What To Do If Blood Sugar Level Is Above 500: Causes and Preventions

Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, is the fuel that keeps our bodies running. It’s a simple sugar derived from the carbohydrates we consume, and it plays a central role in energy production at the cellular level. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is essential for overall well-being. However, when blood sugar levels rise above a healthy range for extended periods, a condition called hyperglycemia develops. This can be particularly concerning for diabetics, but even those without diabetes can experience hyperglycemia. The good news is that hyperglycemia is manageable. Let’s understand the answer: “What to do if blood sugar level is above 500?”

Blood Sugar: Understanding Balance and Managing for Optimal Health

For most people without diabetes, ideal blood sugar levels fall within this range:

  • Before meals: 80 to 130 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter)
  • Two hours after meals: Less than 180 mg/dL

However, blood sugar levels can fluctuate. While occasional spikes are normal, chronically elevated levels or hyperglycemia can pose significant health risks. This is particularly concerning for people with diabetes who have different target ranges set by their doctor. Here’s a breakdown of blood sugar levels and their implications:

  • Below 70 mg/dL: Considered hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and can cause symptoms like dizziness and shakiness.
  • 70 to 130 mg/dL (for non-diabetics): Ideal range for optimal health.
  • 130 to 180 mg/dL: Considered prediabetes, a warning sign for potential future diabetes development.
  • Above 180 mg/dL: Indicates hyperglycemia and requires attention, especially for diabetics.
  • Above 250 mg/dL: Requires close monitoring and may prompt contact with a healthcare professional.
  • Above 400 mg/dL: A critical level, especially for diabetics. Requires immediate medical attention.
  • Above 500 mg/dL: A reading of 500 mg/dL or above is a cause for serious concern. This level of hyperglycemia can be dangerous and requires immediate medical attention, especially for diabetics.

Read More: Top 10 Diabetes Medications

Remember, these are just general recommendations. Since diabetes affects everyone differently, there’s no single “ideal” blood sugar target range. It’s crucial to work closely with your doctor to establish personalised goals based on several factors:

  • Type of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have different treatment approaches and blood sugar management goals.
  • Overall health: Age, weight, and the presence of other health conditions can influence target ranges.
  • A1C level: This blood test reflects average blood sugar control over the past 2-3 months and helps determine treatment effectiveness.
  • Lifestyle factors: Diet, exercise routine, and stress levels all influence blood sugar management.

It’s important to note:

  • Blood sugar levels can fluctuate throughout the day.
  • There will be times when your blood sugar falls outside your target range.
  • The goal is to achieve your targets, but occasional variations are normal.

Read More: Urine Sugar Test and Normal Blood Sugar in Urine Chart

Dangers of High Blood Sugar for Diabetics

For diabetics, chronically high blood sugar impacts their entire body. Here are some dangers of high blood sugar:

  1. Cellular Damage: Over time, consistently elevated blood sugar can damage the tiny blood vessels throughout the body. This can lead to complications in vital organs like
    • Eyes (Retinopathy): Can cause blurred vision, bleeding in the eye, and even blindness.
    • Kidneys (Nephropathy): This can lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis.
    • Nerves (Neuropathy): Can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness, especially in the feet and legs. This can also lead to foot ulcers and infections due to decreased sensation.
    • Heart (Diabetic Heart Disease): Hyperglycemia contributes to the development of atherosclerosis, the hardening and narrowing of arteries. This raises the risk of heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease (PAD), which reduces blood flow to the legs and feet.
  2. Increased Risk of Infections: High blood sugar levels can impair the body’s immune system, making it harder to fight infections. This can lead to more frequent and severe skin infections, urinary tract infections, and pneumonia.
  3. Slow Wound Healing: Hyperglycemia can impair the body’s ability to heal wounds effectively, increasing the risk of infections and delayed healing times. This can be particularly problematic for foot ulcers, a common complication in diabetics.
  4. Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA): In severe cases of hyperglycemia, particularly in Type 1 diabetes, a life-threatening condition called DKA can develop. This occurs when the body lacks sufficient insulin and starts breaking down fat for energy, producing acidic ketones as a byproduct. Symptoms of DKA include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, rapid breathing, and fruity-smelling breath. Untreated DKA can lead to coma and even death.
  5. Sexual Dysfunction: Both men and women with diabetes can experience sexual problems due to nerve damage and reduced blood flow caused by hyperglycemia.

Early detection and management of hyperglycemia are crucial to prevent these complications and safeguard the long-term health of diabetics. Let’s understand how to control sugar levels above 500.

Read More: Know What A1c Test Measures

Blood Sugar 500 or Above: Take Immediate Action!

What to do if blood sugar is 500 or above

A blood sugar reading of 500 mg/dL or higher is serious and requires immediate attention. This level of hyperglycemia can be dangerous and lead to complications if not addressed promptly. Here’s a clear action plan with specific steps you should take:

Test Again

Don’t rely on a single reading. Wash your hands thoroughly, use a fresh test strip, and retest your blood sugar. Sometimes, meter errors can occur. However, even if the second reading is the same, follow the next steps.

Call Your Doctor Immediately

Contact your doctor or healthcare provider right away. Explain your blood sugar reading and any symptoms you’re experiencing. They will provide specific guidance based on your situation and medical history.

