Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar – How to Prevent Diabetic Coma?

Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar

A diabetic coma is a state of unconsciousness that is brought on by blood sugar levels that are much too high or much too low and stay that way for too long. During a diabetic coma, sufferers are non responsive to sounds, lights and other stimuli. The condition can be fatal if not treated promptly and is considered life threatening. A diabetic coma is considered one of the complications of diabetes, and its potential can be signaled by both symptoms of low blood sugar as well as symptoms of high blood sugar. Knowing and understanding the symptoms of both, particularly low blood sugar levels, can help people with diabetes avoid the scary and serious condition.

Anytime that blood glucose levels fall outside the range of normal and acceptable blood sugar levels, symptoms can become present. For many people, the symptoms of dangerous blood sugar levels aren’t always easy to identify if they are elevated. An increase in urination frequency and a fruity odor to the breath, for instance, are some of the potential symptoms. Dry mouth and increased thirst are also not uncommon. These may not be enough to alert all people however, and it may not be until more severe symptoms of high blood sugar come about that they understand the risk of a coma brought on by diabetes is possible. These symptoms include vomiting and stomach pain.

Conversely, the symptoms of low blood sugar can be much more severe and ominous. Although early signs like nausea, hunger and irritability may be easily ignored, more severe symptoms of low blood sugar can signal serious danger. Shakiness, a rapid heartbeat and nervousness are all signs that something is seriously wrong, and as time progresses, the symptoms of low blood sugar can become more and more severe leading up to an inability to speak coherently, confusion and increased sweating. What’s perhaps most disturbing is that people with low blood sugar may not experience symptoms as all, even if blood glucose levels are dangerously low. This condition is called hypoglycemia unawareness, and it literally means that a person is completely unaware that a their blood glucose levels are well below normal blood sugar levels.

The absolute best way to avoid both symptoms and the eventual progression to complications like coma is regular and diligent use of a home blood sugar test. Modern medicine has made monitoring diabetes blood sugar levels very easy, and knowing when intervention is required is very important. These tests measure the amount of glucose in the blood and can signal a problem before the symptoms of low blood sugar or conversely, those of high blood sugar, ever begin to manifest. These tests are also useful once symptoms have come about in order to see how far glucose levels have deviated from normal or an individual’s normal in order to determine the next appropriate course of action.

Results from a blood test are often compared to a blood sugar levels chart. These visual aids can show people where their results fall and how high or low they are in comparison to normal. Results that come back very high or very low are easily identified when compared to a blood sugar levels chart and this can help determine what type of treatment, if any, is required.

For people who have high blood sugar, one of the best ways to help bring it back down to acceptable and less dangerous levels is walking or other low intensity exercise. However, persons with the symptoms of low blood sugar have additional steps that they may need to take in order to bring their blood glucose levels to an acceptable range. These people should absolutely not exercise at all, as doing so lowers glucose levels in the blood. What’s recommended in these cases is the ingestion of sugar such as orange juice or hard candies. There are even glucose tablets that can be kept handy for when the symptoms of low blood sugar become apparent in order to help restore levels and reduce symptoms.

Symptoms from very high or very low blood sugar are not uncommon and do not always indicate that the potential for a coma is high. However, if symptoms include feeling like fainting or passing out is imminent, it’s considered a medical emergency and medical professionals should be summoned right away. Preventing a diabetic coma in the first place is very important. People with very low blood sugar should never work out very intensely as this can cause a very rapid drop in blood glucose levels. Additionally, drinking too much alcohol, especially in a very short period of time, can also have a similar outcome. In both of these cases, the effect may be so rapid that the early symptoms of low blood sugar, such as hunger, are completely skipped over. Using illegal drugs, skipping medication and a recent illness or surgery are all also considered common risk factors for a diabetic coma.

Diabetes is well managed in most people and with solid medical care and advice and a commitment to dietary and lifestyle changes, many people live long and healthy lives with the condition. However, diligent care is required and without proper medicine, diet and following instructions, the risk of complications from diabetes including coma are significantly increased.


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