What are the risks of hyperglycemia in type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM)?

Updated: Sep 13, 2019
  • Author: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Answer

Acute hyperglycemia, even when not associated with DKA (or hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state [HHS], which occurs most commonly in type 2 DM), is harmful for a number of reasons. If the blood glucose level exceeds the renal threshold for glucose (which is typically 240 mg/dL in a healthy person but is lower in older patients, those with renal insufficiency, and pregnant women), an osmotic diuresis ensues, with loss of glucose, electrolytes, and water.

In addition, hyperglycemia impairs leukocyte function through a variety of mechanisms. Patients with diabetes have an increased rate of wound infection, and hyperglycemia impairs wound healing.


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