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High blood sugar


Hyperglycemia - self-care; High blood glucose - self-care; Diabetes - high blood sugar

I Would Like to Learn About:

  • Symptoms of High Blood Sugar

    Symptoms of high blood sugar can include:

    • Being very thirsty or having a dry mouth
    • Having blurry vision
    • Having dry skin
    • Feeling weak or tired
    • Needing to urinate a lot, or needing to get up more often than usual at night to urinate

    You may have other, more serious symptoms if your blood sugar becomes very high or remains high for a long time.

  • What to Think About When Your Blood Sugar is High

    High blood sugar can harm you. If your blood sugar is high, you need to know how to bring it down. If you have diabetes, here are some questions to ask yourself when your blood sugar is high:

    • Are you eating right?
    • Are you eating too much?
    • Have you been following your diabetes meal plan?
    • Did you have a meal or a snack with a lot of carbohydrates, starches, or simple sugars?

    Are you taking your diabetes medicines correctly?

    • Has your doctor changed your medicines?
    • If you take insulin, have you been taking the correct dose? Is the insulin expired? Or has it been stored in a hot or cold place?
    • Are you afraid of having low blood sugar? Is that causing you to eat too much or take too little insulin or other diabetes medicine?
    • Have you injected insulin into a scar or overused area? Have you been rotating sites?

    What else has changed?

    • Have you been less active than usual?
    • Do you have a fever, cold, the flu, or another illness?
    • Have you had some stress?
    • Have you been checking your blood sugar regularly?
    • Have you gained weight?
    • Have you started taking any new medicines such as for high blood pressure or other medical problems?
  • Preventing High Blood Sugar

    To prevent high blood sugar, you will need to:

    • Follow your meal plan
    • Stay physically active
    • Take your diabetes medicines as instructed

    You and your doctor will:

    • Set a target goal for your blood sugar levels for different times during the day. This helps you manage your blood sugar.
    • Decide how often you need to check your blood sugar at home.

    If your blood sugar is higher than your goals for 3 days and you DO NOT know why, check your urine for ketones. Then call your provider.


Related Information


American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes-2016: summary of revisions. Diabetes Care. 2016;39 Suppl 1:S4-S5. PMID: 26696680

Pasquel FJ, Umpierrez GE. Hyperglycemic crises. In: Jameson JL, De Groot LJ, de Kretser DM, et al, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 46.



Review Date: 8/7/2016  

Reviewed By: Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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