If you’re one of many Americans with diabetes, you may be familiar with hyperglycemia and its health dangers. Learn more about hyperglycemia, including diabetes management tips and how Medicare covers hyperglycemia and other complications from diabetes.

What is the definition of hyperglycemia?

According to the American Diabetes Association, hyperglycemia is high blood sugar. Blood sugar is also known as glucose. If you have diabetes, hyperglycemia can happen when your body either doesn’t have enough of the hormone insulin, or can’t metabolize insulin properly.

Certain factors may put you at risk for hyperglycemia, according to the Mayo Clinic, including:

  • Not taking enough insulin or injecting it incorrectly
  • Not taking enough oral diabetes medication
  • Not exercising enough
  • Not eating the right foods for diabetes
  • Suffering from an injury or infection

What are the signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia?

According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia may include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Burry vision
  • Headache
  • Tiredness

If think you have signs of hyperglycemia, it’s important to see a doctor for treatment as soon as possible. According to the Mayo Clinic, untreated hyperglycemia can lead to a host of other problems, including damage to the nerves, kidneys, heart, eyes, feet, gums, and teeth.

According to the American Diabetes Association, untreated hyperglycemia can also lead to a dangerous complication called ketoacidosis, which occurs when your body starts breaking down fats that produce a harmful waste product. When these toxic byproducts build up in your blood, it can lead to a life-threatening condition called ketoacidosis that must be treated immediately.

How do doctors treat hyperglycemia?

Doctors can generally diagnose hyperglycemia with a blood test, known as an A1C test, according to the National Library of Medicine. The A1C test measures your average blood glucose levels over the last two to three months.

Emergency hyperglycemia treatment may include either fluid replacement to balance out excess glucose in the blood, or insulin therapy, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, over the long term, keeping your blood sugar within normal levels is the most important way to both prevent and treat hyperglycemia.

Here are diabetes management tips from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully when taking your medications.
  • Monitor your blood sugar frequently to make sure it’s in the normal range.
  • Adjust how much insulin you take if you get a high blood sugar reading.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat the right foods for your diabetes so that your insulin can work properly.

Does Medicare cover hyperglycemia?

Medicare Part A generally covers hospital services if you develop hyperglycemia or ketoacidosis and need emergency hospitalization. Medicare Part B may cover outpatient services, including doctor visits and lab tests to help diagnose hyperglycemia.

Part B doesn’t generally cover insulin or insulin supplies, such as syringes, needles, or insulin pens. Insulin may be covered if it’s medically necessary for you to use an insulin pump. However, you can usually get coverage for insulin and other oral diabetes medications to manage your condition through Part D, Medicare’s prescription drug benefit. Part D coverage is optional, and available through private insurance companies that contract with Medicare.

Medicare may also cover many important screenings and services to help you manage your diabetes and prevent hyperglycemia, including:

  • Diabetes self-management training
  • Blood sugar monitoring supplies
  • Yearly eye exams to check for diabetic retinopathy
  • Foot exams every six months to check for foot problems (a common complication of diabetes)

You can learn more about Medicare coverage of diabetes and find plan options that may work for your situation. Click the Get Quotes button to set up a phone appointment or request an emailed plan information from me.