Intro to Diabetic Emergencies
Diabetes is a significant and fast growing health concern in the United States. About 16 million Americans have diabetes – and that number increases every day. Every day there is someone who suffers from a diabetic emergency. What is a diabetic emergency? Well, first we must understand what diabetes is. Diabetes is a disease that affects how your body uses blood glucose (or commonly known as blood sugar) your body isn’t able to take the sugar from your bloodstream and carry it to your body cells where it can be used for energy. There are two types of diabetes; Type I (insulin dependent) and Type II (non-insulin dependent). Both types can cause a diabetic emergency. Both types require medical intervention/treatment.
So what is a diabetic emergency? A diabetic emergency occurs when there is a severe imbalance between the amount of insulin and sugar in the body. There are two conditions that may result in a diabetic emergency. 1. Not enough insulin. This causes a high level of sugar or hyperglycemia. This can lead to a diabetic coma. 2. Too much insulin. This causes a low level of sugar or hypoglycemia. This may lead to insulin shock. Regardless, both conditions require the person to seek medical attention.
One of the best things that a person with diabetes can do for themselves is to learn how to manage their diabetes and know when they are in trouble. It is up to those that are health care professionals to know what to look for and how to treat a diabetic emergency. As with any other emergency, a diabetic emergency is an authentic emergency and time is very valuable.
Blood glucose (sugar) levels go up and down throughout the day depending on a number of things such as food, activity, medications, stress, and illness. A person with diabetes may not feel well when their blood sugar levels are too high or too low – this in turn may lead to a diabetic emergency. What is the causes/effect of a diabetic emergency?
1. Causes of high blood sugar (can lead to diabetic coma) – missing a dose or not taking enough of diabetic medication, inactivity, eating a meal or snack with too much carbohydrate, stress, illness, and hormonal changes.
2. Causes of low blood sugar (can lead to insulin shock) – not enough food or fewer carbohydrates than usual, skipping or delaying meals or snacks, taking too much diabetic medication, doing extra activity more or longer than usual, drinking alcohol, and not eating.
If diabetic emergencies are not controlled and are left untreated, a number of other health issues can occur. The first and most severe of these issues is death. The person’s eyes, nerve cells, blood vessels, and kidneys could be damaged. The person is at a greater risk for a heart attack or stroke. The person is at a greater risk of getting an infection due to wounds not healing as quickly. Controlling blood sugar levels is the important way of preventing a...