What is hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)?

The goal of diabetes care is to manage your blood glucose levels so they don’t go too high or too low. A spike in your blood sugar levels in either direction can lead to a serious condition, which would require immediate attention. When blood sugar levels get too high, the condition is called hyperglycemia.


High blood sugar symptoms may include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Headaches
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Urinary ketones


If prolonged, high blood sugar symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Urinary ketones

Symptoms of hyperglycemia may take several days, or even weeks, to develop. Serious complications may result from high blood glucose levels going untreated. Keep in mind, you may experience only one symptom, or multiple signs of high blood sugar, simultaneously.


What are some of the factors that may cause hyperglycemia?

  • Missing insulin or medicine doses
  • Diet
  • Infection, illness or stress
  • Decrease in activity


How is hyperglycemia treated?

Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about hyperglycemia. You may need to make adjustments to your lifestyle, such as diet and activity level, to keep your blood glucose levels from going too high.  

Left untreated, hyperglycemia can lead to a serious condition called ketoacidosis, which requires immediate medical attention. With ketoacidosis, the body isn’t able to use insulin to tap into the energy it needs from glucose. The body then turns to fat cells to get the energy it needs. The by-product of breaking down fat cells is a type of acids, called ketones. A buildup of ketones in your blood stream leads to ketoacidosis. The high levels of acid in the body can then lead to a diabetic coma, and even death.


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