Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) with diabetes

Sep 15, 2017 | Healthy Living

What to know about high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) when living with diabetes:

What is hyperglycemia?

After eating a meal, the body signals the release of insulin. Insulin is like a key that unlocks the cells in order to store glucose for later use. This process reduces the amount of glucose in your blood stream. In people with diabetes, this process does not work as well because either there isn’t enough insulin being produced, or because the body is resistant to the effects of the insulin. As a result, levels of glucose in the blood stream can reach high levels, causing hyperglycemia or high blood sugar.

Scale of normal blood sugar range

  • Hyperglycemia occurs when the blood sugar is above 130 mg/dL while fasting, or greater than 180 mg/dL after eating a meal.
  • American Diabetes Association Glucose Goals for people with Diabetes:
    • Before meals or fasting: 70 to 130 mg/dL
    • 1-2 hours after the start of a meal: Less than 180 mg/dL

Hb A1C
If blood glucose is regularly higher than the “normal” ranges, then this will reflect in the Hemoglobin A1C test that your doctor will run. The Hemoglobin A1C gives your care team an idea of what your blood sugar typically is at.

Symptoms of hyperglycemia

  • High blood sugar
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased Thirst
  • Increased Hunger
  • Blurred Vision
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Poor Wound Healing
  • Dry Mouth
  • Drowsiness

Common Causes of hyperglycemia

  • Too much Food
  • Illness, colds, infections, injuries, surgeries
  • Emotional stress
  • Not enough Diabetes Medication, or skipped doses of medication
  • Too little exercise

How to treat hyperglycemia

  • Check your blood sugar, if it’s at the level where your doctor would suggest you call or get treatment, then do so. You may also want to check for ketones if your doctor suggests this
  • Exercise. However do not exercise if you are feeling ill or dizzy or if your blood sugar is very high

When to call your doctor or seek emergency treatment:

  • If you notice a pattern in your blood sugar readings being high, for example 3 or more days with blood sugars higher than 150, notify your doctor.
  • Seek medical attention right away if you suspect high blood sugars and you are:
    • Drinking or urinating a lot more than usual
    • Having nausea or vomiting
    • Deeply, rapidly breathing
    • Finding ketones in your urine or blood

REMEMBER: DO NOT DRIVE yourself if you think you may have very high blood Sugars or Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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