What should I do if I find a diabetic unconscious?

Unconsciousness can be either diabetic coma, which means the diabetic has extremely high blood sugar, or insulin shock, which means it's extremely low. If you know the diabetic takes insulin and sticks to his or her diet pretty well, then you can be almost certain it's insulin shock.

If you know how to give an injection and where the diabetic keeps a supply of glucagon, you can give a shot of that. If you have a tube of Glutose (concentrated glucose) or Insta Glucose (liquid glucose), both available at pharmacies, you can squeeze a little inside the diabetic's cheek. Never, under any circumstances, pour any liquid like fruit juice or Coca Cola down a diabetic's throat, as it could wind up in the lungs and suffocate him or her. If you can't do either of these things, then you can give a sugar solution enema. With any of these methods the diabetic should come around in about fifteen minutes. In cases where none of the above treatments is available to you, call a doctor or the paramedics.

If you know for sure that the diabetic doesn't take insulin and/or doesn't follow the diet or take care of him or herself, then it's probably a diabetic coma, the result of long range diabetic misbehavior. In this case, call the doctor or an ambulance immediately. There's nothing much you can do in this kind of a crisis. Only a hospital can help now.

If you have no idea whether you're dealing with insulin shock or diabetic coma, treat for insulin shock. If it's diabetic coma, the diabetic already has so much sugar floating through his or her system that a little more isn't going to make all that much difference. And if it is insulin shock, your quick treatment could be a lifesaver. A person in good health will eventually come out of insulin shock spontaneously, but for someone with a heart condition the shock could be life threatening.


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