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May 14, 2005

Hyperglycemia and DKA, Other

Question from Columbus, Ohio, USA:

My sister just came out the hospital. She has a huge open sore on her body that won't heal. Her level was 450 mg/dl [25 mmol/L] when she went into the hospital. What can happen to a person that has a level over 400 mg/dl [22.2 mmol/L]? Please explain. Both of our grandmothers had diabetes. One took pills and one shots. My sister Toni is very overweight. I think she has a thyroid problem a long with diabetes. Do these two usually act together? Can you give me some information what can happen to her? She won't take care of herself. I want her to realize what can happen to her since she has a nine year old son to think about.

Answer:

High blood sugar, left untreated, has many short term and long term consequences. In the long term, the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation are significantly increased with high blood sugar over time. High blood sugar for short periods of time will affect your ability to fight infection and to heal and make you feel tired and sick. It is no surprise that your sister’s wound is not healing when her blood sugar is 400 mg/dl [22.2 mmol/L]. She needs to work with a physician to bring down her blood sugar.

JS