What is hyperglycemia?

Hyperglycemia is the technical term for high blood glucose (sugar), which happens from time to time to all people who have diabetes. High blood glucose happens when the body has too little insulin or when the body can’t use insulin properly. It is a major cause of complications with diabetes. Generally, fasting levels are above 130 mg/dl and above 180 mg/dl 2 hours after a meal. Symptoms include frequent urination, increased thirst, and weight loss.

You can cope with hyperglycemia by understanding the following concepts:

  • Check blood glucose levels to determine when your level is high.
  • Learn to identify the symptoms of hyperglycemia so you can treat it quickly.
  • When high, lower your blood glucose level by exercising, unless ketones are present in your urine.

Hyperglycemia is a diabetic emergency caused by too much sugar in the blood. This can occur when a person may not have taken enough insulin or when a person reacts adversely to a large meal or a meal high in carbohydrates.

Elizabeth Hamilton
Nursing Specialist

Hyperglycemia refers to a higher-than-normal amount of glucose or sugar within a person's blood. Hyperglycemia affects diabetics and several factors can contribute to its cause. High blood sugar can cause symptoms such as increased thirst, urination, and tiredness. A diabetic may safely treat hyperglycemia by following their physicians recommendations.

Hyperglycemia is when blood glucose levels are too high. Even if people with type 1 diabetes do everything right, sometimes their glucose levels can still be too high or too low. If the levels are too high, they might feel some of the symptoms they had when they were first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, like feeling tired, thirsty, and needing to pee all the time. 

Hyperglycemia is a medical term that means elevated blood sugar. Medical terminology can often be broken into its parts to discern its meaning. "Hyper" means "elevated." The stem "glycem" refers to sugar, and "emia" as a suffix in any medical term means "in the bloodstream." Normally, the blood sugar is tightly regulated by several hormones: chief among them are insulin and glucagon. Blood sugar normally rises after a meal or after the intake of sugar or carbohydrates. This rise in blood sugar signals the pancreas to release insulin, which promptly lowers blood sugar. In people with diabetes, the insulin response is insufficient to bring blood sugar levels down to normal. In type 2 diabetes, this is because the tissues are resistant to insulin and show a blunted response to insulin. In type 1 diabetes, insulin secretion is low or absent altogether.

Dr. Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine Specialist

Hyperglycemia is a medical condition in which someone’s blood glucose (sugar) is tested by blood and found to be higher then the acceptable range. 

Once discovered it must be evaluated by your doctor for further follow up treatment if necessary. 


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.