Skip to toolbar

High blood sugar: causes, warning signs and treatment

Print

High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, occurs when the body has too much food or glucose, or too little insulin. Potential reasons a person with type 1 diabetes (T1D) might have high blood sugar include:

  • Not enough insulin taken
  • Eating more than usual
  • Eating earlier than usual
  • Eating food with higher glucose content without injecting extra insulin
  • Injecting insulin at a site on the body where the absorption rate is slower
  • Missing or skipping an insulin dose
  • A clog in insulin pump tubing
  • Less exercise than normal
  • Emotional or physical stress
  • Illness or injury
  • Other hormones
  • Medications (such as steroids)
  • Pain

Hyperglycemia Symptoms

  • Thirst (dehydration)
  • Frequent urination, including potential waking up in the middle of the night to urinate; and unusually wet diapers in an infant or toddler.
  • Blurry vision
  • Stomach pain
  • Increased hunger
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness, lethargy, exhaustion
  • Confusion
  • Sweating
  • Fruity, sweet or wine-like odor on breath
  • Vomiting
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Weight loss (a longer-term symptom) that eventually leads to coma

Treatments

The following recommendations are general treatments for high blood sugar. Specific actions, such as giving additional insulin, should be determined by the adult with T1D, physician or parents (for a child).

If blood test results are slightly above normal:

  • Continue regular activity
  • Drink water or sugar-free drinks
  • Monitor blood-sugar levels by checking regularly
  • Chart blood-glucose test results
  • Consider injecting additional insulin as instructed by physician or parent

If blood test results are moderately high:

  • Don’t engage in strenuous exercise
  • Drink water or sugar-free drinks
  • Inject additional insulin if instructed by physician or parents
  • Monitor blood-sugar levels by checking regularly
  • Chart blood-glucose test results
  • Try to discover why glucose levels are elevated

If blood test results are very high:

  • Don’t engage in strenuous exercise
  • Drink water or sugar-free drinks
  • Inject additional insulin if instructed by parents or physician
  • Test ketone levels if advised by parents or physician. If high, contact parent or physician immediately
  • Monitor blood-sugar levels by checking regularly
  • Chart blood-glucose test results
  • Try to discover why glucose levels are elevated
Was this helpful?

Thank you!

Your feedback will help provide the best possible resources to keep the T1D community healthy until we find a cure.

Get personal support

Online Diabetes Support Team
JDRF volunteers are available to answer your questions about type 1 diabetes and get you through this difficult time. Ask a question.

T1D Connections Program
All JDRF Outreach Volunteers not only have personal experience living with T1D, they are carefully selected by JDRF and given ongoing training to help provide you the very best support. Learn More.

@

Not recently active