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Diseases & Conditions

Hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar)

Hyperglycemia, or high blood glucose, occurs when there is too much sugar in the blood.

Causes of hyperglycemia

  • Skipping or forgetting your insulin or oral glucose-lowering medication
  • Eating the wrong foods
  • Eating too much food
  • Infection
  • Illness
  • Increased stress
  • Decreased activity

Symptoms of hyperglycemia

It is important to know the early signs of hyperglycemia. If hyperglycemia is left untreated, it may develop into an emergency condition called ketoacidosis.

Signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Numbness or tingling in the feet

Additional early symptoms include:

  • Fatigue (feeling weak, tired)
  • Sugar in the urine
  • Weight loss
  • Blood glucose of more than 180 mg/dl
  • Vaginal and skin infections
  • Slow-healing cuts and sores

How to treat and prevent hyperglycemia

If you have any of the early signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia you need to:

  • Test your blood glucose.
  • If you have type 1 diabetes and your blood glucose is more than 300 mg/dl, test your urine for ketones.
  • Call your doctor if your blood glucose is greater than 180 mg/dl for more than one week or if you have two consecutive readings greater than 300 mg/dl.
  • Drink non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic beverages that do not contain sugar.
  • Make sure you are following your meal plan, exercise program, and medication routine.

When you have hyperglycemia for long periods of time, damage to nerves, blood vessels, and other body organs can occur.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 1/29/2013...#9815