Treating High and Low Blood Glucose
Many things (including food, physical activity, and medication) can raise or lower blood glucose.
Extreme highs and lows can be dangerous! Some people connect how they feel with having a high
or low blood glucose. Others may not. That’s why you have to check using a blood glucose meter.
Ask your health care provider which numbers outside your target range are dangerous for you.
Low Blood Glucose
Hypoglycemia means that your blood glucose is
too low (for example, 70 mg/dL or lower). A drop
in blood glucose can happen very quickly. You
If you don’t notice symptoms of low blood glucose
or if you have had episodes of severe
hypoglycemia, your health care provider may tell
you to raise your target blood glucose.
If You Feel Symptoms
Always check your blood glucose right away.
If it’s too low:
1. Eat or drink 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate.
This could be 3 or 4 glucose tablets or ½ cup
(4 oz) of fruit juice.
2. Check your blood glucose again after 15 minutes.
If it’s still low, repeat step 1. Check again after
another 15 minutes. If it’s still too low, call your
health care provider right away.
3. Once your blood glucose rises, eat a small
snack if your next planned meal is over half an
High Blood Glucose
Hyperglycemia means that your blood
glucose is too high (for example, 200 mg/
dL). You might experience:
• Increased thirst
• Increased need to urinate
• Increased tiredness
• Blurred vision
If You Feel Symptoms
Always check your blood glucose
right away. If it’s too high:
1. Drink water or other sugar-free liquids
to stay hydrated.
Ask your health
when to call
in case of
2. If you take insulin, you may need to
take an extra dose. Ask your health care
provider for instructions about taking
3. Check at least every 4 hours to make
sure your blood glucose is going down.
Call your health care provider if it
doesn’t go down after two checks, or if
symptoms get worse.
• Sweating or cold, clammy skin
• Dizziness, shakiness, or tingling feeling
• Hard, fast heartbeat, or headache
• Confusion or irritability
Notes for Family and Friends:
It’s important that you learn to recognize the signs of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose), which can come on
quickly. You may need to be prepared to provide glucose tablets or another fast-acting carbohydrate. In some
cases, a special injection (of a hormone called glucagon) is needed if severe hypoglycemia occurs in a person
who uses insulin. You may need to learn how to inject this medication in an emergency.