What is hyperosmolar hyperglycemic syndrome (HHS) in diabetes?

Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome (HHNS) is an emergency condition in which one's blood glucose level is very high and ketones are not present in the blood or urine. If HHNS is not treated, it can lead to coma or death.
Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic syndrome (HHS) is a complication of type 2 diabetes that can occur when blood glucose levels exceed 600 mg/dl (33.3 mmol/l), but ketosis (ketone bodies in the blood) is small or not present. With such high blood sugars, the body becomes severely dehydrated. HHS occurs most often in the elderly, who are either newly diagnosed with diabetes or are unaware of having high blood glucose levels, and those who are not able to tell they are thirsty (impaired thirst mechanism). Elderly people or those with a decreased thirst mechanism should always have water within reach and should drink plenty of fluids. Impaired kidney function and infections are also risk factors.

Continue Learning about Diabetes Complications

3 Ways to Prevent Diabetic Vision Issues
3 Ways to Prevent Diabetic Vision Issues
You probably know that diabetes can cause eye problems, possibly even blindness. Yet despite that startling truth, it’s important to recognize that wi...
Read More
Does diabetes increase my risk of a heart attack?
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of diabetes-related deaths. People with diabetes who hav...
More Answers
10 Complications of Diabetes
10 Complications of Diabetes10 Complications of Diabetes10 Complications of Diabetes10 Complications of Diabetes
Other conditions can arise after a diabetes diagnosis. Know how you can stay healthy.
Start Slideshow
Why Is Diabetes So Devastating?
Why Is Diabetes So Devastating?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.