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What is hyperglycemia?

Hyperglycemia (or high blood glucose) can occur any time blood glucose is above the target range.

Hyperglycemia is caused by having too much sugar and/or not enough insulin in the body. In fact, the symptoms of diabetes are the same as the symptoms of hyperglycemia. That's because diabetes itself causes hyperglycemia.


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What Causes Hyperglycemia?

The two main reasons for having hyperglycemia are poor blood glucose management and getting sick. If your blood glucose levels are frequently above your target range, it's probably time to change your diabetes treatment. Talk to your parents and your doctor about what you can do to manage your blood glucose better.

Don't worry too much about an occasional high reading. Everyone has high blood glucose once in a while. It's only a problem when you have high blood glucose a lot or when the level is extremely high.

When you get sick, your blood glucose level goes up. It's your body's way of trying to get the energy it needs, especially when you're not eating as much. Your doctor or diabetes educator can advise you how to treat your diabetes when you're sick. Learn more at


Hyperglycemia: Signs, Symptoms & What to do

Hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) occurs when blood glucose levels get too high, which can occur when: 1. The body gets too little insulin, too much food, or too little exercise. 2. The body is under stress from a cold, sore throat, or other illness.

Symptoms of hyperglycemia include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Increase in number of trips to the bathroom
  • Blurry vision


Hyperglycemia General Information

Hyperglycemia refers to the condition of having a high level of glucose in the bloodstream. This can occur when the body doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its insulin supply appropriately. Everyone with type 1 and type 2 diabetes has experienced hyperglycemia. A primary goal of diabetes treatment is to reduce blood glucose levels to as close to normal as possible. If left untreated for a long period of time, hyperglycemia can result in complications of diabetes such as kidney disease and retinopathy.

Maintaining a normal concentration of blood glucose is key, so people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes need to check their blood glucose levels as advised by their health care providers. A few approaches to lowering persistently high glucose include being more physically active, altering a person's meal plan, or adjusting the dosage of diabetes medications.

People with type 1 diabetes are completely insulin deficient, and their bodies may therefore produce ketones as hyperglycemia sets in, especially if the blood glucose level exceeds 240 mg/dl. This can lead to a condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis, which constitutes a medical emergency. Symptoms of this life-threatening complication are nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, shortness of breath, deep, rapid breathing, and a fruity smell to the breath. A person with type 1 diabetes should test their urine for ketones when his or her blood glucose rises above 240 mg/dl, and should notify a medical professional if ketones are persistently elevated.



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