While hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia are both conditions that can occur under diabetes, one cannot have both conditions at the same time. Hyperglycemia means high in blood sugar whereas the latter is low in blood sugar.
People who do not have diabetes can be at risk of these conditions as well, but it is the people with diabetes that can be at a higher risk. Nonetheless, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia are both dangerous conditions so it is important to monitor blood sugar levels to ensure they stay within a healthy range.
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.
What is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia is a condition of lower-than-normal blood sugar or blood glucose. 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.
Your Hyperglycemia vs Hypoglycemia Chart
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
Infection or cold
Going off diet
Nonadherence to medications
Side effect of certain diabetes medications
Skipped or delayed meals, or eating fewer carbohydrates than usual
Increasing physical activity levels
Fatigue, hunger, and weight loss
Kidney and heart trouble
Sweatiness or rapid heart rate
Lack of coordination
Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome (HHS)
Loss of consciousness
Linked to higher A1C
What to Do (ask your doctor)
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
Lark helps you eat better, move more, stress less, and improve your overall wellness. Lark’s digital coach is available 24/7 on your smartphone to give you personalized tips, recommendations, and motivation to lose weight and prevent chronic conditions like diabetes.