Postprandial Hyperglycemia: Definition and Overview

What is postprandial hyperglycemia?

Postprandial hyperglycemia is an exaggerated rise in blood sugar following a meal. In people who don’t have diabetes, the pancreas secretes some insulin all the time. It increases its output as blood glucose rises after meals. In people with Type 2 diabetes[1], the pancreas can be sluggish about secreting insulin in response to a meal, leading to postprandial hyperglycemia. Postprandial hyperglycemia may account for high hemoglobin A1C[2] (HbA1c) levels in people with otherwise satisfactory blood glucose control.

How to control postprandial hyperglycemia

Postprandial hyperglycemia presents a challenge to people with diabetes who are striving to maintain near-normal blood sugar levels. Insulin regimens of one or two injections of slow-acting insulin each day handle this challenge clumsily: the person must eat when the insulin is peaking, both to avoid hypoglycemia[3] (low blood sugar) and to avoid postprandial hyperglycemia[4]. Multiple injection regimens and insulin pumps provide more flexibility. A person can take regular insulin half an hour to one hour before eating so that the insulin peak and glucose rise coincide. Taking a rapid-acting insulin analog such as insulin lispro (brand name Humalog), insulin aspart (Novolog), or insulin glulisine (Apidra) can allow for even more flexibility and fine-tuning. The Food and Drug Administration approved a new faster-acting form of insulin aspart (Fiasp) in 2017.


Want to learn about additional strategies for managing blood sugar after meals? Read “Strike the Spike II: Dealing With High Blood Sugar After Meals,”[5] “Dealing With After-Meal Blood Sugar Spikes? Don’t Skip Breakfast”[6] and “Walking Significantly Reduces After-Meal Glucose.”[7]

  1. Type 2 diabetes:
  2. hemoglobin A1C:
  3. hypoglycemia:
  4. hyperglycemia:
  5. “Strike the Spike II: Dealing With High Blood Sugar After Meals,”:
  6. “Dealing With After-Meal Blood Sugar Spikes? Don’t Skip Breakfast”:
  7. “Walking Significantly Reduces After-Meal Glucose.”:

Source URL:

Disclaimer Statements: Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.