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High blood sugar

Description

High blood sugar is also called high blood glucose, or hyperglycemia.

High blood sugar almost always happens in people who have diabetes. High blood sugar occurs when:

Insulin is a hormone that helps the body move glucose (sugar) from the blood into muscle or fat, where it is stored for later use when energy is needed.

Sometimes high blood sugar occurs due to stress from surgery, infection, trauma, or medicines. After the stress is over, blood sugar returns to normal.

Alternative Names

Hyperglycemia - self-care; High blood glucose - self-care; Diabetes - high blood sugar

Symptoms of High Blood Sugar

Symptoms of high blood sugar can include:

You may have other, more serious symptoms if your blood sugar becomes very high or remains high for a long time.

What to Think About When Your Blood Sugar is High

High blood sugar can harm you. If your blood sugar is high, you need to know how to bring it down. If you have diabetes, here are some questions to ask yourself when your blood sugar is high:

Are you taking your diabetes medicines correctly?

What else has changed?

Preventing High Blood Sugar

To prevent high blood sugar, you will need to:

You and your doctor will:

If your blood sugar is higher than your goals for 3 days and you DO NOT know why, check your urine for ketones. Then call your provider.

References

American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes-2016: summary of revisions. Diabetes Care. 2016;39 Suppl 1:S4-S5. PMID: 26696680 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26696680.

Pasquel FJ, Umpierrez GE. Hyperglycemic crises. In: Jameson JL, De Groot LJ, de Kretser DM, et al, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 46.


Review Date: 8/7/2016
Reviewed By: Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.