What To Do When Your Blood Sugar Is High

Table of Contents

When Blood Sugar Is High

Blood sugar, or blood glucose, is the primary sugar in your blood and your body’s primary energy source. When you eat, your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, entering your bloodstream. Your body uses insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, to help glucose enter your cells and provide them with energy.

Why High Blood Sugar Matters

High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, occurs when your body has too little insulin or can’t use insulin effectively. If left unchecked, high blood sugar can lead to serious health issues, including heart disease, nerve damage, and kidney problems. It’s crucial to manage your blood sugar levels to prevent these complications.

Symptoms of High Blood Sugar

Common Signs to Watch For

Recognizing the symptoms of high blood sugar can help you take action before it leads to more severe problems. Common signs include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is essential to check your blood sugar levels to confirm whether they are elevated.

Differentiating Between Hyperglycemia and Other Conditions

It’s easy to confuse the symptoms of high blood sugar with other conditions like dehydration or flu. If you have diabetes or are at risk, always consider checking your blood sugar levels first when these symptoms arise.

Immediate Actions to Take

Drinking Water

Drinking water is one of the simplest and most effective ways to lower high blood sugar. Hydration helps your kidneys flush out excess glucose through urine. Aim for at least eight glasses of water daily or more if you’re experiencing a spike in blood sugar.

Light Physical Activity

Engaging in light physical activity, such as walking, can help lower blood sugar levels by making muscles use more glucose. However, be cautious not to overexert yourself, especially if your blood sugar is very high, as this can sometimes worsen the situation.

Monitoring Blood Sugar Levels

Regularly monitoring your blood sugar levels with a glucose meter helps you understand how your body responds to different foods, activities, and medications. If your levels are consistently high, it’s a signal to review and possibly adjust your management plan.

Medications and Insulin

When to Take Medication

If you’re on oral diabetes medication, take it as prescribed by your doctor. Missing doses can lead to high blood sugar, so sticking to your medication schedule is essential.

Adjusting Insulin Dosage

For those who use insulin, adjusting their dosage may be necessary when experiencing high blood sugar. However, any changes to their insulin regimen should be made under the guidance of their healthcare provider to avoid the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Consulting Your Healthcare Provider

If your blood sugar remains high despite taking your medication and making lifestyle adjustments, consult your healthcare provider. They can help identify underlying causes and adjust your treatment plan as needed.

Dietary Adjustments

Foods to Avoid

Certain foods can cause significant spikes in blood sugar levels. Avoid high-sugar items like sweets, sugary drinks, and refined carbs like white bread and pasta. These foods can quickly raise blood glucose and should be limited or avoided.

Beneficial Foods to Incorporate

Incorporating foods with a low glycemic index (GI) can help manage your blood sugar levels. Focus on eating more vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. These foods release glucose more slowly into the bloodstream, preventing sudden spikes.

Importance of Regular Meals

Skipping meals can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate. Eating regular, balanced meals helps maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day. Include a combination of protein, fiber, and healthy fats in each meal to keep you full and your blood sugar steady.

Long-Term Management Strategies

Consistent Monitoring

Keeping track of your blood sugar levels over time helps you and your healthcare team understand your patterns and make informed decisions about your treatment plan. Use a logbook or app to record your readings and any factors that might have influenced them.

Maintaining a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is vital to managing blood sugar levels. Ensure that you get a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in each meal. Carbohydrate counting can be beneficial for people with diabetes in managing their intake and preventing spikes.

Exercise Routines

Regular physical activity helps your body use insulin more efficiently and can lower your blood sugar. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Find an activity you enjoy, such as walking, swimming, or dancing, and make it a consistent part of your routine.

Dealing with Persistent High Blood Sugar

Recognizing Chronic Hyperglycemia

If your blood sugar levels are frequently above target, you may have chronic hyperglycemia. This condition requires careful management and regular monitoring to prevent complications. Work closely with your healthcare provider to adjust your treatment plan as needed.

Potential Complications

Persistent high blood sugar can lead to various complications, such as neuropathy (nerve damage), retinopathy (eye damage), and nephropathy (kidney damage). Effectively managing your blood sugar can help prevent or delay these issues.

When to Seek Medical Advice

If you cannot bring your blood sugar levels down despite following your management plan, seeking medical advice is essential. Your doctor can provide guidance and adjust your medications or treatment strategy.

Prevention Tips

Regular Health Check-Ups

Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider can help catch any issues early and adjust your management plan as needed. Ensure your blood sugar levels, A1C, and overall health are monitored regularly.

