Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) is when your blood sugar levels are above the recommended target range. If you often have hyperglycemia, it can increase your risk for diabetes-related complications to your organs, including your eyes, heart, kidneys, and nerves.
But you can manage and prevent hyperglycemia with some simple steps!
Target Blood Sugar Ranges
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends the following blood sugar ranges:
Time of Day
Target Blood Sugar Range
Fasting (upon waking and before eating)
80 to 130 mg/dL
Before a meal
80 to 130 mg/dL
Two hours after a meal
80 to 180 mg/dL
Some recommendations may vary depending on your personal needs, but if your blood sugar rises above these ranges, you may be experiencing hyperglycemia. Talk to your healthcare team about the right levels for you.
What Causes Hyperglycemia?
- A missed dose of medication or taking too little insulin
- Eating foods high in carbohydrates
- Lack of exercise
- Illness, cold, flu
- Lack of sleep
- Certain medications such as steroids or some depression meds
Signs and Symptoms
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Slow healing cuts/sores
- Increased hunger
- Feeling tired
- Lack of energy
- Dry, itchy skin
Ways to Handle Hyperglycemia
- If you have a hyperglycemic episode, drink plenty of sugar-free, caffeine-free liquids such as water. Don’t drink fruit juice or other sugar-sweetened drinks.
- Take a walk. Activity can help your body process sugar more easily.
- Take your prescribed medications on time.
- If you have Type 1 diabetes, check your blood or urine for ketones as directed by your doctor.
- Call your healthcare provider if you are not able to eat, or if your blood sugar and ketones do not return to your target range.
Ways to Prevent Hyperglycemia
- Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly or per your doctor’s recommendations.
- Find a stress management strategy that works for you.
- When you're ill, follow your sick-day plan.
- Follow a balanced plate model when eating
- Practice portion control
- Drink water throughout the day.
- Exercise regularly. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week.
- Make time for sleep. Aim for 7-9 hours a night and stay consistent with sleep and wake times.
- Take all of your meds as prescribed by your doctor.