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What To Do When Diabetic Blood Sugar Is High

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How Do I Prevent Hyperglycemia

7 Alarming Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Too High
  • Exercise to help lower blood sugar. Work with your healthcare provider to make a daily activity plan.
  • Follow your meal plan if you have one. Learn how carbohydrates impact your blood sugar, and work with your diabetes care team to find the best meal plan for you.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit drinking alcohol. Alcohol can raise blood sugar levels, but can also cause dangerously low blood sugar levels. Work with your provider to determine how much is safe to drink.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/11/2020.

References

How Do I Check For Ketones

There are two ways to check for ketones:

Steps to check for urine ketones:

  • Gather the supplies
  • Urine ketone strips
  • Small paper cup to pee in
  • Timer or watch with a second hand
  • Unscrew the lid and take 1 strip out of the bottle.
  • Screw the lid back on right away to keep them fresh.
  • Step 8 Do not touch the test end of the strip.
    • Dip the test end of the strip into the cup of fresh urine.
    • Take it out right away.
    • Remove extra urine by drawing it along the rim of the cup.
    • Exactly 15 seconds after dipping it in the urine, compare the ketone strip with the color chart on the bottle of ketone strips.
    • If you have ketones, follow these instructions.

    Ketone strip storage

    • Keep ketone strips at room temperature between 59° and 86° F. Keep them out of direct sunlight.
    • Step 8 After opening the first time, write the date on the bottle.
    • Always put the lid back on right away after opening.
    • Do not keep them in the bathroom because the moisture could ruin the strips.
    • Throw the ketone strips away 6 months after first opening if they are not gone.
    • Do not use them after the expiration date. Call your pharmacy for a refill.

    Steps to check for blood ketones:

    • Gather the supplies:
  • Wash and dry your hands.
  • Take the blood ketone strip out of the foil wrapper.
  • Put a test strip into meter and it will turn on.
  • Use a small needle, called a lancet, to poke your finger. Get a drop of blood on your fingertip.
  • In a few seconds, your blood ketone reading will show on the screen of the meter.
  • 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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    Think About What’s Going On

    Irene Dunbar of Durham, NC woke up one morning to discover that her blood sugar was at 119, which was high for her. “I had a cold and had had orange juice yesterday, and I normally do not drink orange juice,” Dunbar said, who also thought, ‘I better not do that.”

    Sometimes, determining the cause of an elevated level may make you feel like a detective. But it’s important to ask yourself questions about potential causes, such as diet and exercise habits, changes in your treatment plan, or personal life adjustments. Determining the answers to these questions can help pinpoint what might be going wrong, according to MedlinePlus.

    How Long Does It Take For Blood Sugar To Go Down

    Diabetes Fact: how quickly can exercise lower blood sugar

    Multiple factors, such as dietary patterns, health, and medications, can influence a persons blood sugar levels. A person can seek a doctors advice on the best strategies to manage their blood glucose. As an individuals blood sugars can fluctuate and go down quickly, it is important to monitor them closely.

    Typically, medications such as insulin can help reduce blood sugars quickly. Different types of insulin exist, and each type has a different onset and duration meaning how long it takes to work and how long the effects last, respectively.

    For example, rapid-acting insulin typically begins to work within about 15 minutes , has the strongest effect in approximately an hour, and lasts for a few hours.

    Other methods, such as exercise, can help lower blood sugars for up to about 24 hours by making the body more sensitive to insulin. Generally, it is advisable to exercise 13 hours after eating, as this is likely when blood sugar levels will be highest. However, it is important to check these levels before exercising and to check them regularly, particularly after any grueling activity.

    If a person takes insulin, their risk of experiencing hypoglycemia may be highest 612 hours after exercising. Additionally, it is worth noting that health experts advise caution if exercising with high blood sugars, as physical activity may cause them to rise even higher.

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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

    Talk With Your Healthcare Provider

    If you think you’ve been doing all you can to keep your blood sugar in control, but your readings are still high, it may be time to switch medications, if you are taking them. Diabetes is a progressive disease, and over time, the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin can stop making the hormone altogether.

    Ultimately, your healthcare provider will look at the full picture and do additional testing to find out if there is a bigger problem.

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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.

    Types of diabetes test and high blood sugar levels.

    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

    How Does Hyperglycemia Happen

    10 Alarming Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Too High

    Insulin is a hormone that lets your body use the sugar in your blood, which comes primarily from carbohydrates in the food that you eat. Hyperglycemia happens when your body has too little insulin to use the sugar in your blood.

    People with type 1 diabetes can have episodes of hyperglycemia every day. Although this can be frustrating, it rarely creates a medical emergency. Not taking enough insulin can lead to hyperglycemia .

    Other things that can cause hyperglycemia include:

    • Having trouble seeing or concentrating
    • Experiencing stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting
    • Having sweet-smelling or fruity breath
    • Cuts or sores that do not heal, infections, and unexplained weight loss may also be signs of long-term hyperglycemia.

    If you notice any of these symptoms, you should check your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is very high, you should also test for ketones in either your blood or urine.

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    What Are Blood Sugar Targets

    A blood sugar target is the range you try to reach as much as possible. These are typical targets:

    • Before a meal: 80 to 130 mg/dL.
    • Two hours after the start of a meal: Less than 180 mg/dL.

    Your blood sugar targets may be different depending on your age, any additional health problems you have, and other factors. Be sure to talk to your health care team about which targets are best for you.

    When Should Insulin Be Started

    Q. Will my patient with type 2 diabetes require insulin?

    A. It varies from patient to patient. However, type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease marked by gradual loss of beta cell function and most patients will eventually require insulin therapy.1 This should be viewed as part of the pathophysiology of the disease and not as a failure on the part of the patient or healthcare provider.

