Hyperglycemia in diabetes-Hyperglycemia in diabetes - Diagnosis & treatment - Mayo Clinic (2024)


Your health care provider sets your target blood sugar range. For many people who have diabetes, Mayo Clinic generally recommends the following target blood sugar levels before meals:

  • Between 80 and 120 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) (4.4 and 6.7 millimoles per liter (mmol/L)) for people age 59 and younger who have no medical conditions other than diabetes
  • Between 100 and 140 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) (5.6 and 7.8 millimoles per liter (mmol/L)) for:
    • People age 60 and older
    • Those who have other medical conditions, such as heart, lung or kidney disease
    • People who have a history of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or who have difficulty recognizing the symptoms of hypoglycemia

For many people who have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association generally recommends the following target blood sugar levels:

  • Between 80 and 130 mg/dL (4.4 and 7.2 mmol/L) before meals
  • Less than 180 mg/dL (10 mmol/L) two hours after meals

Your target blood sugar range may differ, especially if you're pregnant or you have other health problems that are caused by diabetes. Your target blood sugar range may change as you get older. Sometimes, reaching your target blood sugar range can be a challenge.

Home blood sugar monitoring

Routine blood sugar monitoring with a blood glucose meter is the best way to be sure that your treatment plan is keeping your blood sugar within your target range. Check your blood sugar as often as your health care provider recommends.

If you have any symptoms of severe hyperglycemia — even if they seem minor — check your blood sugar level right away.

If your blood sugar level is 240 mg/dL (13.3 mmol/L) or above, use an over-the-counter urine ketones test kit. If the urine test is positive, your body may have started making the changes that can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. Talk to your health care provider about how to lower your blood sugar level safely.

Hemoglobin A1C test

During an appointment, your health care provider may conduct an A1C test. This blood test shows your average blood sugar level for the past 2 to 3 months. It works by measuring the percentage of blood sugar attached to the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells, called hemoglobin.

An A1C level of 7% or less means that your treatment plan is working and that your blood sugar was consistently within a healthy range. If your A1C level is higher than 7%, your blood sugar, on average, was above a healthy range. In this case, your health care provider may recommend a change in your diabetes treatment plan.

For some people, especially older adults and those with certain medical conditions, a higher A1C level of 8% or more may be appropriate.

How often you need the A1C test depends on the type of diabetes you have and how well you're managing your blood sugar. Most people with diabetes receive this test 2 to 4 times a year.

More Information

  • A1C test


Home treatment

Talk to your health care provider about managing your blood sugar. Understand how different treatments can help keep your glucose levels within your target range. Your health care provider may suggest the following:

  • Get physical. Regular exercise is often an effective way to control blood sugar. But don't exercise if you have ketones in your urine. This can drive your blood sugar even higher.
  • Take your medication as directed. If you develop hyperglycemia often, your health care provider may adjust the dosage or timing of your medication.
  • Follow your diabetes eating plan. It helps to eat smaller portions and avoid sugary beverages and frequent snacking. If you're having trouble sticking to your meal plan, ask your health care provider or dietitian for help.
  • Check your blood sugar. Monitor your blood glucose as directed by your health care provider. Check more often if you're sick or if you're concerned about severe hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
  • Adjust your insulin doses. Changes to your insulin program or a supplement of short-acting insulin can help control hyperglycemia. A supplement is an extra dose of insulin used to help temporarily correct a high blood sugar level. Ask your health care provider how often you need an insulin supplement if you have high blood sugar.

Emergency treatment for severe hyperglycemia

If you have signs and symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state, you may be treated in the emergency room or admitted to the hospital. (4p4) Emergency treatment can lower your blood sugar to a normal range. Treatment usually includes:

  • Fluid replacement. You'll receive fluids — usually through a vein (intravenously) — until your body has the fluids it needs. This replaces fluids you've lost through urination. It also helps dilute the extra sugar in your blood.
  • Electrolyte replacement. Electrolytes are minerals in your blood that are necessary for your tissues to work properly. A lack of insulin can lower the level of electrolytes in your blood. You'll receive electrolytes through your veins to help keep your heart, muscles and nerve cells working the way they should.
  • Insulin therapy. Insulin reverses the processes that cause ketones to build up in your blood. Along with fluids and electrolytes, you'll receive insulin therapy — usually through a vein.

