First aid for diabetic coma

Diabetes mellitus, if it is improperly treated or if the disease is in an advanced stage, often ends in a coma. Coma, translated into Russian, means “deep sleep”. But unlike real deep sleep, a person cannot be brought out of it by any external stimuli (light, sound, etc.)

There are two diabetic comas: hypoglycemic, due to a sharp decrease in blood sugar, and hyperglycemic, due to the appearance in the blood of a critical dose of acetoacetic acid or acetone.

Hypoglycemic coma occurs suddenly (most often due to an overdose of insulin, untimely intake of food after an injection of insulin or excessive physical exertion) and is accompanied by profuse cold clammy sweat, loss of consciousness, sometimes – cramps.  

Help with hypoglycemic coma:

  • At the first signs of glucose starvation (before falling into a coma), give a sweet drink to drink (best of all – sweet weak tea, if not present – glucose in any form: sweets, sugar, honey, etc.); 
  • warm the victim, especially the lower limbs (for example, putting a heating pad or hot water bottles at your feet);
  • call an ambulance.

Hyperglycemic coma develops within 1-3 days. accompanied by weakness and smell of acetone from the mouth. She may be preceded by malaise, a deterioration in appetite, headache, nausea, and then a state of indifference and drowsiness occurs, her mind becomes clouded. In this case, the patient has dryness and pallor of the skin, noisy breathing, weak pulse, low blood pressure and a slight increase in body temperature. 

Help with hyperglycemic coma:

  • at the first appearance of unexplained weakness, drowsiness and frequent urination, urgently call an ambulance;
  • Before the doctor arrives, simply lay the patient, without restricting his breathing, and do nothing at home.

Please note: If a person who has lost consciousness on the street has a note in his clothing pocket stating that he has diabetes and a piece of sugar, urgently need to put it in his mouth and call an ambulance. His life may depend on how timely you do it! 

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