If living with diabetes is the new norm for you—as it is for 37 million Americans1—your routine can make it easy to overlook changes and to make dietary mistakes that can quickly turn into diabetic emergency conditions that require medical care. Left untreated, these conditions can deteriorate into coma, seizures, or even death. Here are two diabetic-related emergency conditions that you absolutely cannot ignore and what you need to do when they happen.
Emergency #1 – High blood sugar
Hyperglycemia—or blood sugar that is too high—can be caused by illness, not eating enough, or low insulin. This condition can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in patients with Type 1 diabetes or nonketotic hyperosmolar syndrome in Type 2 diabetics. DKA can cause dehydration, abdominal pain, frequent urination, and dangerously low blood pressure.
Symptoms of DKA: patient may show confusion, fatigue, excessive thirst, fast breathing, nausea and vomiting. Patient may exhibit signs of shock including weakness, fast heart rate, sweating, dry skin, dry mouth, fruity breath, flushed face, headache, anxiety and disorientation. Left untreated, patient will lose consciousness and eventually die.
What to do for DKA: test your urine for high ketones using a test kit strip.2 If the ketones are high, call your primary care physician immediately or come to Medco ER. Treatment may include fluid replacement, electrolyte replacement and insulin.3
“If you are experiencing high blood sugar, it is important to stop any physical activity,” said Medco ER’s Medical Director, Dr. Nasir Khan. “Exercise elevates ketones and that is the opposite of what you need to happen when you’re in this position. Come to Medco ER right away for expert help stabilizing your blood sugar.”
Emergency #2 – Low blood sugar
Hypoglycemia—or low glucose in the blood—can be caused by improper nutrition, illness, too much exercise, alcohol, heat or humidity, high altitude, or too much insulin. This diabetic emergency can lead to convulsions or seizures if left untreated.
Symptoms of low blood sugar: symptoms can vary but may include pale skin, lightheadedness, shaking, sweating, headache, fatigue, irritability, fast heart rate, confusion, difficulty speaking or eating, weakness, hunger, anxiety, or blurred vision.4
What to do for low blood sugar: text your blood sugar. If it is below 54mg/dL, you will be close to fainting.5 If someone is with you, try injecting glucagon from a kit provided by your physician. If no glucagon is available or if it isn’t enough to revive you and normalize your blood sugar levels in 15 minutes, call 911 or come to Medco ER right away.6
“If you don’t have glucagon or if you are still confused and your numbers are low, come to Medco ER right away,” said Dr. Khan. “We can help raise your blood sugar to get you out of the danger zone and back to feeling better again.”
Get Help Fast at Medco ER
Don’t wait to the point of fainting or seizures before you respond to these two potential diabetic emergencies. Come in right away to the nearest Medco ER. No need to call ahead—we’re open 24/7 every day of the year and our board-certified physicians are experienced in responding to insulin-related crises. You’ll get top quality care at Medco ER.
- Plano: 3960 Legacy Drive, Plano, TX 75023 (on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road)
Call us @ 469-747-0370
- Carrollton: 2745 E Belt Line Road, Carrollton, TX 75006
Call us @ 469-840-4600