Hyperglycemia Symptoms

By Sherry Baker @SherryNewsViews
November 03, 2023
Hyperglycemia Symptoms

If you have diabetes, it’s crucial to know when your blood sugar is too high. Understand the steps you need to take if you have hyperglycemia symptoms.

If your blood sugar (blood glucose) is too high, you have a condition called hyperglycemia. If you don’t control high blood sugar, you can have hyperglycemia symptoms, chronic health problems, and even potentially fatal complications.

Diabetes is the primary cause of hyperglycemia.


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Type 2 diabetes affects 90 to 95 percent of the nearly 38 million Americans with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In type 2 diabetes, cells don’t respond normally to insulin, the hormone made by your pancreas, which moves glucose into cells for energy. That causes your blood sugar to rise.

While being overweight and sedentary is the primary cause of type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which your pancreas makes no, or very little, insulin. Both conditions lead to high levels of blood glucose.

Gestational diabetes, also marked by higher-than-normal blood sugar, develops only in pregnant women, often resolving after childbirth. You can, however, be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes later on.

People with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin to maintain their blood sugar. People with type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes can sometimes control their condition with diet, keeping their weight under control, and exercising regularly. You may also need insulin or medication like metformin or other diabetes drugs if you have type 2 diabetes.

Recognizing symptoms of hyperglycemia is important to control your blood sugar and know when to see your doctor.

Causes and symptoms of hyperglycemia

Even if you’re treating diabetes, you can still have symptoms of hyperglycemia.

Your blood sugar can rise if:

  • You don’t take enough insulin if you have type 1 diabetes.
  • Your body doesn’t effectively use type 2 diabetes medication.
  • You eat too much.
  • You have stress.
  • You don’t exercise enough.
  • You have a cold, the flu, or another illness.
  • You experience what doctors call the “dawn phenomenon” — a surge of hormones your produces around 4 to 5 a.m., which can cause hyperglycemia.

If your blood sugar spikes for any reason, you will likely have symptoms of hyperglycemia, including:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision

Long-term high blood sugar levels can cause:

  • Numbness and tingling in your hands and feet
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Sores that don’t heal

Although hyperglycemia symptoms of type 1 diabetes can start quickly, people with type 2 diabetes often develop symptoms slowly. Many people with type 2 diabetes don’t know they have high blood sugar until they develop serious diabetes-related health problems, including heart disease and nerve damage.

These hyperglycemia symptoms are dangerous

As soon as you know your blood sugar is high, you must treat it. If you don’t, you can develop a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis — also known as diabetic coma because it can cause you to black out.

Ketoacidosis produces waste products called ketones. Your body can’t eliminate large amounts of ketones through urine, so they can build up and poison your blood. It occurs when your body doesn’t have enough insulin and begins to break down body fat to use as energy.

Seek immediate medical care if you have symptoms of ketoacidosis, including:

  • High blood sugar
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Fruity smelling breath

Take control of diabetes and hyperglycemia symptoms

Talk to your doctor about how you can prevent ketoacidosis and how to test for excess ketones. You should always carry a medical ID, in case you have an accident or black out from ketoacidosis.

Have your blood glucose levels tested every year. Monitoring your blood sugar is the most important thing you can do to manage diabetes, the CDC emphasizes.

Talk to your doctor about:

  • How to properly check your glucose levels with a blood sugar meter
  • When and how to check for excessive ketones
  • What level your blood sugar should be
  • What to do if your blood glucose is too high
  • What you can do if you have symptoms of hyperglycemia

Working with your doctor, you can make a diabetes care plan that will not only lower your risk of hyperglycemia symptoms but also help delay or prevent diabetes complications, such as strokes, kidney disease, heart attacks, retinopathy, and amputation.


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November 03, 2023

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN