Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar States (HHS)
HHS is a life-threatening emergency associated with very high blood sugars (greater than 600 mg/dl), that occurs in people with type 2 diabetes, mostly elderly people.
The dangerous chain of events that causes HHS
- Starts with high sugars that lead to excessive urination and dehydration.
- The dehydration is due to loss of excess water with high amount of sugar in urine.
- The imbalance causes the blood to become more concentrated and the blood sugar to rise even more.
- The higher the blood sugar the more the body tries to dispose of the excess sugar in the urine, which just worsens the dehydration.
- Ultimately the person has very high blood sugars and is very dehydrated and is confused or in a coma (unconscious).
Signs and symptoms of HHS include:
- Urination may be frequent at first, but then decrease.
- Severe dehydration.
- You may become very thirsty.
- Your urine will become very dark.
Warning signs and symptoms of HHS include:
- a blood sugar level of over 600 mg/dl,
- a dry thirsty mouth,
- extreme thirst that may gradually disappear,
- warm dry skin that does not sweat,
- fever over 101° Fahrenheit,
- sleepiness or confusion,
- vision loss,
- seeing or hearing things that are not there, weakness on one side of the body.
You can prevent HHS by
- Checking your blood glucose levels regularly.
- Drink plenty of liquids to remain hydrated.
- HHS is a life-threatening medical emergency requiring hospitalization.