When your blood glucose levels are too high, it can cause hyperglycaemia (hyper).
This can happen if you're:
- less active
- not having enough insulin for the carbohydrate you've eaten
Signs of hyperglycaemia
Speak to your care team if your blood glucose levels are high and you:
- feel very thirsty
- pee more than normal
- feel tired all the time
- lose weight without trying
- have blurred vision
- have fruity-smelling breath
Very high blood sugar levels may cause a serious problem called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
Your body starts to break down fat for energy when there's not enough insulin.
This leads to a build-up of acid (ketones) in your blood. It can be life threatening and should be treated in hospital.
Check for ketones if your blood glucose level is higher than 14mmol/L. Your care team will give you a meter that can test for ketones and a prescription for ketone strips.
DKA can develop quickly, over a few hours. Not taking your insulin, infections and drinking too much alcohol are common triggers for DKA.
When to get medical help
Urgent advice: Speak to your care team, GP or emergency department (ED) immediately if
your glucose level is high and you:
- feel sick or vomiting
- have ketones in your blood or pee
- have tummy pain
- are breathing rapidly
- are dehydrated
- are struggling to stay awake
You probably need treatment in hospital. Do not delay in seeking medical attention.
If your blood ketone level is above 0.6mmol/L, follow the advice from your diabetes team. You might need more insulin.
Emergency action required: Go to your nearest emergency department (ED) if:
- your ketone level is above 3.0mmols
This is a medical emergency.
If you need to call an ambulance Dial 112 or 999 and ask the operator to put you through to the ambulance service.