What is a Diabetic Coma?

What is a diabetic coma? This potentially life threatening condition can occur when your blood sugar is either dangerously high or dangerously low. Make sure your family and friends know the signs that indicate you may be heading toward a diabetic coma and how to help you if you become unconsciousness. Immediate hospital care is required for someone in a diabetic coma. Insulin, electrolytes and fluids must be administered through an intravenous drip to get your blood sugar and body fluids back to a safe level.

Symptoms of Diabetic Coma: The symptoms of diabetic coma include flushed hot dry skin, a strong fruity breath odor, blurred vision, belly pain, nausea, confusion, drowsiness and rapid deep breathing. Children may show a lack of interest in what is going on around them.  It may be difficult to rouse from sleep. These symptoms may make it difficult for you to communicate to others that you need help. You might want to consider wearing a Medic Alert bracelet, and carry contact information with you.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis Treatment: When your body’s cells cannot get the glucose they need, your body begins to break down fat and muscle as an energy source. Substances called ketones are produced and are cleared out through your urine. Ketosis occurs when ketones are released not only into the urine, but into the bloodstream as well.

Diabetic ketoacidosis treatment requires hospitalization, perhaps even in an intensive care unit. It can take several days to stabilize someone suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis. Minerals, such as potassium, calcium, sodium and magnesium are introduced through an intravenous line.  These electrolytes keep body fluids at an appropriate level and help to maintain heart and brain function. Insulin and fluids are also administered, and blood levels of these key elements are checked carefully to make sure you are stabilized before being discharged from hospital.

Diabetes Coma: A diabetes coma is a medical emergency! Coma can be the result of dangerously high or dangerously low blood glucose. If you have diabetes, you should always follow your treatment plan and have a plan in place for the possibility that your glucose levels go so awry that you slip into a coma.

Diabetes and Death: Diabetes and death are often discussed in the context of a diabetic coma, since a coma can be fatal if not treated promptly. The best prevention against a diabetic coma is to closely follow your diabetic treatment plan. Diabetes plays a role as a secondary disease in many life threatening conditions, including heart and kidney disease. The bad news is that diabetes is a serious illness; the good news is that with careful attention to diet, exercise and medication diabetes can be managed so you can enjoy and long and healthy life.