Diabetic HHS

1 What is Diabetic Hyperosmolar Syndrome?

Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome is a serious condition caused by abnormally high levels of blood sugar. It usually occurs in people who have type 2 diabetes and is triggered by infection or illness.

This condition requires immediate medical attention. If left untreated, diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome could result in life-threatening dehydration.

2 Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome include:

  • Blood sugar level over 600 mg/dL (33.3 mmmol/L)
  • Excessive thirst and increased urination
  • Dry mouth
  • Warm, dry skin
  • Fever
  • Drowsiness and confusion
  • Hallicunations
  • Vision loss
  • Convulsion
  • Coma

Diabetic hyperosmolar usually develops over a few days to weeks.

3 Causes

Factors that can cause the development of diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome include:

  • Illness or infection
  • Certain medications, such as water pills (diuretics).
  • Inability to follow the diabetic treatment plan.
  • Undiagnosed diabetes.

4 Making a Diagnosis

A physical exam and mental status exam are required for diagnosis of diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome.

Lab tests in which the level of sugar is checked in the blood and determine the function of the kidneys may also be carried out.

5 Treatment

Emergency treatment can correct diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome within hours.

Patients are given intravenous fluids to restore water to the tissues and potassium, sodium or phosphate supplement to help cells to function properly. Insulin can also be given to reduce the level of sugar. Patients with infection or other underlying diseases should be treated for these conditions.

6 Prevention

Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome can be prevented by:

  • Knowing the symptoms of high blood sugar.
  • Monitor blood sugar levels.
  • Following the plan of the treatment of diabetes.
  • Wearing an ID bracelet or or necklace that indicates a person has diabetes..
  • Being up to date with vaccination.
  • Educating loved ones about signs and symptoms of diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome.

7 Risks and Complications

The factors which increase the risk of developing diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome include:

  • Having type 2 diabetes
  • Being older than 65
  • Having an infection or chronic illness, such as congestive heart failure or kidney disease.
  • Certain medications, such as corticosteroids, diuretics and anti-seizure drugs.

The following complications can occur if immediate treatment is not given to a patient with diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome: