All You Need to Know about Diabetic Coma Blood Sugar Level

Diabetic Coma Blood Sugar Level

Before truly understanding a diabetic coma, one must first understand that diabetes is not just one condition. It’s a collection of metabolic conditions related to the way in which the body handles glucose and produces and uses insulin. Therefore, while all diabetics are at some risk for a diabetic coma, the risk factors, likelihood, symptoms and what is considered a diabetic coma blood sugar level can all vary depending on type, person and disease management. What does not vary, however, is what a diabetic coma entails. It refers to a state of unconsciousness that is precisely related to the mismanagement of diabetes that causes an inability to wake regardless of external stimuli. The complication is incredibly serious and requires immediate medical intervention in order to prevent death.

Those with type 1 diabetes are at the greatest risk for going into a coma as a result of diabetes. For these individuals, physiological processes in the body prevent them from using insulin properly. Most cases of type 1 diabetes are diagnosed during adolescence and therefore proper maintenance techniques are often established very early on, helping to reduce the risk of a diabetic coma blood sugar level in the first place. However, in these individuals (but, on occasion type 2 sufferers as well); a condition called DKA can form. DKA refers to the body’s use of fat as opposed to glucose for energy, and is caused by a decrease in insulin that allows the bloodstream to build up with ketones. The body tries to remove the ketones from the body, which can lead to severe dehydration. This can cause a diabetic coma blood sugar level, which refers to any over 240 mg/dL in addition to the presence of ketones in the urine. If the high sugar levels are left without treatment for a period of time, a coma can follow.

DKA is uncommon in persons with type 2 diabetes; however older adults with type 2 are at a particularly higher risk of developing a condition known as diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome. This condition can cause blood sugar levels high enough to bring about coma. What’s especially problematic for an older adult with this diabetes complication is that their senses can be impaired enough that symptoms are overlooked. Being thirsty for instance, a telltale sign of high blood sugar levels, may go unnoticed and lead to dangerous complications as dehydration quickly comes about. In these cases, blood sugar levels high enough to lead to coma may be present for days or even weeks at a time during which the very cells of the body can become dehydrated themselves. A death rate of 40% is associated with the shock and coma that can follow. A diabetic coma blood sugar level as high as 600 mg/dL is not uncommon in these cases.

Type 1 sufferers who experience frequent low blood sugar levels are at the greatest risk for developing a diabetic coma blood sugar level. These would be instances where the glucose levels in the blood drop below 60 mg/dL. The reason why these cases lead to a diabetic coma more often is that they can appear suddenly. High levels of glucose in the blood typically occur over a period of days or even weeks, and are often quickly detected and treated accordingly. Conversely, drops in blood sugar can occur without warning and all of a sudden, making treatment, management and even identification difficult. Further compounding this is that some people don’t experience any symptoms at all – a phenomenon called hypoglycemia unawareness – a serious condition in which a person does not know that their blood glucose levels are dangerously low, making the likelihood of slipping into coma greater.

Although the underlying causes of the different ways in which a diabetes sufferer can be at risk for developing a diabetic coma blood sugar level may differ, they can all be intently mitigated with diligent and proper medical care and disease management. Maintaining normal blood sugar levels through regular testing, medicine, proper diet and exercise and a healthy lifestyle is the best way to greatly reduce the chances of ever developing a diabetic coma blood sugar level be it from levels too high or too low. The likelihood overall of going into a coma as a result of diabetes is very low, but the risk is there and considered a serious medical emergency.

It’s important to note that there are serious complications of diabetes that are much more common than coma, including diabetic neuropathy. This condition refers to the breakdown and damage of nerve fibers as a result of the disease and can lead to intense pain and even paralysis. Over time, damage to organs and organ systems can lead to disablement or death in some cases. All diabetes sufferers are at risk of developing diabetic neuropathy, and the same preventive measures for reducing the risk of a diabetic coma blood sugar level hold true for preventing the onset of diabetic neuropathy as well.

Medical intervention is key to successfully managing diabetes and preventing the risk of serious complications like coma. Insulin is most commonly used along with home monitoring and regular visits with a health care provider. However, natural diabetes treatment in the form of dietary and lifestyle changes such as eating smaller meals and reducing carb intake are equally important. Physical activity is also essential and restores healthy glucose levels and reduces weight. Above all, following the advice of a doctor and diligently following given instructions is imperative for the long term success of treating diabetes and preventing serious complications.

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