Note: this article has been updated in June 2023.
What Do You Do If Someone Goes into Diabetic Shock?
Hypoglycemia, or not enough glucose in your blood, can lead to a condition known as diabetic shock, or insulin shock. Sometimes the terms Insulin Shock and Diabetic Shock are used interchangeably. Diabetic shock treatment is needed as this is nothing short of a serious medical emergency. HealthLine has written an article which is well worth your reading. It is called Warning Signs and Treatment Options for Insulin Shock.
If you have diabetes, you need to educate yourself and those around you of the warning signs of an impending diabetic shock, as well as what needs to happen as quickly as possible when this dangerous health condition is experienced.
If you are a care giver or are responsible for a diabetic, you also need the knowledge, of diabetic shock treatment for their safety and your peace of mind.
What Hypoglycemia Does to the Body
If your blood sugar drops just a little bit below the normal range, whether you are diabetic or not, you could experience the following mild, inconvenient symptoms.
- Rapid pulse
- Nervousness and anxiety
- Clamminess and sweating
Those are symptoms to look for that signal low blood glucose levels. If you are a diabetic taking insulin or other medication (type 1 diabetics and some type 2 diabetics) this is a warning that for whatever reason, at that point in time, you have too much insulin in your system.
You may have over-medicated, not eaten, or eaten less than you estimated you would, over-exercised or consumed a quantity of alcohol. Most likely a combination of these factors is in play.
Taking glucose tablets, drinking fruit juice, or eating a handful of raisins or candy could give you the sugar boost you need to treat mild hypoglycemia. If symptoms disappear 10 or 15 minutes after you attempt to stabilize your blood sugar level, you are probably out of the woods this time. If symptoms persist, treat continually with 15 g of carbohydrates until you feel better, and make sure to consume a regular meal shortly thereafter.
What Diabetic Shock Does to the Body
If the above mild hypoglycemia symptoms are followed by the more serious problems listed below, you could be experiencing insulin shock.
- Poor coordination, falling or tripping
- Muscle tremors
If you have a diabetic shock while you are sleeping, you could experience extreme sweating, crying out in your sleep, nightmares, aggressive physical behavior and waking up irritable and confused.
Treating Diabetic Shock
If you or someone near you experiences the severe hypoglycemia which causes an insulin shock, you need to act immediately. Diabetic shock treatment. Take the following steps as quickly as possible if you believe diabetic shock has occurred.
- Call your emergency services number (911 in the United States, 999 in the United Kingdom and 112 inside the European Union), advise that the patient (or self) is suffering from insulin shock.
- Consume sugar immediately. Rubbing sugar on the gums and under the tongue may help, or you could consume a glucose pack. If sugar is not available use any natural sweetener such as honey or fruit juice. Do not use artificial sweeteners. Important: If the patient has lost consciousness, do not place anything in their mouth, as they may choke, and will be unable to swallow anyway.
- If you have been trained to do so, inject glucagon if the person has become unconscious. Emergency personnel will have glucagon injections if there are non available.
It is always better to prevent than to treat. At the first signs of low blood sugar, get some sugar into your body, or at least some simple carbohydrates. Reduce physical activity until blood glucose has normalized. If you are at risk, or repeatedly show the above signs, testing your blood sugar levels often is highly recommended so you can avoid insulin shock.
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