Test Your Urine for Ketones

Ketones are a byproduct produced by the body when they break down fat for energy due to a lack of available glucose. High levels of ketones can indicate diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening complication. Use a home urine ketone test kit to check for ketones. If you detect ketones, especially with a high blood sugar reading, this is a medical emergency, and you need to proceed to step 4 immediately.

Call for Emergency Help

If your blood sugar is above 500 mg/dL and you experience any of the following symptoms, call emergency services or proceed to the nearest emergency department:

  • Excessive thirst or dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fruity-smelling breath
  • Confusion or drowsiness
  • Abdominal pain

Remember: Don’t wait for symptoms to worsen before seeking medical attention. A blood sugar reading of 500 mg/dL or higher is a cause for concern, and prompt action is crucial to prevent complications.

Read More: Anti Diabetic Medication/Drugs List to Managing Diabetes

Why Did My Blood Sugar Spike?

Why Did My Blood Sugar Spike?

Persistently high levels of sugar can happen because of any of the following reasons:


  • Sugary Drinks and Foods: These are packed with simple carbohydrates that cause rapid blood sugar spikes. Think sodas, juices, pastries, white bread, and sugary cereals.
  • Refined Carbohydrates: These carbohydrates, like white rice and pasta, are quickly broken down into sugar by the body, leading to blood sugar rises.
  • Large Portions: Even healthy foods can overwhelm your system if consumed in excess. Be mindful of portion sizes to avoid blood sugar spikes.


  • Missed Medication Doses: For diabetics who rely on insulin or other blood sugar-lowering medications, skipping a dose can lead to a significant rise in blood sugar.
  • Medication Side Effects: Certain medications, like steroids or some antidepressants, can raise blood sugar levels as a side effect. Discuss any concerns with your doctor.

Illness and Infection

During disease or infection, the body releases inflammatory hormones that can hinder insulin’s ability to work effectively, leading to higher blood sugar.

Read More: Top 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

Physical Inactivity

Regular physical activity helps your muscles utilise blood sugar for energy, promoting healthy blood sugar levels. Conversely, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to blood sugar buildup.


When stressed, the body releases hormones like cortisol that can raise blood sugar levels. Chronic stress can contribute to hyperglycemia.

Caffeine and Alcohol

  • Caffeine: While the effects are moderate, excessive caffeine intake can cause a temporary rise in blood sugar.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol can interfere with the liver’s ability to regulate blood sugar and can also lead to poor dietary choices, contributing to hyperglycemia.

The Dawn Phenomenon

Early morning hours (around 4 am to 8 am) naturally show a rise in hormones like cortisol, which can cause a temporary increase in blood sugar even in healthy people.

Uncontrolled Blood Pressure

Chronically high blood pressure can contribute to inflammation throughout the body, potentially affecting insulin sensitivity and leading to higher blood sugar levels.

Read More: Top 7 Acupressure Points for Sugar Patient


Managing blood sugar levels is a cornerstone of good health, especially for diabetics. Chronically high blood sugar can lead to many complications. Hence, blood sugar must be proactively managed. Keeping your blood sugar in check requires a multi-pronged approach. Prioritise a healthy diet of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables while limiting sugary drinks and refined carbs. Regular exercise helps your body utilise blood sugar effectively. Don’t skip prescribed medications, and monitor your blood sugar levels as directed by your doctor.  Finally, prioritise stress management techniques and get enough sleep to regularly optimise your body’s natural blood sugar.

By understanding the causes of hyperglycemia and implementing the strategies outlined in this blog, you can take control of your blood sugar and safeguard your well-being.  Remember, you’re not alone in this journey.

Read More: Can Type 1 Diabetes be Reversed With Diet and Exercise?

FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

How can I control my blood sugar level above 500?

Here are some general tips for managing blood sugar:
1. Seek medical attention immediately if your blood sugar exceeds 500 mg/dL.
2. In the long term, consult your doctor for a personalised plan to manage your blood sugar. This may include:
– Diet modifications
– Regular exercise
– Medication, if necessary
– Blood sugar monitoring

Is 500 sugar levels normal or not?

No, a 500 mg/dL blood sugar level is not normal. Healthy blood sugar levels typically fall below 180 mg/dL after meals for non-diabetics.  For diabetics, target ranges are set by their doctor and may be lower. A reading of 500 mg/dL indicates hyperglycemia, requiring medical attention.

Should I go to the hospital if my blood sugar is over 500 mg/dL?

Yes, if your blood sugar reading is above 500 mg/dL, you should seek medical attention immediately. This is especially important if you experience the high blood sugar symptoms listed above.

What are some symptoms of high blood sugar around 500 mg/dL?

Here are some symptoms of high blood sugar, especially when readings are above 500 mg/dL:
– Excessive thirst (polydipsia)
– Frequent urination (polyuria)
Fatigue and weakness
– Blurred vision
– Fruity-smelling breath

My blood sugar level is 500. Is this dangerous?

Yes, a blood sugar reading of 500 mg/dL or higher is dangerous and requires immediate medical attention.  This level of high blood sugar can lead to serious complications if left untreated. Don’t wait for symptoms to worsen. Seek medical help right away.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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