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
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.