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High Blood Sugar (Hyperglycemia) (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

If hyperglycemia persists for at least two or three days, or if ketones appear in the urine, call a doctor.

Generally, people with diabetes should test their blood sugar levels at least four times a day: before meals and at bedtime (or following the schedule advised by the prescribed individual diabetes care plan). The urine should be checked for ketones any time the blood sugar level is over 250 mg/dL.

When blood sugar stays high despite following a diabetic diet and plan of care, call the nurse, diabetes health educator, or physician for adjustments in the diet.

If blood sugars are high because of illness, check for ketones and contact a health professional.

Seek immediate medical care for these conditions:

  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Sleepiness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dehydration
  • Blood sugar levels that stay above 160 mg/dL for longer than a week
  • Glucose readings higher than 300 mg/dL
  • The presence of ketones in the urine

Ketoacidosis or diabetic coma is a medical emergency. Call 911 for emergency transport to a hospital or similar emergency center.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/2/2014

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State »

Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS) is one of two serious metabolic derangements that occurs in patients with diabetes mellitus and can be a life-threatening emergency.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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