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Hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar)

Too much glucose (sugar) in your blood is called hyperglycemia or high blood sugar. High blood sugar can lead to a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis. In severe cases, it can lead to coma.

Woman drinking glass of water.Possible Causes of Hyperglycemia

  • Eating too much food, especially carbohydrates

  • Being less active than usual

  • Not taking enough medication

  • Being sick

  • Being under stress

Symptoms of Hyperglycemia

Hyperglycemia may not cause symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they may include:

  • Thirst

  • Frequent need to urinate

  • Feeling tired

  • Nausea

  • Itchy, dry skin

  • Blurry vision

  • Fast breathing

  • Weakness

  • Dizziness

  • Wounds or skin infections that don’t heal

What You Should Do


  • Check your blood sugar.

  • Drink sugar-free, caffeine-free liquids such as water or diet soda. Don’t drink fruit juice.

  • Check your blood sugar again every 4 hours. If you take insulin or diabetes medications, follow your sick-day plan for taking medication. Call your healthcare provider if you are not able to eat.

  • Check your blood or urine for ketones as directed.

  • Call your healthcare provider if your blood sugar and ketones do not return to your target range.

Preventing High Blood Sugar

To help keep your blood sugar from getting too high:

  • Follow your meal plan. Eat only the amount of food on your meal plan.

  • Follow your exercise plan.

  • Take your insulin or diabetes medications as directed by you healthcare team. Also test your blood sugar as directed.

  • Control stress.

  • When you’re ill, follow your sick-day plan.

Other Things to Do

  • Carry a medical ID card or wear a medical alert bracelet. It should say that you have diabetes. It should also say what to do in case you pass out or go into a coma.

  • Make sure family, friends, and coworkers know the signs of high blood sugar. Tell them what to do if your blood sugar gets very high and you can’t help yourself.

  • Talk to your healthcare team about other things you can do to prevent high blood sugar.

 Special note: Drink plenty of sugar-free and caffeine-free liquids when you feel symptoms of hyperglycemia. Call your doctor if you keep having episodes of hyperglycemia.


© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.