Diabetic Hyperosmolar Syndrome

Diabetic Hyperosmolar Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome is a major condition caused by very high blood sugar levels. The condition most frequently takes place in individuals with type 2 diabetes. It’s often set off by disease or infection.

As a result of diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome, your body tries to rid itself of the excess blood sugar by passing it into your urine. Left neglected, diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome can result in lethal dehydration. Trigger healthcare is vital.


Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome can take days or weeks to establish. Possible signs and symptoms consist of:

  • Blood glucose level of 600 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or 33.3 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) or greater
  • Excessive thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased urination
  • Warm, dry skin
  • Fever
  • Drowsiness, confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Vision loss
  • Convulsions
  • Coma

When to see a doctor

Consult your doctor if your blood sugar is constantly greater than the target variety your doctor advises, or if you have signs or symptoms of diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome, such as:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Warm, dry skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Fever

Look for emergency situation care if:

  • Your blood sugar level is 400 mg/dL (22.2 mmol/L) or greater and does not improve regardless of following your doctor’s instructions for treatment. Do not wait until your blood sugar is high enough to cause diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome.
  • You have confusion, vision modifications or other signs of dehydration.


Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome might be activated by:

  • Disease or infection
  • Not following a diabetes treatment plan or having an inadequate treatment plan
  • Certain medications, such as water pills (diuretics)

Sometimes undiagnosed diabetes leads to diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome.

Risk factors

Your risk of establishing diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome might be greater if you:

  • Have type 2 diabetes. If you don’t monitor your blood sugar or you do not yet understand you have type 2 diabetes, your risk is greater.
  • Are older than age 65.
  • Have another chronic health condition, such as heart disease or kidney disease.
  • Have an infection, such as pneumonia, a urinary tract infection or a virus, which causes your blood glucose levels to rise.
  • Take certain medications. Some drugs — such as corticosteroids (prednisone), diuretics (hydrochlorothiazide and chlorthalidone) and the anti-seizure medication phenytoin (Dilantin).


Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome can lead to:

  • Seizures
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Coma

Without timely treatment, diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome can be fatal.

See also: Diabetic Coma: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention

Tests and medical diagnosis

For diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome, timely diagnosis is crucial. The emergency medical team will do a physical and psychological status test and may ask those who are with you about your medical history.

Laboratory tests

You’ll likely have blood and urine tests to measure your blood sugar level and kidney function and to discover infection, among other conditions.

Treatments and drugs

Emergency treatment can fix diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome within hours. Treatment generally includes:

  • Intravenous fluids to counter dehydration
  • Intravenous insulin to lower your blood sugar levels
  • Intravenous potassium, and occasionally sodium phosphate replacement to help your cells work correctly

If you have an infection, or an underlying health condition, such as heart disease or kidney disease, these conditions will be treated, as well.


Excellent daily control of your diabetes can help you prevent diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome.

  • Know the symptoms of high blood glucose. Be alert for the warning symptoms of high blood glucose, in addition to the situations that put you at risk of developing hyperosmolar syndrome, such as health problem or infections.
  • Monitor your blood sugar level. Tracking will help you stay in your target range and alert you to harmful highs. Ask your doctor how frequently you should test your blood glucose. Display more frequently when you’re sick.
  • When you’re sick, drink plenty of liquids. Drink a glass of nonalcoholic, caffeine-free drink hourly until you can ask your doctor for recommendations.
  • Follow your diabetes management plan. Eat nutritious meals, take medications as directed and workout routinely.
  • Inform your loved ones, pals and co-workers. Teach people you hang around with to acknowledge early signs and symptoms of blood sugar extremes — and to summon emergency assistance if you pass out.
  • Wear a medical ID bracelet or locket. If you’re unconscious, the ID can offer important info to others, consisting of emergency personnel.
  • Stay current on vaccinations. Get a yearly flu shot and ask your doctor if you need the pneumococcal vaccine, which safeguards versus some types of pneumonia.

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