As your body returns to normal, your health care provider will consider what may have triggered the severe hyperglycemia. Depending on the circ*mstances, you may need additional tests and treatment.

Request an appointment

Preparing for your appointment

If you have trouble keeping your blood sugar within your target range, schedule an appointment to see your health care provider. Your provider can help you make changes to better manage your diabetes.

Here's information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from your health care provider.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. If your health care provider is going to test your blood sugar, you may need to stop eating or drinking anything but water for up to eight hours before your appointment. When you're making an appointment, ask if there are any restrictions on eating or drinking.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you take.
  • Create a record of metered glucose values. Give your health care provider a written or printed record of your blood glucose values, times and medication. Using the record, your health care provider can recognize trends and offer advice on how to prevent hyperglycemia or adjust your medication to treat hyperglycemia.
  • Write down questions to ask your health care provider. If you need more information about your diabetes management, be sure to ask.
  • Check if you need prescription refills. Your health care provider can renew your prescriptions while you're at the appointment.

For hyperglycemia, questions you may want to ask include:

  • How often do I need to monitor my blood sugar?
  • What is my target range?
  • How do diet and exercise affect my blood sugar?
  • When do I test for ketones?
  • How can I prevent high blood sugar?
  • Do I need to worry about low blood sugar? What are the symptoms I need to watch for?
  • Will I need follow-up care?

Sick-day planning

Illness or infections can cause your blood sugar to rise, so it's important to plan for these situations. Talk to your health care provider about creating a sick-day plan. Questions to ask include:

  • How often should I monitor my blood sugar when I'm sick?
  • Does my insulin injection or oral diabetes pill dose change when I'm sick?
  • When should I test for ketones?
  • What if I can't eat or drink?
  • When should I seek medical help?
Hyperglycemia in diabetes-Hyperglycemia in diabetes - Diagnosis & treatment - Mayo Clinic (2024)


Hyperglycemia in diabetes-Hyperglycemia in diabetes - Diagnosis & treatment - Mayo Clinic? ›

In people who have diabetes, glucose tends to build up in the bloodstream. This condition is called hyperglycemia. It may reach dangerously high levels if it is not treated properly. Insulin and other drugs are used to lower blood sugar levels.

What is the hyperglycemia range for diabetics? ›

Hyperglycemia is blood glucose greater than 125 mg/dL while fasting and greater than 180 mg/dL 2 hours postprandial. A patient has impaired glucose tolerance, or pre-diabetes, with a fasting plasma glucose of 100 mg/dL to 125 mg/dL.

What is dangerously high blood sugar for type 2 diabetes? ›

If your blood sugar level goes above 600 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 33.3 millimoles per liter (mmol/L), the condition is called diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome. When blood sugar is very high, the extra sugar passes from the blood into the urine.

What drink lowers blood sugar? ›

Drinking water regularly may rehydrate the blood, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce diabetes risk ( 20 , 21 ). Keep in mind that water and other zero-calorie drinks are best. Avoid sugar-sweetened options, as these can raise blood glucose, drive weight gain, and increase diabetes risk ( 22 , 23 ).

What is the correct treatment for hyperglycemia? ›

The treatment depends on the cause of hyperglycemia, and may include the following:
  • Insulin. For people with type 1 diabetes, insulin is the main treatment for hyperglycemia. ...
  • Glucose-lowering medications. Various drugs such as metformin may be used to lower blood glucose levels.
  • Glucose monitoring. ...
  • Lifestyle changes.

