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Hyperglycemia is a condition in which your blood sugar is significantly higher than it should be for prolonged periods of time. Most people with diabetes are aware of the dangers of elevated blood sugar. Hyperglycemia can cause symptoms such as nausea, confusion, vomiting, and coma. Even mild symptoms such as frequent urination, blurred vision, and fatigue are unpleasant to live with. To avoid these symptoms, it is important to monitor and control our blood sugar levels.
What do you do if your blood sugar remains high? It may be time to implement some of the following:
Adjust Your Medication
While scheduling a doctor’s appointment, getting the necessary tests performed, and having your prescriptions changed isn’t “easy” per se, switching one drug out for another or adjusting a dosage can be a relatively simple fix compared to many lifestyle changes. Your physician may recommend increasing the dosage or frequency of a medication you’re currently taking or even prescribe a new medication entirely. Some patients may feel nervous about discussing the problems they have managing their conditions or attempt to avoid confronting the issue, but maintaining honest communication about how you’re doing will result in better long-term care. If your medications are no longer effectively managing your blood sugar, tell your physician and allow them to help. If you are an insulin user, adjusting your insulin dosage will help you manage fluctuations in blood sugar.
Get a Monitor
CGM monitors are a highly effective tool to stay on top of blood sugar readings without the hassle of constant finger pricks. A CGM or “Continuous Glucose Monitor” is inserted onto the skin once about every 10-14 days and held on with an adhesive or tape specially made for diabetic sensors. The device continuously reads your blood sugar during that time. New models are compatible with phones and smartwatches to help you conveniently manage your blood sugar in real-time. Having accurate readings throughout the day allows you to adjust your diet, insulin, or activities to maintain a steady blood sugar that’s within a safe range.
If you do decide to use a CGM, you may be interested in our adhesive sensor patches for Freestyle Libre, Omnipod, Medtronic, and Dexcom devices. These adhesive patches are waterproof, hypoallergenic and make it easy to wear a CGM for its full lifespan while maintaining an active lifestyle. A protective patch for your CGM will let you play hard without worrying about it falling out.
This last tip comes from one of our recent collaborators, Lauren Bongiorno. Lauren, like many people with diabetes, struggled with high blood sugar. Lauren was on a plane when she realized that her blood sugar was a little too high since she had sat without moving for hours. As a fitness instructor, she knew that if she were exercising, her blood sugar would drop almost immediately. It was at that moment she got the idea: Physical activity is possible anywhere. Lauren made her way to the airplane bathroom, shut the door, and started doing squats. By the time she finished 50 reps, Lauren’s CGM had shown her blood sugar dropping down to normal levels.
Lauren now uses the Instagram hashtag #t1dsquats to connect with friends and fans doing their own sugar squats to drop blood sugars wherever they are. If you feel your blood sugar is a little high, stop what you’re doing and start squatting! Exercise can lower your blood sugar for up to 24 hours, so a short workout can manage glucose levels for the entire day.
When to Be Worried
These changes may not be effective in an emergency. Because hyperglycemia can lead to serious health problems, it is important to know when to see a doctor. If high blood sugar leads to you feeling confused, short of breath, nauseous and vomiting, or other symptoms of ketoacidosis, you should go to an emergency room and seek medical care.