Hyperglycemia vs. Hypoglycemia

Hyperglycemia vs hypoglycemia chart

Hyperglycemia vs hypoglycemia

What is Hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia is a condition of lower-than-normal blood sugar. It is most common among people with diabetes. Although diabetes is a condition with high blood sugar and the goal of diabetes treatment is to lower blood sugar, sometimes blood sugar can dip too low and cause hypoglycemia. 

It is important to be able to recognize hypoglycemia and treat it, as well as how to lower your risk for it through good self-management and healthy living. Here is some information on hypoglycemia, and Lark Diabetes Care can help you put it into practice on a daily basis. Hypoglycemia is a condition with lower-than-normal blood sugar or blood glucose.

What is Hyperglycemia?

Hyperglycemia occurs when your blood sugar level is higher than normal. Diabetes is a chronic condition with hyperglycemia. If you have diabetes, your goals for management include lowering blood sugar consistently. To have a diagnosis of diabetes, you need to have high blood glucose or high glycated hemoglobin (A1C), which is a longer-term indicator of your average blood sugar levels. In other words, with diabetes, you have chronic high blood glucose. In prediabetes, blood sugar is higher than normal but not as high as in diabetes.

Your Hyperglycemia vs Hypoglycemia Chart

Hyperglycemia Hypoglycemia
What it is
High blood glucose
Low blood glucose
Blood glucose level
Fasting: > 130 mg/dl

Post-prandial (after eating): > 180 mg/dl

Possibility of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) > 250 mg/dl

Possibility of diabetic hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome (HHS) > 600 mg/dl
Level 1: < 70 mg/dl and ≥ 54 mg/dl

Level 2: < 54 mg/dl
Possible causes
  • Infection or cold
  • Going off diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Nonadherence to medications
  • Stress
  • Side effect of certain diabetes medications
  • Skipped or delayed meals, or eating fewer carbohydrates than usual
  • Increasing physical activity levels
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Possibly none
  • Thirst, urination
  • Fatigue, hunger, and weight loss
  • Vision problems
  • Neuropathy
  • Kidney and heart trouble
  • Shakiness
  • Sweatiness or rapid heart rate
  • Hunger
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Weakness
Other Concerns
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome (HHS)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Linked to higher A1C
What to Do (ask your doctor)
  • Adjust medications
  • Drink water
  • Exercise
  • Have a high-protein snack
Level 1: take 15 grams of fast-acting carbs and recheck blood glucose in 15 minutes

Level 2: Glucagon administration
Follow-up and Prevention
  • Follow good diabetes self-management practices
  • Check with doctor if it persists
  • Be extra vigilant to prevent recurrence within weeks
  • Follow good diabetes self-management practices

Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Assistant Professor of Public Health