What A1C level is considered hyperglycemic? ›

A normal A1C level is below 5.7%, a level of 5.7% to 6.4% indicates prediabetes, and a level of 6.5% or more indicates diabetes.

What is the critical hyperglycemic level? ›

The most recent guidelines from the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) for the management of hyperglycemia in critically ill (ICU) patients recommended that a blood glucose ≥150 mg/dl (≥8.3 mmol/l) should trigger interventions to maintain blood glucose below that level and absolutely <180 mg/dl (<10.0 mmol/l) (30 ...

What are 5 signs of a diabetic emergency? ›

What are the signs and symptoms of a diabetic emergency?
  • hunger.
  • clammy skin.
  • profuse sweating.
  • drowsiness or confusion.
  • weakness or feeling faint.
  • sudden loss of responsiveness.

What are the 5 worst foods for blood sugar? ›

You limit dairy products, red meat, sweets, added sugars, sodium (salt), and highly processed foods. Some additional guidelines include focusing on seasonal produce and reading food labels to help you avoid added sodium and sugar.

Can drinking water lower blood sugar? ›

Drinking plenty of water helps your kidneys flush out excess sugar. One study found that people who drink more water lower their risk for developing high blood sugar levels. And remember, water is the best. Sugary drinks elevate blood sugar by raising it even more.

What should diabetics drink first thing in the morning? ›

Water is the best all-round drink. If your family likes flavoured waters, make your own by adding a squeeze of lemon or lime, or strawberries.

How can I flush sugar out of my system fast? ›

Keep Yourself Hydrated

Experts advise drinking 6-8 glasses of water every day for oxygen to flow freely in your body and help the kidneys and colon eliminate waste. What's best, it helps in flushing out excess sugar from your body.

Is banana good for diabetes? ›

Bananas have a low GI score, and this the fruit to be an appropriate choice for diabetics. Dietitian Upasana Sharma, Head Nutritionist at Max Hospital says, "Banana contains sugar and carbs. But it is rich in fibre and has a low glycemic index. Diabetics can eat banana, but in moderation."

What blood sugar level requires hospitalization? ›

Very high blood sugar levels can require treatment at the hospital. It's important to seek medical care if your blood sugar is over 400 mg/DL, or if your blood sugar is over 240 mg/dL along with symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, nausea, and diarrhea.

What foods lower hyperglycemia? ›

5 Superfoods to Lower Your Blood Sugar
  • Berries. Don't make your trip to the store fruitless. ...
  • Go nuts. That's right—go ahead and snack on almonds, cashews or even pistachios. ...
  • Leafy greens. ...
  • Non-starchy vegetables. ...
  • Whole grains.

What are the three signs of hyperglycemia? ›

Frequent urination. Increased thirst. Blurred vision. Feeling weak or unusually tired.

Should I go to the ER if my blood sugar is over 200? ›

Seek immediate help from your care provider or call 911 if:

You have ongoing diarrhea or vomiting, and you can't keep any food or fluids down. Your blood glucose levels stay above 240 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) (13.3 millimoles per liter (mmol/L)) and you have symptoms of ketones in your urine.

What if sugar level is 240 in type 2 diabetes? ›

If your blood sugar level is 240 mg/dL (13.3 mmol/L ) or above, use an over-the-counter urine ketones test kit. If the urine test is positive, your body may have started making the changes that can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. Talk to your health care provider about how to lower your blood sugar level safely.

Is blood sugar over 400 an emergency? ›

Is a 400 to 500 blood sugar level dangerous? Yes, a blood sugar level of 400 to 500 mg/dL is considered extremely dangerous and requires immediate attention. (HHS) in type 2 diabetes. If you experience blood sugar levels in this range, contact your healthcare provider or seek emergency medical care.

Should I go to the hospital if my blood sugar is over 300? ›

In general, a blood sugar reading of more than 180 mg/dL or any reading above your target range is too high. A blood sugar reading of 300 mg/dL or more can be dangerous. If you have 2 readings in a row of 300 or more, call your doctor.


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