Type 2 diabetes should not stop you from enjoying a healthy, active life. With good management you most definitely can keep your blood sugar levels under control. When a diabetic coma occurs it is a serious concern; it can be brought on when major physical stress occurs… stress such as surgery or even infection.
A diabetic coma usually comes on slowly… over a period of days or weeks and is a reaction to a dangerous combination of high blood sugar levels, insulin deficiency and excessive urination. This leads to serious dehydration. Undiagnosed diabetes combined with illness, as well as reactions to specific drugs can also be responsible for triggering this type of coma.
One of the following may become the precipitating factor:
- prolonged vomiting or diarrhea
- blood sugar levels spiraling out of control
- medications that are not compatible with the diabetic condition
- kidney failure
- severe trauma such as a heart attack
- illness or infection
There are also several symptoms that could indicate an approaching problem. Not all will present in any given case, in fact, just one of these could be a serious warning. Call your health care provider immediately if you are ill and experience these symptoms:
- excessive urination
- extreme thirst
- weakness and drowsiness
- frequent headaches
- restlessness sometimes accompanied by an altered mental state
- an inability to speak, or
- shallow rapid breathing
Call your health care immediately if your blood sugar level is higher than 600 mg/dL (33.3 mmol/L)… this is the threshold beyond which a diabetic coma may occur. Or make your way to the nearest emergency room… this is a life threatening complication.
Medical treatment involves hospitalization and replacement of fluid by intravenous therapy. Usually potassium is included and sometimes insulin.
The best way for a person with type 2 diabetes to avoid diabetic coma is to take notice of the warning signs and symptoms as soon as they appear. There is a good chance of preventing a diabetic coma from occurring by checking your blood sugar regularly, and when ill, increase this to once every four hours and generally practice preventative measures to control your blood sugar levels.