Dealing with Hyperglycaemia (High Blood Sugar)

leigh74005 megan155 RickGrimes 623 Users are discussing this topic
SJA Logo Small

This leaflet is created from first aid advice provided by St John Ambulance, the nation's leading first aid charity. This advice is no substitute for first aid training - find a training course near you.

High blood sugar levels (hyperglycaemia) over a long period can result in unconsciousness. Usually the person will drift into this state over a few days. Hyperglycaemia requires urgent treatment in hospital.

  • Warm, dry skin.
  • Rapid pulse and breathing.
  • Fruity/sweet breath.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • If untreated, drowsiness, then unconsciousness.

Your aim is to arrange urgent removal of the person to hospital.

  • Dial 999/112/911 for an ambulance.
  • Monitor the level of response and look for any other possible causes.

If the person is unconscious:

  • Open the airway and check breathing (primary survey).
  • Give chest compressions and rescue breaths if necessary.
  • If the patient loses consciousness but is still breathing normally place them in the recovery position.
  • Dial 999/112/911 for an ambulance.
  • Monitor and record the levels of response, pulse and breathing.

Note: these hints are no substitute for thorough knowledge of first aid. St John Ambulance holds first aid courses throughout the country.

Adapted from the St John Ambulance leaflet: diabetic emergency. Copyright for this leaflet is with St John Ambulance.

Original Author:
St John Ambulance
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
St John Ambulance
Document ID:
28678 (v1)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
Now read about Assessment of the Patient with Established Diabetes

Did you find this health information useful?

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback!

Subcribe to the Patient newsletter for healthcare and news updates.

We would love to hear your feedback!

Patient Access app - find out more Patient facebook page - Like our page