Diabetic Hyperosmolar Syndrome

Never heard of it? Protect yourself with the facts.

Health Monitor Staff
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Diabetic Hyperosmolar Syndrome

Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome is a condition that occurs when blood sugar levels are excessively high, causing blood to achieve a syrupy consistency.

Why it’s serious: If it’s not treated, diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome can lead to life-threatening dehydration.

Who’s at risk: The syndrome is more common in people with type 2 diabetes who are middle-aged or older. Your risk is greater if you have another chronic condition, like congestive heart failure or kidney disease. It’s often triggered by illness or infection, such as pneumonia or a virus.

What the signs are: Extreme thirst and dry mouth, increased urination, warm, dry skin with no sweating, and/or a high fever. Call your healthcare provider.

It’s an emergency—call 911!—when... you experience a blood sugar level over 600 mg/dl, sleepiness or confusion, vision loss or changes, or hallucinations and/or weakness on one side of your body. Your healthcare team will likely administer intravenous fluids and potassium to restore hydration and insulin to lower blood sugar levels.

Prevent it by... keeping blood sugars in your target range, and creating a sick-day plan to keep blood sugars stable when you’re fighting infection and other illness.

April 2014