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Hyperglycaemia is the medical term for when someone has a blood glucose level that is too high. The World Health Organisation has defined being hyperglycaemic as having blood glucose levels greater than 7.0 millimoles per litre when not eating, or greater than 11.0 millimoles per litre 2 hours after meals. It most commonly affects people with diabetes, however, it can affect those who don’t have the condition and factors other than eating can bring about hyperglycaemia as well. This includes missing doses of medication, being stressed, being unwell from infection or even overtreating yourself from being hypoglycaemic. Hyperglycaemia is classed as a medical emergency, as it can have serious complications if not dealt with quickly. Serious complications including diabetic ketoacidosis and HHS, but we will go into more details about this later on.

Signs and symptoms of hyperglycaemia include a rapid but weak pulse, dry warm skin, rapid breathing and extreme thirst. Unlike its counterpart hypoglycaemia, a characteristic of hyperglycaemia is a gradual onset of these symptoms and is typically one of the only obvious ways to tell the two apart. You may also notice that the hyperglycaemic person has a very sweet-smelling breath, due to the excess sugar in their system. In terms of First Aid, not much can be done to rectify hyperglycaemia, however, 999 should be immediately called if you suspect this may be the case.