Hyperglycemia refers to the condition of having a high level of glucose in the bloodstream. This can occur when the body doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its insulin supply appropriately. Everyone with type 1 and type 2 diabetes has experienced hyperglycemia. A primary goal of diabetes treatment is to reduce blood glucose levels to as close to normal as possible. If left untreated for a long period of time, hyperglycemia can result in complications of diabetes such as kidney disease and retinopathy.
Maintaining a normal concentration of blood glucose is key, so people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes need to check their blood glucose levels as advised by their health care providers. A few approaches to lowering persistently high glucose include being more physically active, altering a person's meal plan, or adjusting the dosage of diabetes medications.
People with type 1 diabetes are completely insulin deficient, and their bodies may therefore produce ketones as hyperglycemia sets in, especially if the blood glucose level exceeds 240 mg/dl. This can lead to a condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis, which constitutes a medical emergency. Symptoms of this life-threatening complication are nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, shortness of breath, deep, rapid breathing, and a fruity smell to the breath. A person with type 1 diabetes should test their urine for ketones when his or her blood glucose rises above 240 mg/dl, and should notify a medical professional if ketones are persistently elevated.