If anybody in your family has been diagnosed with diabetes, then you should know how to treat insulin shock. This article describes the signs and symptoms of insulin shock, and provides information on insulin shock treatment too. Scroll down…
Diabetes is characterized by abnormally high blood glucose levels, leading to various health complications. It is a chronic disease, and people who get diagnosed with diabetes need to take insulin shots and medicines to lower their elevated blood glucose levels. Excessive intake of insulin or medicines can cause hypoglycemia, or very low blood sugar level. This condition is known as ‘insulin shock’.
If the blood sugar level drops quickly and significantly, then the person may become unconscious. Insulin shock, a severe form of hypoglycemia, needs prompt treatment. If not treated promptly, it can lead to a coma or even death of the person. Friends and family members of a diabetic person should know about the insulin shock symptoms, and how to treat insulin shock, as it is considered as a ‘diabetic emergency’. A diabetic person who takes insulin shots or medicines regularly, may often suffer from insulin shock.
Causes and Symptoms of Insulin Shock
Friends and family members of a diabetic patient should be aware of the reasons of severe hypoglycemia in a diabetic person. Excessive medication, excessive intake of insulin, fasting, skipping breakfast or meals, intensive exercise, alcohol consumption, vomiting and diarrhea, can cause insulin shock. Diabetic people need to consume sufficient food to balance the effects of insulin shots.
A person suffering from an insulin shock may exhibit several symptoms. He / she may experience rapid heart rate or palpitations. The person may not be able to speak, and he would be unaware of the surroundings. He may complain about a severe headache, dizziness or extreme hunger. He may experience profuse sweating. Due to extreme weakness, the person may faint or have a seizure. In case of an insulin shock, the skin of the sufferer may turn pale. It can even turn cool. As the patient would not be in a position to call a doctor, his friends and family members should call 911 immediately.
Insulin Shock Treatment
It is true that the above symptoms can be noticed in case of other health problems too; but if you know that your friend or family member has diabetes, and he takes insulin shots and medications to lower blood glucose levels, then the above symptoms mostly indicate insulin shock. Depending upon the type of insulin (fast acting or long acting) and other circumstances, the person may suffer from insulin shock within 15 minutes after an injection, or even several hours later.
You should keep in your mind that it’s an emergency, and the patient should have pure glucose in the bloodstream as soon as possible. If the patient complains about weakness and dizziness (or if you notice shakiness and confusion), you should immediately make him eat some sugar or sugary snack, along with some nuts or an energy bar (a high protein snack). In case of mild hypoglycemia, ingestion of sugar, fruit juices, glucose tablets or candies can help prevent worsening of the symptoms. But if the patient is unable to eat or drink, you should immediately insert some sugar or a glucose bar into his mouth (if he is not unconscious).
While feeding the sugar, you should rub it on the gums and teeth, and place it under the tongue. This would promote rapid absorption of sugar in blood. Remember, the purpose of the treatment is to increase the blood sugar levels immediately. If the person loses consciousness, see to it that he is administered an injection of glucagon. This would help the person regain consciousness as his blood sugar would rise and reach the desired level within a few minutes. Loosen the clothes of the sufferer and see that the room is properly ventilated.
If the person is unable to open his mouth, you should immediately call 911. The medical team would arrive immediately and would prevent worsening of symptoms. The person may otherwise stop breathing. He may suffer from a cardiac arrest too. If the person slips into a coma, (interrupted glucose supply to brain and lack of nutrients in brain can cause brain damage), his major organs may stop working, one after another.
I hope you now agree with me that everyone should be aware of the symptoms of insulin shock and everyone should know how to treat insulin shock. Diabetic patients should always carry some sugar or glucose tablets with them. They should inform their colleagues about their condition. They should take proper precautions while traveling alone.
They should take care of themselves and should never skip breakfast or lunch. They should avoid alcohol. They need to know what type of insulin they are taking, and they are expected to follow the instructions of the doctor religiously. The good thing is that diabetics who succeed in managing blood sugar levels with diet and exercise alone, rarely suffer from insulin shock.