Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.


beginning of content

Hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar)

2-minute read

Hyperglycaemia is having too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. This can happen for many reasons, such as:

  • not having enough insulin or diabetes tablets
  • being less active than usual
  • eating too many carbohydrates at once, found in sugary foods and drinks, and other foods such as potatoes, bread and pasta
  • being sick or taking other medicine
  • being stressed
  • having an infection (such as thrush, cystitis, wound infections)
  • drinking too much alcohol

If you have hyperglycaemia, you might:

  • feel thirsty
  • feel tired
  • need to pass urine frequently
  • have blurred vision
  • have an infection
  • lose weight

If you have type 2 diabetes, an occasional high blood glucose level is not a problem. But if your blood glucose level remains high for a few days or if you are sick, contact your doctor or Credentialed Diabetes Educator.

If you have type 1 diabetes, it’s important that you act on hyperglycaemia. If not treated, a high blood sugar level can lead to a serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.

Here are some steps you can take if you find your blood sugar level is higher than it should be.

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Contact your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator for advice about increasing your dose of short acting insulin. You may also need extra doses of this insulin (e.g. 2-4 units every 2 hours).
  • Check your urine for ketones if you have the necessary equipment. Always test using urine that you have just freshly passed, otherwise you may not get a true reading.
  • Drink plenty of sugar-free, non-alcoholic fluids such as water to stay well hydrated. Try to avoid alcohol and drinks containing caffeine, such as cola, tea and coffee, as these can dehydrate you.
  • Check your blood sugar level regularly to see if it is going down.

Contact your doctor or go to hospital if:

  • vomiting is stopping you from drinking or eating
  • your blood glucose levels remain high
  • you find moderate to high levels of ketones in your urine

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: July 2020

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Hyperglycaemia in diabetes -

Hyperglycaemia means too much sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream. For someone with diabetes it means their diabetes is not well controlled.

Read more on myDr website

Insulin pump hyperglycaemia and sick day management plan

This practical fact sheet helps you identify hyperglycaemia and explains the correct procedure to manage it when you are using an insulin pump.

Read more on Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute website

Type1 diabetes hyperglycaemia | Diabetes NSW & ACT

Very high blood glucose levels can become life threatening. Some signs & symptoms indicate you should seek urgent medical attention. Learn more

Read more on Diabetes NSW and ACT website

Hyperglycaemia and sick day management for adults with type 1 diabetes

Read more on Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute website

Type 2 diabetes and sick day management

Read more on Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute website

Type 1 diabetes complications | Diabetes NSW & ACT

The complications of type 1 diabetes can be serious, but can be substantially reduced if you pay attention to your blood glucose control. Find out more

Read more on Diabetes NSW and ACT website

Diabetes emergency

First aid fact sheet

Read more on St John Ambulance Australia website

Type 1 diabetes -

Type 1 diabetes is a condition where the pancreas doesn't make enough insulin, resulting in high blood glucose (sugar) levels.

Read more on myDr website

Hyperglycaemia - Better Health Channel

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Complications of diabetes type 2 | Diabetes NSW & ACT

If left undiagnosed or unchecked for too long, complications of diabetes type 2 can become serious & life threatening. Find out how you can reduce your risk

Read more on Diabetes NSW and ACT website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.