yperglycemia is high blood glucose, and all people with diabetes have it at some time or another. People with hard-to-control diabete, or those who neglect their control, probably experience periods of hyperglycemia every day. Once diabetes has been diagnosed, severe hyperglycemia is usually caused by missing, miscalculating or mistiming doses of insulin or oral medication or by overeating or drinking.

Sometimes hyperglycemia comes and goes with few symptoms. When symptoms occur, they are the same as those evident when diabetes was first diagnosed:

  • Increased urination (polyuria)
  • Increased thirst (polydipsia)
  • Weight loss despite increased appetite (polyphagia)
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Increased susceptibility to infections, particularly yeast infections
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Hyperglycemia can be diagnosed by the person with diabetes through home testing or by the doctor with the results of glycosylated hemoglobin testing. In home blood glucose testing, levels above 200 mg/dL are definitely high and should be treated with adjustments in diet and medications. Values for abnormal glycosylated hemoglobin depend on what specific test is used.

One of the primary goals of diabetes management is to learn how to prevent hyperglycemia by balancing insulin or oral medication with food and exercise. This is accomplished by conscientious monitoring and responding to results of monitoring with appropriate adjustments of medication or food. Existing hyperglycemia can be controlled with insulin or oral medications.

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If you experience continuing episodes of hyperglycemia, consult with your doctor so that your medication doses can be recalculated. If your urine shows larger than moderate ketones, you should also call your doctor.

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