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Question:

From Indianapolis, Indiana, USA:

My 57 year old mother was just diagnosed this past week with diabetes. Her blood sugar is very high every time she checks it. The doctors never put her in the hospital, even when her blood sugar was almost 500. How high does her blood sugar have to get before they will put her in the hospital?

Answer:

For adults, there is no absolute number for when someone's sugar is "too high." In my opinion, people with newly diagnosed diabetes should be hospitalized if she has high blood sugar and:

  • she is vomiting (or has severe nausea),
  • she has ketones in her urine,
  • she has any severe infection,
  • she is extremely thirsty and urinating every hour, or
  • she is acutely ill from some other disorder.

If she is asymptomatic or only very mildly symptomatic, and has someone else at home to back her up, and she (or someone else) knows how to check blood sugars and can do so several times daily, and she has a telephone, then I think it's reasonable to initiate a diabetes care program at home, despite the numbers on the sugar test.

I might also add that for either kids or adults, if the situation isn't as good as I describe in the previous paragraph, it's much more likely that hospitalization will be advised to help get things started in a controlled setting.

WWQ

Original posting 15 Feb 98

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:56
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