Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

December 22 21:02 2019 Print This Article

Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome, or HHNS, is a serious condition most frequently seen in older persons. Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome can happen to people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, but it occurs more often in people with type 2. Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome is usually brought on by something else, such as an illness or infection. Left untreated, HHNS can lead to seizures, diabetic coma or death. People with diabetes should be aware of the signs and symptoms of HHNS.

The condition typically has a slow onset, over several days to weeks, and its initial symptoms are mild. Patients who experience any of the symptoms should contact their physician. HHNS is an emergency requiring immediate medical attention. In HHNS the sugar level is almost always over 600mg/dl and can actually reach 1,500 or 2,000 mg/dl. The blood sugar goes up so much that the blood is actually thicker, or hyperosmolar. As the blood sugar goes up, the person urinates frequently and becomes dehydrated. A vicious cycle is set up in which the blood sugar goes up, dehydration follows, and that increases the blood sugar still more.

Causes of Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome

Find common causes and risk factors of Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome:

  • Drug abuse or excessive consumption of alcohol.
  • Heart attack.
  • Chronic illness.
  • Overeating (polyphagia).
  • High blood sugars.
  • Stress.
  • Infection.
  • Diabetes.
  • Certain medications (e.g., corticosteroids, diuretics, beta blockers).

Signs and Symptoms of Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome

Sign and symptoms may include the following:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Increased urination
  • Weakness
  • Impaired speech
  • Sleepiness

Treatment for Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome

Treatment may include:

  • Insulin
  • Large amounts of fluids