    Insulin should be discussed early with patients who are beginning to show progression of their diabetes to ease the transition when the time to start insulin therapy arrives. This time should be considered part of a larger conversation between provider and patient, and not seen as a turning point down a path to the many severe complications of diabetes.

    Q.Is there a specific hemoglobin A1c at which insulin must be started?

    A. No. Insulin, like all treatments for diabetes, should be started and adjusted to achieve a reasonable goal HbA1c for the patient. The American Diabetes Association previously recommended that a patients HbA1c not be allowed to exceed 8%, creating an action point for escalation of therapy.

    Insulin therapy will often need to be started if the initial fasting plasma glucose is greater than 250 or the HbA1c is greater than 10%.4_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    References:

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    How Do I Treat Hyperglycemia

    You can often lower your blood glucose level by exercising. However, if your blood glucose is above 240 mg/dl, check your urine for ketones. If you have ketones, do not exercise.

    Exercising when ketones are present may make your blood glucose level go even higher. You’ll need to work with your doctor to find the safest way for you to lower your blood glucose level.

    Cutting down on the amount of food you eat might also help. Work with your dietitian to make changes in your meal plan. If exercise and changes in your diet don’t work, your doctor may change the amount of your medication or insulin or possibly the timing of when you take it.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperglycemia

    What Is A Good Average Blood Sugar For A Diabetic

    Its especially important to know the early signs of hyperglycemia if you have type 1 diabetes. If hyperglycemia is left untreated in people with type 1 diabetes, it can develop into ketoacidosis, where ketones, which are toxic acids, build up in the blood. This condition is an emergency situation that can lead to coma or death.

    Early symptoms of hyperglycemia include:

    • High blood sugar.
    • Unusual fruity smell on the breath.
    • Deep labored breathing or hyperventilation.
    • Rapid heartbeat.

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    How Do You Lower Blood Sugar Levels That Are High

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    Swollen Or Bleeding Gums Which Increase Your Infection Risk

    Gum disease is a complication of diabetes, notes the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. It can also make diabetes harder to control, because the bodys response to infection is to release more glucose into the bloodstream, according to the ADA.

    Your saliva contains glucose and the more it contains, the more there is to feed the bacteria that combine with food in your mouth to form plaque and cause gum disease. Symptoms can include red or inflamed gums at first. If they are unaddressed, they can progress to periodontitis, which can cause your gums to pull away from your teeth, the appearance of pus or ulcers, or even tooth loss, notes the Mayo Clinic. Get your blood sugar under control and see a dental professional to prevent damage to your gums and teeth.

    Additional reporting by Diana Rodriguez and Andrea Peirce.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperglycaemia

    The main 3 symptoms of high blood glucose levels are increased urination , increased thirst and increased hunger.

    High blood glucose levels can also cause:

    • recurring infections, such as thrush, bladder infections and skin infections
    • feeling or being sick
    • breath that smells fruity.

    Symptoms of hyperglycaemia in people with diabetes tend to develop slowly over a few days or weeks. There may be no symptoms until your blood sugar level is very high over 11 mmol/L.

    Symptoms of hyperglycaemia can also be caused by undiagnosed diabetes, so see a GP if you have these symptoms and are not diagnosed as diabetic.

    Types Of High Blood Sugar

    What causes diabetes, high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes

    There are two different main types of high blood sugar or hypoglycemia. Fasting hyperglycemia is measured when the patient has not eaten for at least eight hours.

    Patients with a blood glucose level higher than 130 milligrams per deciliter are considered to have fasting hyperglycemia.

    Postprandial hyperglycemia, or reactive hyperglycemia, occurs after eating. In patients with postprandial hyperglycemia, the liver does not stop producing sugar as it normally would after a meal, and it stores the extra sugar.

    A blood glucose level over 180 mg/dL, taken one to two hours after eating, is considered reactive hyperglycemia.

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    When Do I Take Rapid

    You should inject rapid-acting insulin no more than 15 minutes before you eat. Your doctor will tell you how much insulin to inject. Remember, you should not wait more than 15 minutes to eat after you take this insulin shot.

    Rapid-acting insulin can be more convenient to take than regular insulin. With regular insulin, you inject the insulin and then wait 30 to 60 minutes before eating. Many people find it hard to time their meals around regular insulin injections. Sometimes they end up eating too soon or too late. Then they dont achieve the best blood sugar control. Since rapid-acting insulin is taken so close to mealtime, it may help you control your blood sugar more effectively.

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    • Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus With Hyperglycemia
    • Time In Range Diabetes

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    The Basics Of High Blood Sugar

    Diabetes is a problem with your body that causes blood sugar levels to rise higher than normal. This is also called hyperglycemia.

    When you eat, your body breaks food down into sugar and sends it into the blood. Insulin then helps move the sugar from the blood into your cells. When sugar enters your cells, it is either used as fuel for energy right away or stored for later use. In a person with diabetes, there is a problem with insulin. But, not everyone with diabetes has the same problem.

    There are different types of diabetestype 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. If you have diabetestype 1, type 2 or gestationalyour body either doesnt make enough insulin, cant use the insulin well, or both.

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    Beware Of Low Blood Sugars

    Does High Sugar Level Mean Diabetes

    Remember, above all else, its very easy to over-treat a high blood sugar and wind up low. Then youll be tempted to binge-eat and wind up high again. This blood sugar roller coaster is exhausting and dangerous, too.

    Frequently finding yourself on the blood sugar roller coaster means your approach to taking insulin and/or how you treat low blood sugars isnt working and needs some fine-tuning. Work with your healthcare team to reduce and prevent these wild swings to ensure your overall safety and quality of life!

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