Understanding Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemia

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So you have been diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus? You may feel devastated at this very moment but certainly, feeling depressed and hopeless won’t do you any good. Getting to know more about this certain disease, its types, treatment methods, and the like is very important for a diabetic’s healthy and normal functioning.

Diabetes Mellitus occurs when a person’s insulin level is absent or deficient. Insulin serves as the key for the glucose in our blood to enter the cellular environment where it will be used to power up the cells. With a deficiency or absence of insulin, glucose cannot enter the cells and therefore cannot be metabolized. The amount of glucose in our blood accumulates leading to a high level of blood sugar.

Basically, there are two types of Diabetes Mellitus—Type I or Insulin Dependent and Type II or Non Insulin Dependent. Type I Diabetes Mellitus is caused by the predominant inability of the pancreas to produce insulin—which means there is an absolute absence of insulin. Type II Diabetes Mellitus is called Non-insulin dependent DM in which the production of insulin is deficient, but there is the presence of insulin in the blood.

Each type of Diabetes Mellitus has a specific complication—both of them are fatal. For Type I DM, DKA or Diabetic Ketoacidosis occurs. As for Type II DM, the fatal complication that may arise is called HHNK Syndrome or Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Non-Ketotic Syndrome, orsimply Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemia.

How Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemia Occurs?

Hyperosmolar hyperglycemia occurs with three cardinal situations—an extremely high blood sugar level, extreme dehydration or lack of body fluids and a low level of consciousness.

In the normal physiology, our kidneys are organs which compensate in case our body has a high amount of glucose. It does its job by allowing an amount of glucose to exit our body through our urine. However, without proper hydration and continuous intake of sugary foods, our kidneys won’t be able to get rid of these excess sugars. As a result, our blood sugar levels will further shoot up resulting to a high concentration of blood—giving rise to hyperosmolarity. When our blood becomes hyperosmolar, it has the tendency to rob the fluids out of body organs leading to dehydration of body organs.

Symptoms of Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemia

Confusion and lethargy may happen at an early onset, accompanied with increased urination and increases thirst. Ultimately, coma may happen in a patient with Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemia.

Treatment of Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemia

The main goal of treatment for Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemia is correcting the dehydration. Intravenous fluids as well as potassium chloride may be administered to correct and improve the condition of the body’s hydration status.

Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemia is a medical emergency which means once any of these symptoms present, be sure to contact emergency services for a more immediate form of treatment. Realizing the hyperosmolar hyperglycemia symptoms is very important to avoid complications which may arise such as circulatory failure, acidosis and cerebral edema… and ultimately death. Most of all, the key to preventing Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemia is to properly manage Diabetes Mellitus.



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