How to Handle a Diabetic Shock Emergency
Test Blood Sugar
It’s nearly impossible to guess just where your blood sugar stands during a hypoglycemic episode, so check your levels right away. If your vision is beginning to suffer, or you’re too lightheaded to manage the task on your own, have someone help you check your blood sugar.
If there’s no one there to help, it’s a good idea to start treating your symptoms anyway with a small sugary snack, and then checking your blood sugar once you’ve regained some control.
Turn to Your Action Plan
Prepare for the worst by drawing up a diabetic shock action plan with the help of your doctor and nutritionist. Include clear steps to take, which foods to eat (and how much of each), and when and who to call for help.
Keep a glucagon rescue kit at home, and familiarize yourself with how to prepare and inject the solution. Having a set of medically sound steps to follow can help to keep you calm while you work to correct the problem, or wait for emergency personnel.
Ask for Help
There is no reason to deal with diabetic shock on your own. Put aside any worry or embarrassment, and ask for help.
It’s best to inform family and friends now of the signs of diabetic shock and how to help you treat it, so no time is wasted when a crisis hits. Remember the longer you wait, the more likely your symptoms will escalate, and an extra pair of helping hands can make a huge difference.
Preventing Blood Sugar Crises
There are several ways to wind up with too much insulin in your bloodstream, leading to hypoglycemic shock. In order to avoid the possibility of slipping into a diabetic coma, suffering brain damage, and even dying from the event, it’s vital you take action before the problem has a chance to gain ground.
Carefully Monitor Your Insulin
Taking in too much insulin can leave you with far too little glucose in your blood, which will deny your cells the fuel they need, and your body begins to shut down. Injecting too much insulin is an easy way to throw off the balance, so time your injections well and stick closely to your medication guidelines.
Insulin works hand-in-hand with food to keep your blood balanced and your body energized. If you don’t eat an appropriate meal after you take your insulin, you set the stage for hypoglycemia. Missing a meal is a serious mistake, but even waiting too long or not eating quite enough can cause a problem.
If you do develop symptoms of hypoglycemia, don’t try to make up for it by over-indulging; a small amount of the right types of sugary food is a much safer bet.
A small serving of juice, honey, dried fruit, or three to five glucose tablets will work more efficiently than a delayed meal. Keep some with you at all times.
Be Sensitive to Symptoms
You aren’t doing your body any favors when you ignore mild hypoglycemia symptoms, but some diabetics won’t catch the early warning signs before they build into something serious. This condition, known as hypoglycemia unawareness, usually affects long-time diabetics who have grown used to their disease.
It will do you well to pay very close attention to physiological changes, so you can swiftly test your blood glucose to identify and correct the problem.
Wear Your Medical ID
Diabetic shock can turn into a diabetic coma in a surprisingly short amount of time. If you lose consciousness during a hypoglycemic episode, you’ll need to count on the people around you to give you the care and attention your body needs.
Wearing a medical ID bracelet or necklace will provide critical info to friends, bystanders, emergency personnel, and doctors in case you can’t speak for yourself. There are even IDs that hold USB drives with your full medical record to aid in an emergency.
Taking Control Every Day
Since so many factors can play a role in your risk of diabetic shock, the more you know about your disease, the better you’ll be able to tailor your lifestyle accordingly.
For instance, exercise is an important part of diabetes management, but it can alter you blood sugar levels quite drastically — be sure you know how your body responds before making any drastic changes to your workout schedule.
It can be tricky to balance diet, medication, exercise, and other medical considerations to keep your diabetes in check, but a commitment to your health will make a significant difference now, and in the years to come. Make a pledge to put your health first, and keep learning about your condition to stay on top of your game and out of the diabetic danger zone.