Diabetes: Dealing With High Blood Sugar

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Diabetes: Dealing With High Blood Sugar

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Blood sugar levels between 11.0 mmol/L to 20.0 mmol/L

Follow these steps if you have diabetes and your blood sugar is 11.0 millimoles per litre (mmol/L) to 20.0 mmol/L.

  • If you have missed your usual dose of insulin or pills for type 2 diabetes, take the missed dose.
  • If you and your doctor have decided on a dose of fast-acting insulin based on your blood sugar level (sliding scale), give yourself the appropriate dose. If you take insulin and you and your doctor have not decided on a dose of fast-acting insulin based on your blood sugar level (sliding scale), call your doctor for advice.
  • Drink extra liquids to replace the fluids lost through your urine. Water and sugar-free drinks are best. Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Also avoid regular soda pop, fruit juice, and other liquids that contain a lot of sugar.
  • Test your urine for ketones if your doctor has advised you to do so. If the results of your ketone test show that you have a moderate to large amount of ketones in your urine, call your doctor for advice.
  • Wait 30 minutes after taking extra insulin or your missed medications.
  • Check your blood sugar again.
  • If your symptoms of high blood sugar become more noticeable or your blood sugar level continues to rise, call your doctor.

Blood sugar levels over 20.0 mmol/L

Follow these steps if your blood sugar is moderately high (over 20.0 mmol/L).

  • If you have missed your usual dose of pills for type 2 diabetes or insulin, take the missed dose.
  • If you and your doctor have decided on a dose of fast-acting insulin based on your blood sugar level (sliding scale), give yourself the appropriate dose. If you take insulin and you and your doctor have not decided on a dose of fast-acting insulin based on your blood sugar level (sliding scale), call your doctor for advice.
  • Drink extra liquids to replace the fluids lost through your urine. Water and sugar-free drinks are best. Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Also avoid regular soda pop, fruit juice, and other liquids that contain a lot of sugar.
  • Test your urine for ketones if your doctor has advised you to do so. If you have a moderate to large amount of ketones in your urine, call your doctor for advice.
  • Wait 30 minutes after taking extra insulin or your missed medications.
  • Check your blood sugar again.
  • If you start to feel drowsy or disoriented or your blood sugar continues to rise, call 911 or other emergency services immediately. It's best to have someone with you if your blood sugar is this elevated so that the person can call for you.

Blood sugar levels over 33.0 mmol/L

Follow these steps if your blood sugar is extremely high (over 33.0 mmol/L).

  • Check your blood sugar.
  • If your meter reads high, test the accuracy of your meter, and then recheck your blood sugar.
  • If your meter reads high again, call 911 or other emergency services immediately. It's best to have someone with you when your blood sugar is this elevated, so that the person can call for you.

What to do after a high blood sugar episode

After your blood sugar level has returned to your target range, continue to take your medication as prescribed by your doctor, check your blood sugar levels often, and report the high blood sugar episode to your doctor.

Drink extra liquids to replace the fluids lost through your urine. Water and sugar-free drinks are best. Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Also avoid regular soda pop, fruit juice, and other liquids that contain a lot of sugar.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Last Revised November 3, 2009

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.