Diabetes with High Blood Sugar

You have been treated for high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). This may be because of an infection or other illness. This may also be from eating too many sweets or starches. Or it may be from not taking enough insulin. Or not taking other diabetes medicine as prescribed.

Home care

Check your blood sugar level at least 2 times a day. Write down the results. Do this before breakfast. And do it again before dinner. If you take insulin, also write down your routine insulin dose. Note any other doses you needed based on your sliding scale. Or as advised by your healthcare provider. Do this for the next 3 to 5 days.

High blood sugar may cause symptoms that you can learn to spot. These include:

  • Peeing often

  • Thirst

  • Headache

  • Breath that smells fruity

  • Upset stomach (nausea) or vomiting

  • Belly pain

If you have symptoms of high blood sugar, use a blood test to find out what your blood sugar level is. If it is above your normal range, use the sliding scale regular insulin dose from your healthcare provider. Call your provider for advice if you weren't given a range for your insulin dose. If your blood sugar is over 240 mg/dL, check your pee (urine) for ketones.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. You may need to meet with your provider in the next week. You'll likely look at your blood sugar records together. You may need to change your dose of insulin or other diabetes medicine. You may also be advised to use a continuous glucose monitoring system. This is to help give you and your healthcare team a broader picture of your blood sugar control.

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if these occur:

  • Symptoms of high blood sugar that don't get better with the treatment your provider advised. This is especially true if you also have ketones in your urine.

  • Blood sugar over 300 mg/dL. If you can’t reach your provider, go to a hospital emergency room or urgent care center.

Call 911

Call 911 if you have any of these:

  • Confusion

  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Weakness of an arm, leg, or 1 side of the face

  • Sudden trouble with speech or vision

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