Hyperglycemia means high levels of glucose in blood. In Type 1 diabetes high blood
glucose happens when the body has no or too little insulin. Therefore insulin has
to be provided from outside the body. If this outside or external insulin is not
provided to the body, the glucose levels become high and this high blood glucose
(Hyperglycemia) will cause immediate and long-term complications.
Causes of hyperglycemia
- You have not taken enough insulin
- You have eaten more
- You are sick
- You are under stress
Most people with Type 1 diabetes have symptoms of high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).
- Excessive thirst
- Feeling tired
- Need to urinate frequently
- Losing weight
- Blurred vision
Less commonly, there are symptoms of a problem called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
People with DKA have symptoms of high blood sugar (see above) as well as nausea
and vomiting, abdominal pain, rapid breathing, and sometimes coma. DKA is a medical
emergency and must be treated promptly and patient needs hospitalization.
How you treat hyperglycemia
Presence of hyperglycemia can be indicated by symptoms or blood glucose monitoring.
In Type 1 diabetes, the blood glucose level >200mg/dl needs to be watched and
corrected immediately. These measures include:
- You may suspect that your blood sugar is high because of the presence of symptoms,
but the blood test is the only way to confirm it
- Once you know your glucose level, take the dose of insulin (as prescribed by your
doctor) to bring your glucose level down
- If your test result is higher than 240 mg/dl, you should also test your urine for
Lack of insulin and sustained high blood sugar can lead to ketoacidosis. It is an
Symptoms of DKA include:
- nausea and vomiting
- a rapid and weak pulse
- abdominal pain
- breath that has a fruity odor
- labored breathing
- low blood pressure
What to do
When any of the above symptoms are accompanied by 2 or more glucose readings over
300 mg/dl, you should contact your doctor. When vomiting is present, ketoacidosis
can progress quickly. The immediate treatment involves rehydration of lost fluids
and giving insulin.