The quickest way to lower your blood sugar is to take fast-acting insulin. Exercising is another fast, effective way. However, in severe cases, you should go to the hospital.

High blood sugar levels are known as hyperglycemia or high blood glucose. It can result in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), when insulin levels are low. DKA typically occurs in type 1 diabetes.

DKA is a medical emergency. Symptoms include:

If you’re not sure what to do, call your doctor for instructions on administering a dose of insulin and for advice about whether to go to the emergency room.

This article looks at ways to lower your blood sugar quickly, when to go to the emergency room or visit a doctor, and tips for managing high blood sugar.

When treated early, you can bring high blood sugar levels down and prevent complications, including DKA.

Some sources suggest that drinking water or eating a high protein snack can quickly lower your blood sugar levels, though there’s not enough research to support this.

If you have high blood sugar and need to lower it fast, try the following methods:

Take your insulin as prescribed

High blood sugar occurs when your body has too little insulin, or your body can’t use insulin properly. Administering insulin can bring your blood sugar levels down.

Talk with your doctor about how much rapid-acting insulin you should administer when your blood sugar is high.

You may want to check your blood sugar a minimum of 30 minutes after taking insulin to make sure your blood sugar is going down and that it’s not dropping too low.

In these instances, you should not administer more correction insulin until at least 3 hours later to prevent insulin stacking and hypoglycemia.


Exercise is a fast and effective way to lower blood sugar levels. Exercise can lower your blood sugar for 24 hours or more. This is because it makes your body more sensitive to insulin.

Physical activity causes the body to demand glucose for energy. As a result, the cells deliver glucose to the muscles and blood sugar levels usually drop.

Importantly, if your blood sugar is above 240 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), check your urine for ketones. If ketones are present, do not exercise. Doing so can make your blood sugar rise even higher.

While exercise is an effective way to lower your blood sugar throughout the day, some exercises — particularly short bursts of strenuous activity — can briefly increase blood sugar levels.

This is because strenuous activity activates the body’s stress response, causing a release of glucagon to power the muscles.

According to the University of Michigan, blood sugar levels of 300 mg/dL or more can be dangerous. The university recommends to call a doctor if you have two readings in a row of 300 mg/dL or more.

Call your doctor if you’re worried about any symptoms of high blood sugar. They can offer advice and reassurance.

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar levels. Symptoms of this include:

  • consistently high blood sugar readings
  • frequent urination
  • increased thirst
  • high levels of sugar in urine

Ask your doctor how often to check your blood sugar and your ideal blood sugar levels.

High blood sugar can be very concerning because your body can start burning fat for energy instead of blood glucose.

This can cause DKA, which is a medical emergency. It can be fatal if left untreated.

Symptoms that can indicate you should go to the emergency room include:

DKA is a serious complication of type 1 diabetes. It’s rare in people with type 2 diabetes but can still occur.

When to call 911

If you or someone around you is experiencing any of the above symptoms in relation to diabetes, call 911 or take them to the nearest emergency room. Prompt treatment can enhance outcomes.

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Checking your blood sugar and then treating hyperglycemia early can help prevent any complications.

Health problems can arise when someone has high blood sugar regularly and without treatment.

Examples of complications include:

  • nerve damage, called diabetic neuropathy, that may affect sensations in the feet and hands
  • diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the blood vessels in the eyes that affects vision
  • increased risks of kidney problems
  • increased risks of heart problems

Taking steps to keep your blood sugar at target levels can help minimize the likelihood that these complications will occur.

Find tips for avoiding blood sugar spikes.

Here are some general guidelines for blood sugar ranges:

Blood sugarWhat to know
70 mg/dL or lowerHypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Eat a snack to raise blood sugar (e.g., 1/2 cup fruit juice, 1 tbsp honey, or 2 tbsp raisins).
80–130 mg/dLIdeal preprandial range (before a meal).
180 mg/dL or lowerIdeal postprandial range (1–2 hours after beginning a meal).
240 mg/dL or higherCheck your urine for ketones. Call your doctor if you find moderate amounts of ketones after more than one test.

Read more about blood sugar monitoring.

Most people can manage their diabetes in a way that stops their blood sugar levels from ever getting too high. The following tips can help:

How do you reverse hyperglycemia?

Hyperglycemia associated with type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease, so healthcare professionals prefer to use the term “remission” rather than “reversed” or “cured.”

Doctors consider type 2 diabetes to be in remission if your blood sugar levels remain in range for at least 3 months without the use of glucose-lowering medications.

Talk with your doctor about whether it’s possible to put your type 2 diabetes into remission and how to do so.

Should you give sugar to someone with hyperglycemia?

Giving sugar to someone with hyperglycemia will not immediately worsen the condition. However, the best plan is to take insulin to bring your blood sugar levels down. Talk with your doctor about how much insulin you should take for instances like this.

It’s also a good idea to check your blood sugar levels about 30 minutes after taking insulin to make sure they’re going down and not dropping too low.

How can I lower my hyperglycemia naturally?

High levels of blood sugar, known as hyperglycemia, happens when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin effectively. Here are some lifestyle strategies to lower your blood sugar levels naturally:

  • Exercise regularly: Regular exercise helps improve your body’s insulin sensitivity so your cells make better use of the sugar in your blood.
  • Manage your carb intake: A low carb diet helps prevent sugar spikes.
  • Add fiber to your diet: Fiber slows your body’s absorption of carbs and sugar.
  • Drink water: Water helps flush out excess sugar from your kidneys.
  • Manage stress: Stress can affect your blood sugar levels. Yoga, meditation, and other relaxation techniques can help.
  • Get enough sleep: Sleep deprivation can increase your appetite and cortisol levels, promoting weight gain.

Is blood glucose of 170 hyperglycemia?

For a diagnosis of hyperglycemia, your blood sugar needs to be higher than 125 mg/dL while fasting and higher than 180 mg/dL 2 hours after a meal. This means that 170 mg/dL could be considered hyperglycemia if it occurs while you fast.

Is 140 a hyperglycemia?

A blood sugar level of 140 mg/dL could also mean hyperglycemia if your blood sugar is at this level while you fast.

What should I do if my blood sugar is 250?

If your blood sugar is at 250 mg/dL, check your urine for ketones. Call your doctor if you find some in more than one test. You can buy an over-the-counter urine test kit at your local drugstore.

If you’re experiencing symptoms such as high blood sugar with vomiting and extreme thirst, go to the emergency room. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) requires immediate medical treatment.

Administering insulin and exercising are two of the most common ways to get blood sugar levels down.

However, if someone has ketones in their urine or symptoms of excessively high blood sugar, they may need to go to the emergency room.