Diabetics have a dilemma on their hands. They try to avoid elevating their sugar levels at the same time they also try to avoid low blood sugar levels. Glucose is needed by all cells in the body to function. It is the body’s fuel. When blood glucose levels are elevated, this can cause potential harm to the patient resulting in neuropathies, strokes, and the like. On the other hand, when blood glucose levels fall, the body becomes starved and if left untreated can lead to diabetic coma.
Hypoglycemic coma is one of the three types of diabetic coma. This condition occurs when the blood sugar levels in the body drop below normal, acceptable limits. Low blood sugar levels in the body can lead to many complications, one of them being hypoglycemic diabetic coma.
When the body has low blood sugar levels, all the cells in the body become starved of fuel and hence is unable to function normally. With low blood sugar levels in the body, the brain also becomes starved to a point where it shuts down other functions in the body while trying to look for alternate sources of sugar or fuel.
In hypoglycemic diabetic coma, medical treatment is aimed at prevent brain damage to occur at all costs.
Many factors can cause the development of diabetic coma such as Insulin or OHA overdose.
- Strenuous exercise without extra intake of food or reducing insulin coverage.
- Excessive intake of alcohol without intake of food.
- Inadequate intake of food and inadequate insulin injection for women with gestational diabetes.
Low Blood Sugar Coma Symptoms
Before hypoglycemic diabetic coma sets in, patients often experience preliminary signs and symptoms that if noticed should be treated immediately.
- Shaky nerves
- Diaphoresis or sweating
- Increased feelings of hunger
- Increased feelings of fatigue
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Drowsiness that is progressive
- Fruity smell of breath
- Abnormal speech
- Dizzy spells
- Loss of consciousness
Hypoglycemic Coma Prognosis
- In hypoglycemic diabetic coma, the prognosis is guarded.
- Prognosis of a patient with a diabetic coma depends heavily on the cause of the coma and of certain possibilities present to correct the present situation.
- Prompt medical attention is important when it comes to dealing with the initial signs of falling blood sugar levels before coma sets in.
- The earlier the treatment, the better the prognosis of reversing the effects of the coma or of the patient coming back into consciousness.
Treatment For Hypoglycemic Coma
First aid treatment is necessary for patients who have fallen into a hypoglycemic diabetic coma.
- Call for help by dialing an emergency number, contacting a doctor, or going to the hospital emergency room.
- Do not attempt to give the patient something to eat or drink if the patient has fallen unconscious.
- Turn the patient on his or her side to keep his or her airway patent.
- Do not, under any circumstance, administer insulin.
- Take a baseline blood glucose reading.
- If conscious, give the patient sugar though fruit juice, sugar water, glucose tablets, and the like.
Treatment of choice for patients who have fallen in a hypoglycemic diabetic coma:
- Hormone glucagon: This hormone reverses the effects of insulin.
- Intravenous administration of glucose.