS cannot effectively bind insulin with their insulin receptors. Because insulin transports glucose, extra glucose builds up in the bloodstream and causes hyperglycemia.


As per studies, physical stress to the body, such as trauma, wounds, and other stressful events, can result in elevated blood sugar. Also, this happens by changing how glucose is processed. When the body is exposed to physical stressors that increase sympathetic nervous system activity, the body’s fight-or-flight response, stress-induced hyperglycemia takes place.

This interferes with insulin’s ability to remove extra glucose from the bloodstream by causing the release of hormones and cytokines. These cytokines and hormones, such as epinephrine, boost glucose production by converting non-carbohydrate sources into glucose and breaking glycogen reserves into glucose (glycogenolysis) (gluconeogenesis).

High blood sugar gets further enhanced by higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. As a result, cortisol blocks insulin’s ability to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.

Surgery and Stress

Changes in glucose metabolism brought on by physical stress on the body often occur after surgery.  Increases in cytokines and hormones happen due to surgery, a regulated type of stress to the body, which promotes glucose production in the liver and inhibits insulin’s ability to remove extra glucose from the blood.

Post-surgery, up to 30% of patients may experience stress-induced hyperglycemia, which causes blood sugar levels to remain high for several days after being discharged from the hospital.

According to research, elevated blood sugar levels post-surgery significantly impact general health, raising the risk of developing diabetes and other dangerous illnesses.

Medication Side Effects

According to research, certain medicines, including corticosteroids, immunosuppressants like tacrolimus and cyclosporine, catecholamine vasopressors such as dopamine and norepinephrine, and corticosteroids, can raise blood sugar levels. It occurs by stimulating the enzymes and interfering with insulin’s ability to produce and absorb glucose from the blood.

Given that the nutritional fluid has a sugar solution to restore electrolyte balance, hospitalised patients getting nutrition through an IV can also be at an elevated risk of developing hyperglycemia.

To avoid further blood sugar rises, this fluid’s concentration needs to get closely controlled in unwell individuals recovering from surgery or suffering from an injury.

Diet and Hyperglycemia

Diet significantly influences the emergence of high blood sugar. For example, overeating foods high in sugar and carbohydrates cause blood sugar levels to rise after meals because the food breaks down into glucose molecules that go inside the bloodstream. 

Higher blood glucose levels in a healthy person cause the pancreas to release insulin. This helps to remove glucose from the blood and transport it to the muscles and liver for use as an energy source and storage. Conversely, the messages to the pancreas to produce more insulin cease when blood sugar levels drop and blood sugar levels stabilise at their baseline value. 

You must understand that eliminating all carbohydrates or avoiding sugary foods will not prevent blood sugar spikes. After all, whole and healthy meals like fruits and vegetables also have carbohydrates and sugar. The value of carbohydrates varies depending on their complexity, and blood sugar and food sugar are entirely different. 

Nevertheless, one must still be vigilant and try to avoid the following

Food items to prevent blood sugar spikes:

  • White bread, pasta, and rice
  • Processed and packaged snacks, such as chips, cookies, and candy
  • Soda or juice
  • Foods containing high quantities of saturated fat, such as hot dogs, bacon, and sausage
  • Foods with high amount of trans fats, like margarine and certain packaged baked goods
  • Foods that tend to raise one’s cholesterol, like liver, red meat, and full-fat dairy

One must also actively track their carb intake, especially if you have diabetes, as it is critical to avoid blood sugar spikes. Keeping one’s blood sugar levels consistent and steady is very important.

To maintain a healthy and safe blood sugar level, eating fish twice a week and consuming a diet centred on plant-based fats and fibre-rich foods is good.

Since hyperglycemia can occur for many reasons, one must consult a doctor or dietitian when adopting certain diets. A few of these diets which may help in reducing hyperglycemia but still require supervision and approval by medical professionals are:

  • Mediterranean diet
  • A vegetarian diet (one that allows some animal products, such as milk and eggs)
  • A completely vegan diet (a diet that allows no animal products whatsoever. However, one may especially need to consult their doctor before starting this diet as it can lead to vitamin B12 deficiencies, which one can counter with supplements)

One must try and eat smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large meals. Again BIOS can help you note that eating large meals frequently results in a spike in blood sugar levels. Therefore, one must reduce the portion sizes of their regular meals. It is essential to be particularly wary of meals that are bigger than regular meals. Such meals usually require an increase in the amount of insulin dose. 

The HealthifyMe Note

As far as possible, you must make conscious measures to avoid eating in large portions or overeating. Also, you must note that an excessive intake of nutrients, usually from consuming large meals, during pregnancy often raises the risk of hyperglycemia and fatty liver disease, both in the mother and the child.

Detecting Hyperglycemia

The percentage of glucose in the bloodstream during the post-meal and fasting phase accurately indicates the risk you carry. Therefore test your blood sugar level 1-2 hours after a meal.

