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
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Last reviewed: July 2020