Diabetic Emergency: Easy Ways to Control High or Low Sugar Levels

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Surajeet Kumar Patra, MBBS, MD, FDIAB, MBA & APMP January 20, 2022

Last updated on September 26th, 2023

The biggest worry when you have diabetes is to maintain diabetes blood sugar levels. But it becomes a more straightforward job if you are aware of what causes diabetes glucose levels to go high or low. Read the article to understand the causes, complications, and the best ways to control blood sugar levels.

What are Blood Sugar levels?

Blood glucose or blood sugars have a significant role in our body’s metabolism. The food we eat during digestion generates glucose is the by-product of that process. Glucose enters the bloodstream. The body cells absorb glucose from the bloodstream for a process of cellular respiration. During cellular respiration, glucose is used to generate energy in the form of ATP molecules.

ATP molecules are the energy currency of the body. Our body uses this energy from ATP for metabolism.

diabetic emergency

Insulin Role and Normal Blood Glucose Levels

When the blood glucose levels are high, the pancreas secretes insulin. Cells absorb glucose from blood with the help of insulin to generate energy.

Our blood maintains a particular blood glucose level. The normal blood glucose levels for any adult are between 90 to 110 mg/dL.

Fasting normal blood glucose levels 70 to 100 mg/dL
After 1 to 2 hours of eating, normal blood glucose levels:  Less than 180 mg/dL
Bedtime normal blood glucose levels 100 to 140 mg/dL.

Insulin helps the cells to absorb glucose. But if the body has sufficient energy, the insulin signals the liver to absorb high blood glucose and store it as glycogen. Thus, insulin regulates maintaining ideal sugar levels or ideal blood glucose levels.


Insulin regulates blood glucose levels. The average or normal blood glucose level of a healthy adult is 90 to 110 mg/dL.

High Blood Sugar Level

Due to specific causes, insulin fails to regulate blood glucose levels. As a result, it causes blood glucose levels to fluctuate. A high blood sugar level is a condition when the blood glucose levels for a non-diabetic person are higher than 180 mg/dL after 2 hours of the meal. Hyperglycaemia is a medical condition when blood sugar levels are high.

Condition Blood sugar levels 
After fasting for 8 hours, high blood glucose levels Above 110 mg/dL
One to two hours after eating, high blood glucose levels:  Greater than 180mg/dL
At Bedtime, high blood glucose levels >140 mg/dL.
High blood glucose requires medical attention 180-250 mg/dL
Very high blood glucose levels- Emergency  >250 mg/dL


High blood sugar levels can be due to numerous reasons. However, the fundamental causes are listed below:

  • Eating a more high-calorie diet and fast-acting carbohydrates
  • Obesity and weight gain issues
  • Less physical activities
  • Having insulin resistance or deficiency- Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Liver ailments and diseases
  • Dehydration
  • Mensuration problems
  • You are not taking insulin and other medicines properly (only if you have diabetes)

The leading cause for high blood sugar levels is diabetes and having weight and eating issues.


High sugar levels or high blood glucose level common symptoms are as follows:

  1. Feeling desire to drink more water
  2. Frequent urination
  3. Experiencing fatigue and stressed out
  4. Having a dry mouth
  5. Experiencing shortness of breath
  6. Feeling fast heartbeat, sweating and anxiety

What are the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes


Due to high blood glucose levels, you may feel thirsty, have a dry mouth, feel anxious, and desire frequent urination.

Low Blood Sugar Levels

When the blood sugar levels fall below 70 mg/dL, it indicates a low blood sugar condition. As a result, the patient may face hypoglycaemic attacks. If left untreated, it can cause serious medical issues like seizures and coma.

The low sugar levels are the same for normal and diabetic patients. Low and critically low glucose levels require immediate attention.

Condition Blood sugar levels
Mild Low glucose levels  71- 90 mg/dL
Low glucose levels 51-70 mg/dL
Critically low Less than 50 mg/dL


Low blood sugar levels are more common in diabetic patients. In addition, but very rare, there are non-diabetic low blood sugar levels.

