Type 2 Diabetes 101: High Blood Sugar: What to do?

By: Sheila Kun RN, BSN, MS, CPN, FCCP

Following the discussion of low blood sugar, this week, from the educational material on diabetes, Kaiser Permanente (Learning to live well), we summarize symptoms of high blood sugar and what to do at home.

Hyperglycemia = High blood sugar (Blood sugar above 240 mg/dl):




·         Too much food

·         Too many carbohydrates (sugar, starchy food)

·         Inactivity

·         Too much stress

·         Illness, infection, or injury

·         Not enough diabetes medication

·         Certain medications, such as steroids

Signs and Symptoms

·         Extreme thirst

·         Frequent urination

·         Weakness, fatigue

·         Dry skin

·         Hunger

·         Blurred vision

·         Drowsiness

·         nausea

High Blood Sugar: What to Do

Test blood sugar every 4 hours:

  • Drink 1 to 2 cups of calorie/caffeine – free liquid (such as water, broth, unsweetened hot or iced tea or diet Jell-0) every hour to prevent dehydration (excessive loss of body water).
  • Extra medication may be needed. Talk with your physician about changing your medication.
  • Your physician may test your urine for ketones. Why test urine for ketones? Ketones are formed when your body uses fat for energy. Glucose the simplest form of sugar is what your body is supposed to use for energy. Sometimes sugar cannot be used for energy and it stays in your blood. When sugar builds up in your blood, your body uses fat for energy. Using fat for energy causes your body to make more sugar and ketones than the blood can hold. The kidneys start cleaning the extra sugar and ketones from your blood for removal in the urine. If you are spilling ketones in your urine that is one way to tell that your blood sugar is high.

Next week, we will begin our discussion on nutrition. Of utmost importance is the understanding of the types of sugar in your food. You will be amazed by Dr. Michael Goran’s research work in the next week’s article.

The Care Ministry wants to emphasize that this article is not meant to be your medical ADVICE. Any of your health related questions should be directed to your own physician.

Your homework from the Care Ministry this week: review the signs and symptoms of excessive high or low sugar.

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