What Is Insulin Shock And What Causes It To Occur? Treatment

Insulin shock is one of the most important things that every diabetic should be aware of. Patients suffering from diabetes type 1 and type2 do know the dangers of excess of sugar in their body. But they are less aware that low blood sugar is equally harmful for their body. Insulin shock is serious effect resulting from hypoglycemia due to overdose or excess of insulin.

It is usually seen in diabetic patients who may have taken excess of insulin than required dose, skipping meal, after strenuous exercise etc. Insulin shock is considered to be a serious medical condition and requires immediate medical attention.

If insulin shock is left untreated, it can lead to coma, brain damage and ultimately death of a person.

Let us understand the mechanism of action of insulin in our body before we know the cause of insulin shock. Insulin is a type of hormone prepared by pancreas present at the back of stomach. After consuming food, body converts carbohydrate part present in food to glucose. Glucose is the energy source for each and every body cell. Insulin hormone works as a bullock cart which carries glucose and delivers to the cells.

Cells are not able to absorb glucose without help of insulin.

People suffering from diabetes have less insulin secretion due to fault in pancreas or the cells are resistant to insulin. Both these cases can lead to high blood glucose which can be detrimental for health in a long run. When insulin is not prepared in the body, a person suffering from diabetes may have to take insulin shots to manage glucose level.

Diabetics generally take insulin shots before breakfast, meal and dinner. This helps better management of blood glucose level in their body. But sometime things do not happen as they should. Let us know the reasons underlying insulin shock.

Most Common Causes Of Insulin Shock

Normally a diabetic person is at a risk of suffering from insulin shock. Insulin dependent diabetics take insulin shots two to three times in a day or as recommended by their physician. Insulin is needed from outside because pancreas are not working as they should in diabetics. Regulation of glucose is a continuous process throughout the day for diabetics, which is done by taking insulin shots.

Depending on the level of sugar, physicians prescribe the amount of insulin to be injected before meals. However, if too much of insulin is injected than the required amount, the diabetic person may go into insulin shock. It may also occur if a person has skipped the meal after taking insulin. The other possible causes for insulin shock are performing strenuous exercise after taking insulin shot and drinking alcohol without eating too much of food.

Symptoms Of Insulin Shock

The commonest problem of diabetic patients taking insulin therapy is hypoglycemia. Most patients experience the symptoms when there is slight drop in their blood sugar. These symptoms may include dizziness, rapid pulse, shaking, feeling hungry, nervousness and irritability. Patient may be disoriented from the surrounding.

If during this period low blood sugar is not corrected by eating sugar the symptoms may further progress which may be manifested as severe headache, confusion, tremors in muscles, cold and clammy skin, excessive perspiration all over the body, pale skin, slurred speech. The patient may also experience seizures. Eventually patient may pass into coma.

Treatment For Insulin Shock

Mild to moderate form of hypoglycemia caused due to overdose of insulin can be treated by eating glucose and sugar. However, severe form of hypoglycemia resulting in insulin shock where the patient is unconscious or stuporous needs to be treated on an emergency basis in a hospital environment.

In the hospital 25 to 50 ml of intravenous 50% glucose solution is administered over a period of 3 to 5 minutes. Injection glucagon 1 mg can be injected if glucose is not available or if the peripheral veins are collapsed. Patient usually regains consciousness after 15 minutes after administration of intravenous glucose or injection glucagon.

Once the patient is conscious, he may take sugar and sugary products orally to increase the level of blood glucose. However, if insulin shock has prolonged over a period of time, it can be life threatening.