Low blood sugar levels can be due to numerous reasons. However, the fundamental causes are as follows:

  1. Having an eating disorder: Due to which you are eating less. So less glucose is released.
  2. Type 1 diabetes: Low blood glucose levels are typical in type 1 diabetic patients. But it can occur in type 2 patients who indulge in heavy exercise or overdose of insulins.
  3. Loss of appetite: Decreasing food intake results in low glucose levels.
  4. Taking an overdose of medicines: Taking an overdose of insulin may cause a fall in blood glucose levels.
  5. Heavy consumption of alcohol
  6. More exercise: Doing too much exercise without eating correctly.
  7. Stomach Surgery: Patients who have undergone stomach surgery are prone to low glucose levels. It happens due to the food passing quickly to the intestine.
  8. Enzyme deficiency: Some people have a rare enzyme deficiency that makes it hard for the body to digest food.
  9. Tumours of the pancreas: Any infection of the pancreas or tumours affects insulin production.
  10. Low cortisol and growth hormones: The deficiency of these hormones affect body metabolisms resulting in low blood glucose levels.
  11. Illness: Liver disease, kidney disease, and heart disease may cause low blood sugar levels

Also read:- fitness benefit of zumba


Low sugar levels or high blood glucose level common symptoms are as follows:

  • Numbness  and nervousness
  • Sweating and trembling
  • Dizziness and feeling sleepy
  • Feeling hungry
  • Palpitations
  • Weakness and fatigue

In critically low blood sugar conditions, the patient

  • May not be able to speak or move.
  • there might be a seizures attack
  • The patient can go into a coma.


Low blood glucose levels can cause dizziness, nervousness, unconsciousness, and seizure. It is more common in diabetic patients and rare in non-diabetic patients.

The Need to Control High and Low Sugar Levels

Whether you are diabetic or non-diabetic, sugar control is essential to keep your body fit. It becomes crucial, especially if you are diabetic, as, without proper sugar levels under control, you may face complications associated with diabetes.

For a non-diabetic person fluctuating blood sugar levels may slowly lead to a prediabetic condition and diabetes. Non-diabetic persons rarely feel low blood glucose levels. It may be due to underlying diseases like liver infection, enzyme disorders, and growth hormone disorders.

The complications of fluctuating blood sugar levels are as follows:

  • High:
    1. It can cause nerve damage if left untreated for a longer time.
    2. Increased risks of cardiovascular and heart diseases
    3. Kidney failure due to increased levels of ketones in the body
    4. Eye vision damage due to high blood glucose levels
    5. Memory problems
    6. Slow healing of wounds and foot ulcers
    7. Leg amputations in rare cases due to nerve damage
    8. If levels are above goo mg/dL, it can cause a diabetic coma.
    9. During pregnancy may cause gestational diabetes
  • Low:
    1. Low blood glucose levels harm the brain and its functioning.
    2. Can cause speech disorders
    3. Unconsciousness
    4. Seizures
    5. Coma
    6. Memory loss
    7. Sudden falling may lead to injuries

Thus, a person must maintain blood glucose levels to normal to avoid the above complications.

diabetic neuropathy


Both high and low blood glucose levels, if left untreated, can cause serious medical complications. Thus, proper blood glucose control is essential.

Best Ways to Control Sugar Levels

Any diabetic person is more worried about the question of how to control sugar levels? It may look like a challenging and next to impossible job. But the fact is it through your dedication and positive attitude you can control and manage your blood sugar levels. Here is the best-integrated approach for controlling sugar levels.

This approach integrates the control mechanism of Diet, Lifestyle, Medicine, and Mental domain to help you to manage your sugar levels.

Also Read: Indian Vegetarian Diet Chart for Diabetic Patient

Diet Control

Having proper diet control is the best way to control blood glucose levels for a longer time.

Food Items High blood sugar level recommendation Low blood sugar level recommendation
What to eat
  1. Consume a low glycaemic index diet.
  2. Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and steel-cut oatmeal
  1. Consume fast-acting carbohydrates with a high glycaemic index value.
  2. Take All-natural peanut butter with no added sugar or 15g of raisins.
What to avoid
  1. Don’t eat simple sugar or fast-acting carbohydrates.
  2. Avoid eating Pasta, White bread, and rice.
  3. Don’t eat candies and processed foods.
You should avoid taking chocolates and fatty products as they can cause high and low spikes.
Fruits example Strawberries, Cherries, Citrus fruits Grapes, Pineapple
Vegetable example Eat more green leafy vegetables and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, greens, carrots, etc. Beets, carrots, and Jicama
Drinks Water is the best choice. Dehydration is more common during high blood glucose levels. So drink plenty of water.
  1. Fruit juices like apple juice, orange juice, Applesauce.
  2. For <55 mg/dL, give honey or maple syrup or grape juice.

