Diabetes is characterized by blood sugar level higher than normal. While the goal of diabetes treatment is to reduce the concentration of glucose in the bloodstream, in some cases people on diabetes medications and insulin may experience excessive low blood sugar level. Diabetic shock occurs when the sugar level in the blood is below the normal range.
As the symptoms of diabetic shock tend to be mild at the early stage, diabetics often tend to overlook the importance of seeking prompt treatment. Immediate medical intervention prevents diabetic shock from progressing to coma.
Diabetic shock may develop by changing the regular diabetes medication schedule, sudden dietary changes, skipping meals, drinking alcohol on empty stomach and suddenly increasing the intensity of physical activities.
How to Treat Diabetic Shock
Take A Sugary Snack Or Drink
The aim of diabetic shock treatment is to increase the blood sugar level. This can be attained easily by consuming some form of sugar. The easiest way to boost the sugar level is to eat a tablespoon of sugar. You can even drink a glass of sugary beverage prepared by dissolving about five sugar cubes in water. Eating a few hard candies can also provide fast relief from diabetic shock. Half a cup of regular soda can also provide the same benefit as a sugary drink.
Check your blood sugar level 15 minutes after taking a sugary snack or beverage. If your blood sugar level is still low, consume more sugar and check your blood sugar level again after 15 minutes. Keep on consuming sugar until, your blood sugar level rises to the normal level.
While choosing a sugary food for treating diabetic shock select foods that contain simple sugar or refined carbohydrate as its main ingredient. Fruit juices, honey, corn syrup, candies, raisins and table sugars are ideal foods for treating hypoglycemia. However, sugary snacks that contain large amounts of fats or proteins in addition to sugar such as cookies, pastries or chocolates may not produce the desired result.
Moreover, complex carbohydrates should be avoided in hypoglycemia treatment. Simple sugar is rapidly digested, which helps to maintain the normal blood glucose level rapidly. In most cases, consuming 15 to 20 grams of sugar is considered sufficient for restoring the normal blood sugar level.
When diabetic shock prevents you from taking glucose orally, glucose may be administered intravenously.
In case of moderate to severe diabetic shock that cannot be rapidly treated with oral sugar intake, glucagon is administered intramuscularly to induce the liver to release glucose in the blood. Glucagon acts rapidly. It usually works within a few minutes. The effect of a single dose of glucagon injection last for about 90 minutes. In case of severe diabetic shock that requires hospitalization, glucagon is administered intravenously to bring prompt improvement in the blood sugar level.
Cerebral edema, a serious symptom of severe diabetic shock, is treated with intravenous mannitol. Mannitol is a diuretic that helps to drain fluid from the brain. It is usually administered when coma due to diabetic shock lasts for over 5 hours.