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Steps for Dealing With High Blood Sugar

Steps for Dealing With High Blood Sugar

Blood sugar levels from 200 mg/dL to 350 mg/dL

Follow these steps if you have diabetes and your blood sugar is 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) to 350 mg/dL.

  • 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 for ketones, if your doctor has advised you to do so. If the results of the ketone test show a moderate-to-large amount of ketones (for example, more than 0.6 mmol/L), call your doctor for advice.
  • Wait 30 minutes after taking extra insulin or your missed medicine.
  • 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 350 mg/dL

Follow these steps if your blood sugar is moderately high (over 350 mg/dL).

  • 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 for ketones, if your doctor has advised you to do so. If the results of the ketone test show a moderate-to-large amount of ketones (for example, more than 0.6 mmol/L), call your doctor for advice.
  • Wait 30 minutes after taking extra insulin or your missed medicine.
  • 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 600 mg/dL

Follow these steps if your blood sugar is extremely high (over 600 mg/dL):

  • 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 your doctor immediately.
  • If you start to feel drowsy or disoriented or if 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 high. Then that 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 medicine 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.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Current as of August 15, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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