Understanding Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

May 29, 2023 by Adhip

Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome (HHS) is a dangerous medical disorder characterized by abnormally high blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetic patients. Although less prevalent than diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), HHS is dangerous and requires immediate medical intervention. Thus, This article will look at the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for HHS, providing light on this sometimes misunderstood disorder.

What is the definition of Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Syndrome? 

Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome is a type 2 diabetes condition that primarily affects older people. It happens when blood sugar levels get dangerously high (usually greater than 600 mg/dL) and the body becomes extremely dehydrated. In contrast to DKA, HHS does not entail ketone accumulation.

Causes and risk factors include: HHS development can be influenced by several circumstances, including:

Insulin sensitivity: The body’s diminished insulin sensitivity results in inadequate glucose utilization.

Inadequate fluid intake: Dehydration, a characteristic of HHS, can be exacerbated by insufficient fluid intake.

Infection or illness: Conditions like pneumonia or urinary tract infections can cause HHS.

Noncompliance with medication: 

Diabetes prescriptions or insulin therapy can be skipped, increasing the risk of HHS.

Recognizing the Signs: 

HHS symptoms might appear gradually over days or even weeks. It is critical to be aware of the following warning signs:

  • Dry mouth and extreme thirst
  • Urination regularly
  • Vision distortion
  • Dehydration is severe.
  • Confusion or a change in mental condition
  • Weakness or exhaustion
  • Skin dehydration
  • A fast heartbeat

Diagnosis of HHS: 

Healthcare professionals will check blood sugar levels, do blood tests, and analyze electrolyte abnormalities to diagnose HHS. They may also perform urine tests to evaluate kidney function. It is critical to distinguish HHS from DKA since their treatment techniques differ.

Treatment Alternatives: HHS treatment often entails:

Fluid substitution: To rehydrate the body and restore electrolyte balance, delivers intravenous fluids.

Insulin therapy: Regular insulin can be intravenously to progressively lower blood sugar levels.

Addressing the root causes: It is critical to identify and treat any underlying illnesses or diseases that are contributing to HHS.

Vital signs monitoring: During treatment, there should be regular monitoring of blood pressure, heart rate, and renal function.

Self-care and prevention: 

Maintaining appropriate diabetes control techniques is essential for preventing HHS:

Monitor blood sugar levels regularly and seek medical assistance if they are continuously high.

Follow your doctor’s advice when taking diabetic medications.

Maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated.

Seek medical attention right away if you see any signs of infection or illness.


Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome is a potentially fatal illness that can arise in people with type 2 diabetes. Recognizing symptoms, obtaining immediate medical attention, and adopting appropriate treatment can significantly improve outcomes. Also, Individuals with diabetes can take proactive steps to prevent HHS and maintain optimal health by learning about its causes, symptoms, and treatment choices.

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