Dealing with hyperglycemia

What is hyperglycemia?

When you have hyperglycemia, your blood glucose level rises above 130 mg/dl. You probably had hyperglycemia when you were first diagnosed with diabetes. You may also have it if your treatment – healthy eating, physical activity, taking pills, and/or insulin – is not working effectively enough.

What will I feel like if get hyperglycemia?

You may have symptoms such as a dry mouth, excessive thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, and blurred vision. However, these symptoms usually appear only when your blood glucose level is 180 mg/dl or more. If you want to know if your blood glucose is rising above 130 mg/dl, the only way to tell is by doing blood glucose tests.

I feel well even though my blood glucose is between 180 and 270 mg/dl. Is that OK?

No, you still need to take action to lower your blood glucose level. If your blood glucose level is routinely raised, your risk of developing long-term complications will be increased. Also, if your body becomes accustomed to a higher-than-normal blood glucose level, you may not get symptoms until your blood glucose level reaches 270 mg/dl or more. So, even if you are feeling well, testing your blood glucose level regularly rather than waiting for symptoms to appear is the only way to reliably detect hyperglycemia.

If my blood glucose is well controlled does that mean I will never have hyperglycemia?

No. there will be times when you have readings of more than 130 mg/dl, for example, after a celebratory meal, if you are less active than usual, or during an illness or infection. Occasional high readings will not do you any harm, but regular high readings should prompt you to take action.

What should I do if I keep getting a high blood glucose level?

Try to determine what is causing your hyperglycemia, whether it is related to your food intake or reduced physical activity on a particular day, and take appropriate action (for example, eating less or being more active). If there are no obvious causes of your raised blood glucose level, you may need to start taking pills or injecting insulin, or increase either one. The American Diabetes Association recommends an Alc test every 3 months to check your glucose control.

How can I prevent hyperglycemia?

Preventive measures include taking your pills or insulin every day, avoiding foods that make your blood glucose rise too high, or compensating for eating these foods by adjusting your medication or being more active. If you are aware of the effect of stress and other hormonal changes on your blood glucose, this can help you predict when you will need to adjust your treatment. To prevent hyperglycemia during illness, don’t stop taking your insulin (especially if you are vomiting) or pills. If your pills or insulin don’t keep your blood glucose level in the recommended range during an illness, you may need an increased dose. Regular blood glucose testing can also warn you of hyperglycemia.

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