How To Save Someone’s Life During A Diabetic Emergency

Do you know what to do when things go bad?

Considering almost 10 percent of the population of the United States is living with diabetes, chances are that you know someone with the condition. Although the disease is very manageable, there is no cure. Diabetes can lead to some serious health issues, including hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Left unchecked, each of these states can cause complications, including seizures, loss of consciousness, coma or even death.

Warning Signs Of Hypoglycemia

According to the Mayo Clinic, the following are early warning signs of hypoglycemia:

  • Shakiness
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Hunger
  • Irritability or moodiness
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Headaches

If left untreated, it will lead to more severe, disabling symptoms, including:

  • Clumsiness or jerky movements
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Unconsciousness

How To Help Someone With Hypoglycemia

If someone with diabetes is suffering an episode of low blood sugar, the first step is to give them a quick source of sugar such as candy, fruit juice or regular soda to raise the level of glucose in their blood. If the person doesn’t respond to sugar or their symptoms are getting worse, it’s imperative to get them to a doctor or hospital as soon as possible.

soda photo
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

Warning Signs Of Hyperglycemia

On the other hand, hyperglycemia, or blood sugar that is too high, can also be dangerous. The Mayo Clinic lists the following early symptoms of hyperglycemia:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Headach

Later, more severe symptoms include:

  • Fruity-smelling breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Coma
  • Abdominal pain

How To Help Someone With Hyperglycemia

If a person with diabetes collapses and you suspect hyperglycemia, it’s important to call for emergency help as soon as possible. If the patient is breathing, place her on her side. Check her level of consciousness, breathing and pulse until help arrives.

By knowing the signs and symptoms and following the right advice, you just might save someone’s life! For more information, visit the American Diabetes Association.

[h/t: Reader’s Digest]