First aid treatment for high blood sugar

Understanding first aid treatment for high blood sugar

High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, is a critical medical condition affecting millions worldwide. As a leader in healthcare compliance, The Mandatory Training Group recognises the importance of understanding first aid treatment for high blood sugar. In this blog, Rose delves into key definitions, regulations, and best practices to equip you with essential knowledge for managing hyperglycemia emergencies effectively.

Key facts and statistics

  • Globally, over 463 million adults live with diabetes, with projections reaching 700 million by 2045 (International Diabetes Federation).
  • Uncontrolled hyperglycemia can lead to severe complications, including diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state, which are medical emergencies requiring immediate intervention.
  • In the UK, approximately 3.9 million people are diagnosed with diabetes, with a further estimated 1 million undiagnosed cases (Diabetes UK).

Key definitions

  • High blood sugar (Hyperglycemia) - Elevated levels of glucose in the bloodstream, typically exceeding 180 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL).
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) - A life-threatening complication of diabetes resulting from insulin deficiency, characterised by hyperglycemia, ketosis, and metabolic acidosis.
  • Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State (HHS) - A severe condition marked by extremely high blood glucose levels, dehydration, and altered consciousness, often seen in type 2 diabetes.

Relevant legislation, regulations, and best practice

  • The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 (UK) mandate employers to provide adequate first aid training and facilities, including knowledge of managing medical emergencies such as hyperglycemia.
  • The Resuscitation Council (UK) offers guidelines on managing diabetic emergencies, emphasising prompt recognition, glucose monitoring, and appropriate first aid interventions.
  • Best practice dictates immediate assessment of the individual's level of consciousness, administration of fast-acting carbohydrates (e.g., glucose gel or tablets), and prompt medical assistance for severe cases.

Recognising hyperglycemia symptoms

  • Headache, blurred vision, and excessive thirst are common early signs of hyperglycemia.
  • In advanced cases, individuals may exhibit rapid breathing, fruity breath odour, and confusion.

First aid response

  • Assessment - Evaluate the individual's level of consciousness and blood glucose levels if possible.
  • Administer fast-acting carbohydrates - Provide glucose gel or tablets orally for conscious individuals to raise blood sugar levels swiftly.
  • Seek medical assistance - Contact emergency services for further evaluation and management, especially in altered consciousness or deteriorating condition.


  • Employers should ensure staff receive regular first aid training, including recognising and managing hyperglycemia emergencies.
  • Individuals with diabetes should carry identification indicating their condition and treatment preferences, facilitating prompt first aid intervention if needed.


Understanding first aid treatment for high blood sugar is paramount in safeguarding individuals with diabetes against potential complications. Adhering to established guidelines and best practices can mitigate the risks associated with hyperglycemia emergencies and promote better outcomes for all.

Equip your workforce with essential first aid skills. Click here to enrol in our comprehensive first aid training courses and qualifications today and take the first step towards ensuring a safer workplace environment.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

Understanding first aid treatment for high blood sugar - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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