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Diabetic Hyperglycemia


Diabetic hyperglycemia

is a blood glucose (sugar) level that is higher than your healthcare provider recommends. You may not have any signs and symptoms. You may have increased thirst and urinate more often than usual.

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have a seizure.
  • You begin to breathe fast or are short of breath.
  • You become weak and confused.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your blood sugar level is over 240 mg/dl and you have ketones in your urine.
  • Your breath smells fruity.
  • You have nausea and vomiting.
  • You have symptoms of dehydration, such as dark yellow urine, dry mouth and lips, and dry skin.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You continue to have higher blood sugar levels than your healthcare provider recommends.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Why it is important to manage diabetic hyperglycemia:

Over time, hyperglycemia can damage your nerves, blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Damage to arteries may increase your risk for heart attack and stroke. Nerve damage may also lead to other heart, stomach, and nerve problems. If diabetic hyperglycemia is not controlled, it can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state (HHS). These are serious conditions that can become life-threatening.

Manage diabetic hyperglycemia:

  • If you take diabetes medicine or insulin, take it as directed. Missed or wrong doses can cause your blood sugar to go up.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you continue to have trouble managing your blood sugar. He or she may change the type, amount, or timing of your diabetes medicine or insulin. If you do not take diabetes medicine or insulin, you may need to start.
  • Work with your healthcare provider to develop a sick day plan. Illness can cause your blood sugar to rise. A sick day plan helps you control your blood sugar level when you are sick.

Prevent diabetic hyperglycemia:

  • Check your blood sugar levels regularly. Ask your healthcare provider how often to check your blood sugar and what your levels should be.
  • Follow your meal plan. Your blood sugar can go up if you eat a large meal or you eat more carbohydrates than recommended. Work with a dietitian to develop a meal plan that is right for you.
  • Exercise as directed. Exercise can help lower your blood sugar when it is high. It can also keep your blood sugar levels steady over time. Exercise for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Include muscle strengthening activities 2 days each week. Do not sit for longer than 90 minutes at a time. Work with your healthcare provider to create an exercise plan. Children should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
  • Check your ketones before exercise if your blood sugar level is above 240 mg/dl. Do not exercise if you have ketones in your urine because your blood sugar level may rise even more. Ask your healthcare provider how to lower your blood sugar when you have ketones.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or specialist as directed:

Your healthcare provider may refer you to a dietitian or diabetes specialist. He or she can help you manage your blood sugar levels. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.