Fasting sugar between 100 and 125 mg/dL, postprandial sugar over 180 mg/dL, or random blood sugar above 200 mg/dL indicate that your blood sugar levels are abnormally high and you have hyperglycemia. Therefore, keeping track of your habits and establishing healthy routines is necessary to prevent such problems.

When to See a Healthcare Professional

After an illness or injury, hyperglycemia can strike at any time. Ask for help if you experience any of the following signs.

  • Fever
  • Continuous diarrhoea
  • Prolonged dizziness or vomiting
  • Sour breath
  • Terrible headache
  • Seizure
  • Breathing or speaking problems
  • Weakness 

Fortunately, your elevated blood sugar levels can quickly improve with prompt identification and treatment of such symptoms. Leading a healthy lifestyle that involves a balanced diet and regular exercising is the best way to prevent hyperglycemia and other health problems. However, more research is needed to clarify the long-term effects of hyperglycemia in nondiabetic patients, notably after acute injury. 

Preventing Hyperglycemia

One can make several changes and additions to one’s lifestyle to remain healthy and prevent hyperglycemia.


When your blood sugar is high, exercise can help decrease it. Over time, it may also help to maintain stable blood sugar levels. Therefore, you should work out for at least 30 minutes five days a week.

Create an exercise schedule with the assistance of your healthcare physician. Children should engage in physical exercise for at least 60 minutes each day.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Find out your ideal weight by speaking with your doctor. Since a healthy weight results from a healthy diet, you can reduce your blood sugar levels by maintaining a healthy weight.

However, in case you are overweight, you must seek the assistance of a nutritionist in developing a viable weight-loss strategy. Together, you can decide on realistic targets for weight loss.

Prepare a Meal Plan

A dietitian can help you prepare a meal plan to help you lower your blood sugar level while still keeping your diet healthy and nutritious. The plan’s ultimate goal, however, will still be to minimise the number of carbohydrates you consume. 

Avoid Smoking

Cigarettes and cigars contain nicotine substances that can harm the lungs. They frequently make it more challenging to manage your blood sugar levels.

If you presently smoke and need assistance quitting, ask your healthcare professional for guidance. Nicotine is present even in smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes. Before using these products, contact your healthcare physician.

Limit or Do Not Drink Alcohol

Alcohol can increase your blood sugar level. While it is okay to have an occasional standard drink, the tendency to overindulge and munch on junk food alongside alcohol is generally very high. Such consumption habits can negatively affect overall health and make blood sugar reach dangerous levels.

Therefore, one must always ask their healthcare provider if it is safe for them to drink alcohol. Knowing how much one can consume and at what frequency is also important.  


Repeated and excessive ingestion of sugar and carbohydrates raises blood sugar levels, which prompts the pancreas to produce a lot of insulin in response to the excess glucose in the blood.

In addition, chronically high blood sugar causes the body to become resistant to insulin with time, leaving blood sugar levels high. Therefore, avoid the consumption of food items high in sugar.

By interrupting the liver’s capacity to control the synthesis and secretion of glucose and negatively affecting your body’s reaction to insulin, excessive alcohol consumption can also hurt your blood sugar levels.


Sometimes it’s just hard to prevent hyperglycemia. We have little control over genetic predisposition or traumatic experiences. Still, we can live a healthy lifestyle involving a balanced diet and regularly exercising to combat hyperglycemia and all of its problems.

The signs of hyperglycemia might be challenging to identify and understand, but access to medicines that can help patients is effortless. Therefore, it is crucial to pay attention to how you feel.

Seek emergency medical assistance if you experience an intense headache, experience sudden blurred vision, or notice a change in your eating or drinking habits. There is evidence that problems and adverse outcomes in cases of hyperglycemia can reduce with early diagnosis and treatment.

There are easy ways to keep a tab on your blood sugar level. A key component of managing your diabetes is keeping logbooks and gathering data. It is simpler to examine your blood sugar patterns and determine whether you are on goal or, conversely, why you are not on target when you write down the figure.

For the majority of people, it is challenging and frequently misleading to try to recall many blood sugar readings as well as what was happening continuously with the blood sugar check.

It’s crucial to keep track of your insulin dosage, food and carbohydrate intake, and degree of activity in addition to the blood sugar result. Consult your doctor for ideas on blood sugar monitoring and log books that are personalised for you.

About the Author

Gunjan Sooden graduated from Delhi University with a degree in nutrition and dietetics. She is passionate about helping people understand the value of healthy eating, cooking, and food & nutrition in their fitness journey. Eating healthy, she believes, should not be boring. With experience as an intern in the food sector, she is best at exploring and producing recipes using local, day-to-day ingredients. This generation differs from the previous one. We need to figure out quick ways to make our regular meals healthier and more delicious. Because this is our current way of life, we must balance being busy while still being able to eat healthily, right?

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