Stress Management Techniques

Stress can significantly impact your blood sugar levels. Incorporate stress-reducing techniques into your daily routine, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or hobbies you enjoy. Managing stress effectively can help keep your blood sugar levels stable.

Understanding Your Body’s Needs

Each person’s body responds differently to foods, activities, and medications. Pay attention to how your body reacts and work with your healthcare provider to tailor your management plan to your needs.

Lifestyle Modifications

Importance of Sleep

Getting enough quality sleep is crucial for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Poor sleep can affect your body’s ability to regulate insulin, leading to higher blood sugar levels.

Reducing Alcohol Intake

Alcohol can cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Limit your intake and continuously monitor your blood sugar after consuming alcohol. Stick to moderate amounts and choose low-sugar options when possible.

Quitting Smoking

Smoking can worsen insulin resistance and increase your risk of complications. Quitting smoking can improve your overall health and help you manage your blood sugar more effectively.

Educational Resources and Support

Diabetes Management Programs

Participating in diabetes management programs can provide valuable education and support. These programs often cover diet, exercise, and medication management, helping you stay informed and proactive about your health.

Support Groups and Online Communities

Joining a support group or online community can provide a sense of camaraderie and shared experience. Connecting with others who understand the challenges of managing high blood sugar can be comforting and motivating.

Reliable Sources of Information

Stay informed with reliable sources such as the American Diabetes Association or your healthcare provider. Be cautious of misinformation, and always consult professionals when making decisions about your health.

Special Considerations

High Blood Sugar in Children

Children with diabetes require careful monitoring and management to ensure their growth and development are not affected. Work closely with pediatric specialists to create a tailored plan that meets your child’s needs.

Pregnancy and Gestational Diabetes

Pregnancy can impact blood sugar levels, leading to gestational diabetes. If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, work with your healthcare provider to monitor and manage your blood sugar to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Elderly Care

Elderly individuals may face unique challenges in managing blood sugar due to other health conditions or medications. Simplifying management plans and ensuring regular check-ups can help maintain stable blood sugar levels in older adults.

Emergency Situations

Signs of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)

DKA is a severe condition when your body breaks down fats too quickly, leading to a buildup of acids in the blood. Symptoms include high blood sugar levels, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fruity-scented breath. Seek emergency medical help if you suspect DKA.

When to Seek Emergency Help

If your blood sugar levels remain incredibly high and you’re unable to lower them with home management strategies, seek emergency medical help. Severe hyperglycemia can lead to serious complications if not treated promptly.

First Aid for Severe Hyperglycemia

It’s essential to get medical help quickly in cases of severe hyperglycemia. Meanwhile, stay hydrated and try to keep calm. Avoid strenuous activities and monitor your blood sugar closely.

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Technological Aids

Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs)

CGMs provide real-time data on your blood sugar levels, helping you monitor trends and make informed decisions about your management plan. These devices can be handy for catching high blood sugar before it becomes a significant issue.

Smartphone Apps for Diabetes Management

There are numerous apps available that can help track your blood sugar levels, diet, and medication. These tools can simplify managing high blood sugar and provide valuable insights into your patterns and progress.

Advancements in Medical Devices

Advancements in medical technology, such as insulin pumps and artificial pancreas systems, offer more precise control over blood sugar levels. Discuss with your healthcare provider if these options might be suitable for you.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?


Managing high blood sugar requires a proactive approach, immediate actions, lifestyle adjustments, and ongoing monitoring. By staying informed and working closely with your healthcare team, you can maintain your blood sugar levels and prevent complications. Remember, each person’s journey is unique, and finding what works best for you is critical to managing your health effectively.

Type 1 vs Type 2 Diabetes


  1. What is considered a dangerously high blood sugar level?
    • Blood sugar levels above 240 mg/dL are considered very high and may require immediate action. If levels exceed 300 mg/dL, seek medical advice promptly.
  2. How often should I check my blood sugar levels?
    • The frequency of checking your blood sugar depends on your management plan. Many people check their levels twice daily, especially before and after meals and physical activity.
  3. Can stress cause high blood sugar?
    • Yes, stress can cause your body to release hormones that increase blood sugar levels. Managing stress is an essential aspect of controlling blood sugar.
  4. Are there any natural ways to lower blood sugar quickly?
    • Drinking water, light exercise, and consuming foods with a low glycemic index can help lower blood sugar levels naturally. However, always consult your healthcare provider for advice tailored to your needs.
  5. What should I do if my blood sugar is high and I feel sick?
    • If you feel unwell and your blood sugar is high, monitor your levels closely and follow your healthcare provider’s guidance. Seek medical attention if your symptoms are severe or persist.