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Diabetic Hyperglycemia


Diabetic hyperglycemia is a blood glucose (sugar) level that is higher than your diabetes care team provider recommends. You may have increased thirst and urinate more often than usual.


Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) 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 are vomiting.
  • You have symptoms of dehydration, such as dark yellow urine, dry mouth and lips, and dry skin.

Call your care team provider if:

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


  • Medicines , such as insulin and diabetes pills, decrease blood sugar levels.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

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 care team 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 care team 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 care team 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. Physical activity, such as exercise, can help lower your blood sugar when it is high. It can also keep your blood sugar levels steady over time. Be active for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Include muscle strengthening activities 2 days each week. Do not sit for longer than 30 minutes at a time. Work with your care team provider to create an activity 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 care team provider as directed:

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

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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.