Lifestyle Control

With a proper lifestyle change, effective management of blood sugar levels can be done. For example, doing physical activities and exercise can regulate blood circulation and help you to manage blood sugar levels.

Key Points:

  • Doing aerobics exercises or exercises that increase heart rate for a long time is good when your blood sugar levels are high. For example, a 15 minutes jog, a 10 minutes aerobic exercise, and 10 to 20 minutes of breathing exercises would help. These exercises increase insulin sensitivity and thus lower blood sugar levels.
  • If your sugar levels are between 100 to 130 mg/dL, you can do mild exercises for a shorter time.
  • Don’t do exercise if your sugar levels are below 100. Instead, have some snacks and take a rest.
  • Be aware intense exercises burn body fat and this, in turn, releases ketones. Thus, the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis increases.
  • If your sugar levels are > 250 mg/dL, don’t exercise because there shall be an increased risk of diabetes ketoacidosis?
  • Get proper sleep. Sleep helps in reducing the amount of sugar in the blood. Thus, it is vital to get adequate sleep each night. It is the best way to help keep blood sugar levels at an average level.

Also Read: Normal blood sugar range

Medicine Control

The blood glucose level generally fluctuates in diabetes. Thus, to control blood glucose levels, consult the doctor and get medicines for your condition.

  • High: If the blood glucose levels are high, doctors may specify insulin therapy and medicines like Glyburide or Sugar Tablets Metformin Glucovance.
  • Low: if the blood glucose levels are low, doctors prescribe either glucose supplements, glucagon, Glimepiride (Amaryl), Glipizide (Glucotrol), Glibenclamide, etc.

metformin 500 tablet usage and side effects

Mental Control

One should be mentally strong to combat all the odds. The same is the case with your health. You should be strong mentally to control any disease opposing sides. Overthinking, anxiety and stress can complicate the issues.

Also read:- food brings happiness

Key Points:

  • Relax: If you have blood sugar level issues like low or high levels, try to relax. Meditation and yoga are the best ways to relax your mind.
  • Avoid stress and tensions. These lead to depression and mental pressure. In addition, it can create complexities, especially when the blood sugar levels are high.
  • Peace to mind. Indulge in activities that bring peace to your mind. For example, breathing exercises, a good sleep, and a morning walk can help you control your mental stress.

Emergency Controlling of Blood Sugar Levels

Sometimes the blood sugar levels may go out of control. Seek immediate medical care for the betterment.

  • High: If the blood sugar levels are > 250, call emergency services. There is a need to give external insulin under a doctor’s care. Any blood sugar levels above 300 may require admission.
  • Low: If the blood sugar levels are < 50, call emergency services. If the patient can speak and talk, try to give 15 grams of rapid-acting carbohydrate lie 100% grape juice or honey syrup. But if unconscious doesn’t place anything in the mouth. Call emergency services.

Also Read: Mango glycemic index

Bottom line

Blood sugar levels vary from time to time in a day. Therefore, it may not affect you unless you maintain normal blood sugar levels. But you should not neglect any of the symptoms of blood sugar variations to avoid complications associated with it.

The best way to control blood sugar levels is to be aware of yourself and have a positive attitude towards life.

Also read:- food chart for sugar patient


Can I have low blood sugar levels if I am not diabetic?

Yes. Generally, low blood sugar levels are more common in diabetic patients, but patients with an eating disorder, deficiency of growth hormones, enzyme deficiency can have low glucose levels.

Does meditation help in controlling blood sugar levels?

Numerous studies have proven the fact that meditation regulates body mood and decreases anxiety and stress. It thus reduces blood glucose levels induced due to pressure. But it cannot be a replacement for medicines and diet control. Therefore, use meditation along with other control mechanisms to control blood sugar levels.

Can I exercise if my blood sugar levels are 80 to 100 mg/dL?

It is generally good to do mild exercises only if your blood sugar levels are greater than 100 mg/dL. Physical activities decrease blood glucose levels. Thus avoid doing exercise if the blood glucose levels are less than 100 mg/dL.

Can I drink fruit juice when my blood sugar levels are high?

Drink plenty of water and avoid fruit juice as they are rich in sugar content.


  1. Diabetes Tests. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/getting-tested.html

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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