We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Nonketotic Syndrome?

By D. Jeffress
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome is a potentially serious health problem that can affect type 2 diabetes patients. Complications occur whenever blood sugar levels are very high due to an illness, infection, or poor management of a diabetes treatment regimen. The condition is characterized by extreme dehydration symptoms, fever, weakness, and changes in cognition and vision. Within a few hours or days, a person can experience shock or slip into a diabetic coma. Emergency treatment with intravenous (IV) fluids and insulin is vital to prevent life-threatening complications.

Type 2 diabetes impairs the body's ability to extract and process glucose sugars from the bloodstream. When blood sugar levels become significantly elevated, the blood thickens and loses water. Concentrations of salts, potassium, and other minerals become very high in the blood as more and more water is removed and excreted by the kidneys. The result is severe dehydration and the onset of hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome.

Most diabetic people are able to manage their blood sugar levels with insulin, medications, and careful diet and exercise habits. When the body is under a great deal of stress, however, levels can rise sharply and suddenly. Severe illnesses, viral infections, and extreme anxiety can all potentially trigger hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome. Middle-aged and elderly diabetics are at a higher risk of developing symptoms of very high blood sugar than younger people.

In most cases, the first symptoms of hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome include dry mouth, excessive thirst, weakness, and frequent urges to urinate. A person may also develop a fever and feel very warm to the touch. He or she might begin to feel very sleepy and confused, and start having audible or visual hallucinations. Vision loss, extreme mental sluggishness, and full-body convulsions are possible complications as well. Without treatment, an individual can enter a comatose state.

A person who shows possible signs of hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome needs to be hospitalized and treated immediately. A health-care team can provide IV fluids to rehydrate the body and insulin to bring blood sugar levels back into the normal range. Additional treatment in the form of oxygen therapy and kidney dialysis may be needed. Blood and urine samples are collected during treatment so laboratory personnel can confirm the diagnosis of hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome.

Once the patient is stable, he or she is usually kept in the hospital for several days for careful monitoring. Additional tests may be needed to check for underlying infections and other health problems that might have triggered the onset of symptoms. It is important for hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome patients to attend regular checkups and carefully manage their blood sugar levels at home to reduce the chances of future episodes.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.