February 17, 2002
Hyperglycemia and DKA, Stress
Question from Waldorf, Maryland, USA:
My sister will be 50 this year and is on insulin. Her husband just passed away suddenly, and yesterday when she checked her blood sugar, her monitor read “High” (i.e over 600 mg/dl [33.3 mmol/L]). Is it possible that her blood sugar level could be that high? I am worried about how the loss and stress will affect her since she also has heart trouble. Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated.
Yes, it is possible. If she has sugars that high, she is in need of seeing her physician. It may have been that the death of her husband has stressed her so that her dose of insulin needs to be aggressively increased. Please have her speak with her physician.
[Editor’s comment: Also, whenever your sister’s blood sugar is over 250 mg/dl [13.9 mmol/L], she should check her urine for ketones. Moderate to large urine ketones warn of impending DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis], a dangerous complication which can be fatal if not treated immediately with insulin.
Please have your sister contact her physician immediately for help with controlling her blood sugar and dealing with the stress.