How To Prevent It
If you work to keep your blood sugar under control — follow your meal plan, exercise program, and medicine schedule — you shouldnât have to worry about hyperglycemia. You can also:
- Know your diet — count the total amounts of carbs in each meal and snack.
- Test your blood sugar regularly.
- Tell your doctor if you have repeated abnormal blood sugar readings.
- Wear medical identification to let people know you have diabetes in case of an emergency.
What Should My Blood Sugar Levels Be
Your blood sugar level changes depending on what you’ve eaten, whether you’ve exercised and other factors but we have some general guidelines to determine what levels are healthy.
For generally healthy individuals who haven’t eaten for eight hours or more, a normal blood sugar level is between 70-99 mg/dL. When you’ve eaten in the past two hours, it should be no higher than 140 mg/dL. To refresh your chemistry knowledge, that unit is milligrams per deciliter and it’s measuring the amount of glucose present in your blood.
Only a medical professional can diagnose diabetes or another issue with your blood sugar, so if you’re concerned about your blood sugar levels, check with a doctor.
Make Physical Activity Part Of Your Daily Routine
Set a goal to be more physically active. Try to work up to 30 minutes or more of physical activity on most days of the week.
Brisk walking and swimming are good ways to move more. If you are not active now, ask your health care team about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you. Learn more about being physically active with diabetes.
Following your meal plan and being more active can help you stay at or get to a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, work with your health care team to create a weight-loss plan that is right for you.
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Blood Sugar Spike Causes
Blood sugar levels fluctuate all day long. When you eat food, particularly foods high in carbohydrates like bread, potatoes, or pasta, your blood sugar will immediately begin to rise.
If your blood sugar is consistently high, you need to talk with a doctor about improving your diabetes management. Blood sugar rises when:
- youre not taking enough insulin
- your insulin isnt lasting as long as you think it is
- youre not taking your oral diabetes medication
- your medication dosage needs to be adjusted
- youre using expired insulin
- youre not following your nutritional plan
- you have an illness or infection
- youre taking certain medications, like steroids
- youre under physical stress, such as an injury or surgery
- youre under emotional stress, such as trouble at work or home, or with money problems
If your blood sugar is usually well managed but youre still experiencing unexplained blood sugar spikes, there might be an acute, or more recent, cause.
Try keeping a record of all the food and drinks you consume. Then check your blood sugar levels according to your doctors recommendations.
Its common to record your blood sugar reading first thing in the morning, before youve eaten, and then again 2 hours after eating.
Even a few days of recorded information can help you and your doctor learn whats causing your blood sugar spikes.
Common reasons for blood sugar spikes include:
How To Check Blood Sugar Without A Meter
Diabetes is a chronic condition where the body either doesnt make enough insulin or doesnt use insulin properly or both. This can lead to a higher than normal blood sugar level.
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to complications, such as:
- heart disease
- nerve damage
For these reasons, its important to monitor your blood sugar if you have diabetes.
Prior to using meters, people with diabetes would monitor their blood sugar by testing their urine. This method, however, wasnt as accurate, nor did it provide real-time results.
If you self-test your blood sugar several times a day using a glucometer, or meter, it requires that you prick your finger to draw blood to test. Due to the discomfort of this method, you might look for a way to monitor your level without this tool.
If finger pricks are very bothersome for you, dont worry theres hope. Advances in blood sugar monitoring technology could mean no more finger pricks in the future.
If you have diabetes, there are several portable devices you can use to check your blood sugar level and not all of them require a finger prick.
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Risk Factors For High Blood Sugar
Doctors do not know exactly what causes diabetes. Some factors may increase the risk, however.
Type 1 diabetes
Researchers believe certain genetic or environmental factors may make people more likely to get type 1 diabetes.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases say certain genes play a role, and other factors such as viruses and infections may have an impact.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation say that there is nothing a person can do to prevent type 1 diabetes. Eating, exercise, or other lifestyle choices will not change the outcome.
Type 1 diabetes usually begins during childhood or early adulthood, but it can happen at any age.
Type 2 diabetes
People who have high blood sugar should discuss their target levels with their doctor.
They may need regular testing to keep these within a healthy range. Each person is different and levels can vary between individuals.
To find out their blood sugar levels, the person may need to fast for 8 hours, 2 hours after a meal, or at both times.
Some people may also take a glucose tolerance test, in which they drink a sugary liquid and have a blood test after.
The American Diabetes Association recommend a pre-meal blood sugar level of 80130 milligrams per deciliter . Around 1 to 2 hours after the beginning of a meal, blood sugar should be less than 180 ml/dL.
Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes
These tend to show up after your glucose has been high for a long time.
- Yeast infections. Both men and women with diabetes can get these. Yeast feeds on glucose, so having plenty around makes it thrive. Infections can grow in any warm, moist fold of skin, including:
- Between fingers and toes
- Under breasts
- In or around sex organs
Hyperglycemia Or High Blood Sugar Is A Condition That Is Becoming Prevalent Among The Young And Old
Society has become affluent, so people prefer expensive, sugary desserts. So the fact that there are more people with the signs of high blood sugar than before is not surprising.
If diabetes and hyperglycemia run in your family, take some time to understand its causes and symptoms. This article will point out the signs of high blood sugar and teach you how to keep it in check.
How Do I Measure Blood Sugar
If you have diabetes, you probably already keep a watchful eye on your blood sugar through the use of a continuous glucose monitor or a blood sugar meter . Blood sugar measurement is also typically included in routine lab work for people without diabetes — your physician will usually order a glycated hemoglobin test, which measures your average blood sugar over the past two to three months.
Say your A1C test comes back with no sign of diabetes — constantly measuring your blood sugar can still be helpful. For instance, some people experiment with using a CGM to see how their body responds to different types of food. However, it’s good to note that this is a fairly cost-intensive way of figuring out your nutrition, and writing down a food diary that includes how you felt after each meal will also help you figure out what to eat.
Check out these blood sugar monitors if you’re looking for recommendations on how to keep track of your levels at home.
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You Have Chronic Headaches
High blood sugar can affect the hormones that play a role in brain function, so a person with it may experience headaches often.
Specifically, the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine make the brain’s blood vessels expand and contract. High blood sugar messes with the normal flow of blood and can make your head hurt until your blood levels are more in equilibrium.
- Read more:
High Blood Sugar: Causes Complications And How To Lower Blood Sugar
Your body breaks down glucose for energy using the insulin produced by the pancreas. This is required for our bodies to function. Illness can have an impact on the way our pancreas functions. Read this to learn how high blood sugar can affect your health.
7 minute read
Your body requires energy to function, and this energy comes from food. Specifically, your body breaks down glucose for energy using the insulin produced by the pancreas.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes cause impairment to this breakdown of sugar in the body, causing blood glucose levels to become irregular. When glucose is not broken down into energy, it can build up in the bloodstream and then becomes a health problem.
Your pancreas produces insulin, which breaks down glucose. With type 1 diabetes, the cells that produce insulin are mistakenly attacked by your immune system. As a result of this autoimmune condition, blood sugar levels can become dangerously high without intervention.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body no longer responds to insulin as well as it should and then also causes glucose to accumulate in the blood.
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Urgent Advice: Call Your Care Team Immediately Or Get Help From Nhs 111 If:
You think you have high blood sugar and:
- you’re feeling sick, being sick or have stomach pain
- you’re breathing more quickly than usual or your heart is beating faster than usual
- you feel drowsy or are struggling to stay awake
- your breath has a fruity smell
- you feel confused or have difficulty concentrating
- you have a high level of ketones in your blood or pee
These could be signs you’re becoming seriously unwell.
You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.
Page last reviewed: 26 May 2022 Next review due: 26 May 2025
Treating And Managing Hyperglycaemia
If your blood sugar level is slightly high for a short time, emergency treatment wont be necessary. But if it continues to rise you may need to act fast to avoid developing diabetic ketoacidosis .
If your blood sugar level is 15 mmol/l or more, you should check your blood or urine for ketones. If ketones are present, it is likely that you do not have enough insulin in your body. This means you may need to increase your dose or give yourself an extra dose. Talk to your diabetes team about how to do this if you are unsure.
You should also try to drink plenty of sugar-free fluids to prevent dehydration. And if you are feeling unwell, especially if you are vomiting, you should follow any sick day rules you have been given and contact your diabetes healthcare team for advice.
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What Causes Hyperglycemia
Your diet may cause you to have high blood sugar levels, particularly if you have diabetes. Carbohydrate-heavy foods such as breads, rice, and pasta can raise your blood sugar. Your body breaks these foods down into sugar molecules during digestion. One of these molecules is glucose, an energy source for your body.
After you eat, glucose is absorbed into your bloodstream. The glucose cant be absorbed without the help of the hormone insulin. If your body is unable to produce enough insulin or is resistant to its effects, glucose can build up in your bloodstream and cause hyperglycemia.
Hyperglycemia can also be triggered by a change in your hormone levels. This commonly happens when youre under a lot of stress or when youre feeling ill.
