Managing Blood Sugar Highs and Lows
What to do when your blood sugar levels rise too high or fall too low
Even if you’re very careful about the things you eat, how much you exercise, and
take your medicines as prescribed, there may be times when your blood sugar levels
climb above or fall below where you and your doctor want them to be. When this happens,
it's called hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
It's important to recognize the telltale signs of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia,
what causes them, and what you can do to treat them. However, the first thing to
remember is not to panic when you have blood sugar readings that are too high or too low, take action.
Blood sugar numbers:
What can drive them up?
What can bring them down?
Insulin and other injectables
Other diabetes medicines
If your blood sugar level climbs too high, you may experience symptoms of hyperglycemia,
which may include:
- Increased hunger
- Blurred vision
- Increased thirst
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss
- Dry, itchy skin
- Frequent infections
- Frequent urination
- Slow-healing cuts or sores
- Tingling/numbness in feet/hands
Hyperglycemia can be caused by simple things, like eating too much food, getting
too little exercise, taking too much medicine, or an illness or stress. The only way to know for sure whether or not you have hyperglycemia is to check your blood sugar level.
How to treat hyperglycemia
Here are some things you can do when your blood sugar levels are too high:
- Work with your doctor to adjust your meal plan or physical activity routine
- Talk to your doctor about adjusting your medicines
- Talk to your doctor about what a high blood sugar level is for you and when you should call.
If your blood sugar level gets too low, you may experience the symptoms of hypoglycemia,
which can include:
Hypoglycemia can result from too little food, or too much exercise, medicine, or alcohol. The only way to know for sure whether or not you have hypoglycemia is to check your blood sugar level.
How to Treat Hypoglycemia—The Rule of 15
If you feel low, check your blood glucose. Is it in your target range? If you're
low, follow the rule of 15.
- Eat 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate, contained in foods such as:
- Hard candies (not chocolate)
- 4 oz (1/2 cup) of juice or regular (not diet) soda
- 4 or 5 saltine crackers
- Wait 15 minutes and check your blood sugar again
- If your blood glucose is still too low, eat another 15 grams of carbs and check
your blood glucose again after 15 minutes. Once your blood glucose level starts
to get back in your target range, you should start to feel better
Hint: Lots of people overtreat themselves when they feel low because they treat
the symptoms and not the glucose level. You may not feel better instantly after
eating your 15 grams of carbs, but remember the rule of 15. You may want to keep
eating until you feel better but that might make your blood glucose shoot way up.
Be patient with your body and give it the full 15 minutes!
If you’re still struggling to get within your target range, contact your healthcare professional.
Do not take Lantus® if you are allergic to insulin or any of the
inactive ingredients in Lantus®.
You must test your blood sugar levels while using insulin, such as Lantus®.
Do not make any changes to your dose or type of insulin without talking to your
healthcare provider. Any change of insulin should be made cautiously and only under
Do NOT dilute or mix Lantus® with any other insulin or solution.
It will not work as intended and you may lose blood sugar control, which could be
serious. Lantus® must only be used if the solution is clear and colorless
with no particles visible. Do not share needles, insulin pens or syringes with
The most common side effect of insulin, including Lantus®, is
low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which may be serious. Some people may
experience symptoms such as shaking, sweating, fast heartbeat, and blurred vision.
Severe hypoglycemia may be serious and life-threatening. It may cause harm to your
heart or brain. Other possible side effects may include injection site reactions,
including changes in fat tissue at the injection site, and allergic reactions, including
itching and rash. In rare cases, some allergic reactions may be life-threatening.
Tell your doctor about other medicines and supplements you are taking because they
can change the way insulin works. Before starting Lantus®, tell your
doctor about all your medical conditions including if you have liver or kidney problems,
are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding or planning to
Lantus® SoloSTAR® is a disposable prefilled insulin
pen. Please talk to your healthcare provider about proper injection technique and
follow instructions in the Instruction Leaflet that accompanies the pen.
Click here for Full Prescribing Information for Lantus®.
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The health information contained herein is provided for general educational purposes
only. Your healthcare professional is the single best source of information regarding
your health. Please consult your healthcare professional if you have any questions
about your health or treatment.