Can I have elevated blood sugar without having diabetes?

Holly Anderson
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
There's not usually a reason for someone to have elevated blood sugar if they don't have diabetes, says Holly Anderson, Outpatient Diabetes Coordinator at Reston Hospital Center. Watch this video to learn more.
Yes, a number of things can cause high blood sugar but most of the time it is due to having diabetes. But it can also be due to other causes. These include medications such as beta blockers, epinephrine, thiazide diuretics, corticosteroids, niacin, pentamidine, protease inhibitors and some antipsychotics. Illegal drug use of amphetamine can produce high blood sugar. Some of the newer, double action anti-depressants like Zyprexa and Cymbalta can also cause significant high blood sugar.

Another cause of high blood sugar is when the body is in a state of physical stress associated with critical illness like a stroke or heart attack. An active blood infection, known as sepsis, is often seen with blood sugar levels that are high. During these times of stress, the body releases its own hormones that can raise blood sugar. The level that the blood sugar reaches can change from person to person and should not be used as a diagnosis of diabetes. Further testing, such checking blood sugar levels after not eating for 8 hours or checking a special test of red blood cells can show if there really is a diagnosis of diabetes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.