Whether it is you or any family member has diabetes, it is important that you know how to treat diabetes emergencies.
What is Diabetes Emergency?
Diabetes emergency can happen if the blood sugar level of a person becomes too low or too high. Furthermore, a diabetes emergency can be due to various factors like taking improper does of insulin and not eating right. There are many types of diabetes emergencies which range from insulin shock, diabetic stroke to diabetic ketoacidosis. Some of these diabetes emergencies can be fatal if not treated immediately. Here is how to treat diabetes emergencies.
Know the Symptoms
In order to recognize a diabetes emergency, it is important get familiarize with the symptoms. The symptoms can vary and it may be difficult to discern between an insulin reaction and the onset of diabetic coma. When a patient administer excess amount of insulin, he/she will exhibit some reaction symptoms like heart rate, rapid breathing, numbness and sweating of hands.
If the patient did not administer enough insulin and diabetic coma has already started, an individual can start to feel sleepy, confused and experience thirst. Both conditions can result in loss of consciousness, coma and even death when left untreated.
Call for Emergency Assistance
It is best to call 911 for emergency assistance immediately. This is especially so if the patient shows disorientation or is already unconscious. While waiting for help to arrive, sit the patient down to relax.
If the patient can still speak, ask if he/she has taken insulin recently and when he/she last ate. If the patient is unconscious or confused, check for a medical alert bracelet that can confirm if he/she is indeed diabetic.
Perform a Quick Assessment
If the person experiencing a diabetes emergency is already unconscious, check immediately if he/she is still breathing. Gently place your hand on the person’s chest in order to check for chest rise, and place your ears above the mouth area to listen for breathing. Feel for pulse to check if the person still has heart rate.
Begin Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if the person is no longer breathing. In some cases of diabetes emergencies, the person can suddenly stop breathing and may lose their pulse. Perform chest compression and rescue breathing until respiration and heart beat recover or when medical help arrive.
Get the Needed Fluid and Medication
Since diabetes emergencies are usually the result of a spike in blood sugar level or drastic drop in blood sugar level, medications and fluids may help the patient recover. Paramedics may also give certain medications to the person before arriving at the hospital.
Depending on the kind of emergency, insulin may be given. Some medications will also be provided intravenously.