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Hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar)

2-minute read

Hyperglycaemia is having too much glucose (sugar) in your 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, 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 infections (e.g. thrush, cystitis, wound infections)
  • drinking too much alcohol

If you have hyperglycaemia, you might:

  • feel thirsty
  • feel tired
  • have a dry mouth
  • need to pass urine frequently
  • have blurred vision
  • have a headache
  • feel confused
  • feel drowsy
  • 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

Last reviewed: July 2018

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