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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam

What does it mean when a Glucometer says Hi (High)?

If you have diabetes, you need to check your blood glucose (sugar) levels regularly to monitor your condition and manage it better. A glucometer is a device that you can use at home to measure your blood glucose level using a drop of blood from your finger. But what does it mean when a glucometer says Hi (High) instead of showing a number? Let’s find out.

What is a Hi (High) reading on a glucometer?

A Hi (High) reading on a glucometer means that your blood glucose level is very high, exceeding the maximum range that the device can measure. Most glucometers can measure blood glucose levels up to 600 mg/dL or 750 mg/dL, depending on the model. If your blood glucose level is higher than that, the device will display Hi (High) instead of a number.

A Hi (High) reading on a glucometer indicates that you have severe hyperglycemia, which is a serious condition that can lead to complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS), or coma. Severe hyperglycemia can be caused by various factors, such as:

  • Eating too much carbohydrate-rich food

  • Taking too little insulin or medication

  • Having an infection or illness

  • Being stressed or emotional

  • Having a malfunctioning glucometer or test strip

What should you do if your glucometer says Hi (High)?

If your glucometer says Hi (High), you should take the following steps:

  • Recheck your blood glucose level with another test strip or another device to confirm the result. Sometimes, the device or the test strip may be faulty or expired, causing an inaccurate reading.

  • If the result is still Hi (High), check your urine for ketones using a urine test strip. Ketones are substances that are produced when your body breaks down fat for energy due to lack of insulin. High levels of ketones in your urine indicate that you have DKA, which is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.

  • Drink plenty of water or sugar-free fluids to prevent dehydration and flush out excess glucose and ketones from your body.

  • Contact your doctor or diabetes care team as soon as possible for advice on how to lower your blood glucose level and treat the underlying cause of your hyperglycemia. You may need to take extra insulin or medication, adjust your diet or exercise, or seek emergency care depending on the severity of your situation.

  • Monitor your blood glucose level closely until it returns to your target range. Follow the instructions and recommendations from your doctor or diabetes care team.

How to prevent Hi (High) readings on a glucometer?

To prevent Hi (High) readings on a glucometer, you should:

  • Follow your diabetes management plan, including taking your insulin or medication as prescribed, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly.

  • Check your blood glucose level at least four times a day, or more often if advised by your doctor or diabetes care team. This will help you detect and correct any high or low blood glucose levels before they become severe.

  • Keep track of your blood glucose readings and other factors that affect them, such as food, activity, stress, illness, etc. This will help you identify and avoid any triggers or patterns that cause hyperglycemia.

  • Maintain good hygiene and care for any wounds or infections promptly to prevent them from worsening your blood glucose control.

  • Check the quality and calibration of your glucometer and test strips regularly. Replace them if they are expired, damaged, or contaminated.

  • Consult your doctor or diabetes care team if you have any questions or concerns about testing your blood glucose level or managing your diabetes.

What does it mean when a Glucometer says Hi (High): Summary

A Hi (High) reading on a glucometer means that your blood glucose level is very high, exceeding the maximum range that the device can measure. This indicates that you have severe hyperglycemia, which is a serious condition that can lead to complications such as DKA, HHS, or coma.

If your glucometer says Hi (High), you should recheck your blood glucose level with another device or test strip, check your urine for ketones, drink plenty of water or sugar-free fluids, contact your doctor or diabetes care team as soon as possible, and monitor your blood glucose level closely until it returns to your target range.

To prevent Hi (High) readings on a glucometer, you should follow your diabetes management plan, check your blood glucose level regularly, keep track of your blood glucose readings and other factors that affect them, maintain good hygiene and care for any wounds or infections, check the quality and calibration of your glucometer and test strips, and consult your doctor or diabetes care team if you have any questions or concerns.

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