Hyperglycemia can affect people regardless of whether they have diabetes. You may be at risk of hyperglycemia if you:
- lead a sedentary or inactive lifestyle
- have a chronic or severe illness
- are under emotional distress
- use certain medications, such as steroids
- have had a recent surgery
If you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels may spike if you:
- dont follow your diabetes eating plan
- dont use your insulin correctly
- dont take your medications correctly
How Is Diabetes Treated
Diabetes can be treated in several ways. Diet, physical activity, and careful monitoring are important if you have diabetes, no matter which type of diabetes you have.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to take insulin for the rest of your life. Thats because your pancreas doesnt produce the insulin your body needs.
If you have type 2 diabetes, it may be possible to control your diabetes with lifestyle changes, such as diet, weight loss, and exercise. You may also need to take oral or injectable medications, including insulin or metformin, to manage your blood sugar levels.
If you have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, youll need to carefully track your diet to prevent your blood sugar levels from getting too high. This generally means watching your carbohydrate intake as well as limiting over-processed, low fiber foods, such as:
- sugary sodas
- fruit-flavored yogurt
- flavored coffee drinks
Your doctor will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan to help you control your blood sugar levels.
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Can Diabetes Be Prevented
Type 1 diabetes cant be prevented.
You may be able to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by managing your weight, staying active, and following a healthy diet. However, genetics and other risk factors may increase your risk despite your best efforts.
If you have any risk factors for diabetes, its important to get regular checkups with your doctor or healthcare professional. This will help prevent diabetes from progressing and causing other serious health complications.
Your Fingers And Toes Get Easily Numb
High blood sugar levels can actually change your blood’s consistency, according to Health.com. The excess sugar could cause your blood to be less runny and more of a thick, viscous consistency.
As a result, your extremities might get numb and certain organs may suffer because blood isn’t easily flowing to them.
“You can imagine how hard it can be for thick syrup to get to the tiniest point of small blood vessels places like the eyes, the ears, the nerves, the kidney, the heart,” Joanne Rinker, a certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian in Waynesville, NC, told Health.com.
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High Blood Sugar Levels
If you have diabetes, you can find out if your blood sugar level is high by having a blood sugar test.
You may have regular tests by your care team or GP surgery, or you may have tests you can do at home.
|Type of test||High level|
|Test done by a health professional to check your blood sugar level over the last 2 or 3 months||48 mmol/mol or over|
|Test done by a health professional after not eating for a few hours||Over 7 mmol/L|
|Home test done after waking up or before eating||Over 7 mmol/L|
|Home test done at any other time||Over 11 mmol/L|
What If It Goes Untreated
Hyperglycemia can be a serious problem if you don’t treat it, so it’s important to treat as soon as you detect it. If you fail to treat hyperglycemia, a condition called ketoacidosis could occur. Ketoacidosis develops when your body doesn’t have enough insulin. Without insulin, your body can’t use glucose for fuel, so your body breaks down fats to use for energy.
When your body breaks down fats, waste products called ketones are produced. Your body cannot tolerate large amounts of ketones and will try to get rid of them through the urine. Unfortunately, the body cannot release all the ketones and they build up in your blood, which can lead to ketoacidosis.
Ketoacidosis is life-threatening and needs immediate treatment. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
Talk to your doctor about how to handle this condition.
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You’re Starting To Have Vision Problems
One of the early symptoms of high blood sugar is that you might start having issues with your eyesight, including blurred vision. This often happens when the membranes in the eye become dry and itchy, which can be caused by a high blood glucose level within the body. These membranes are moist, but the itching and irritation will occur if they get too dried out, making it difficult to see clearly.
People who have diabetes also tend to have a higher risk for glaucoma, so these problems could lead to blindness over time if left untreated because this disease affects how fluid moves through your eye, leading to loss of sight eventually.
Signs Of High Blood Sugar
Someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes will be familiar with how it feels to have hyperglycemia. But for the millions of people who have diabetes or prediabetes and are unaware of it, knowing the signs of high blood sugar could prompt them to seek care and get a diagnosis as soon as possible.
While type 1 diabetes symptoms can come on suddenly and severely, its important to note that type 2 diabetes symptoms can creep up gradually and be so mild that theyre not noticeable, the NIDDK explains. And most people with prediabetes actually have no symptoms, per the NIDDK. So its extremely important to get screened if you have risk factors, like having a family history, being overweight, or being over age 45, the NIDDK says.
Still, there are many potential signs of high blood sugar in the short and long term that it doesnt hurt to be conscious of, especially if you are at elevated risk.
Early on, hyperglycemia can make you feel off in a variety of ways:
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