A hyperosmolar state develops
when a person with type 2 diabetes has very high blood sugar—usually 600
milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or more. Sometimes this condition is the first time a person learns that he or she has type 2 diabetes.
A hyperosmolar state can develop when a person is very sick and/or dehydrated, such as from the flu, a severe infection, a heart
attack, or water pills (diuretics). If the
person does not drink enough liquids, he or she may become confused. Older people are at increased risk for
developing a hyperosmolar state.
Symptoms of a hyperosmolar state include:
Increased urination for several
Dehydration, which develops because the person doesn't drink
A change in alertness from generalized fatigue to
stupor, coma, or seizures. These changes may be mistaken for a stroke or mental
Hyperosmolar state is treated in a hospital with insulin to reduce
the blood sugar level and extra fluids through a vein (IV) to replace the lost
The best way to prevent a hyperosmolar state is to treat high blood sugar levels early and drink enough liquids.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator