Northside Health Library

High blood sugar


High blood sugar is when your body makes too little insulin or when your body is not able to use insulin the right way. High blood sugar may also be called high blood glucose or hyperglycemia.

Alternate Names

Hyperglycemia - self-care; High blood glucose - self-care

Symptoms of High Blood Sugar

Symptoms of high blood sugar may include:

  • Being very thirsty
  • Having blurry vision
  • Having dry skin
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Needing to pee a lot

You may have other, more serious symptoms if your blood sugar becomes very high.

See also:

What to Think about When Your Blood Sugar Is High

High blood sugar can harm you. If your blood sugar is high, you need to know how to bring it down. Here are some questions to ask yourself if your blood sugars are high:

Are you eating correctly?

  • Are you eating too much? Have you been following your diabetes meal plan?
  • Did you have a high-fat or high-fiber meal?

Are you taking your diabetes medicines correctly?

  • Has your doctor changed your medicines?
  • If you take insulin, have you been taking the correct dose?
  • Are you afraid of having low blood sugar? Is that causing you to eat too much or take too little insulin or other diabetes medicine?
  • Have you injected insulin into a scar or overused area? Have you been rotating sites?

What else has changed?

Preventing High Blood Sugar

When you have diabetes, you will learn to use diet, exercise, and diabetes medicines or insulin to prevent high blood sugar levels.

You and your doctor will

  • Set a target goal for your blood sugar levels for different times during the day See also: Managing your blood sugar
  • Decide how often you need to check your blood sugar at home

If your blood sugar is higher than your goals for 3 days and you do not know why, check your urine for ketones, then call your doctor or nurse.

See also:


American Diabetes Association. Diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care. 2010. 33 Suppl 1:S62-S69.

American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes -- 2010. Diabetes Care. 2010. 33 Suppl 1:S11-S61.

Review Date: 11/29/2010
Reviewed By: Reviewed by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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