A Nightmare for Diabetic People – Diabetic Coma Death
Ever wondered that your diabetes can put you in Comma? Sounds scary right? But it’s not a hoax. Diabetic coma is a serious illness associated with diabetes which can lead to permanent brain damage and even death. Diabetic Coma death also known as Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome (HHNS) is a rare disease which can happen to people who have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. According to statistics approximately 2 to 15% of diabetic patients are on a risk of suffering from Diabetic coma at least once in their lifetime. However, it usually happens to people who are above 50 years of age.
Causes of Disease:
The diabetic coma death can result from a number of factors. There are three prime factors which can cause this insulin shock.
• Hypoglycaemia: It occurs when there is extremely low level of glucose in human body. (below 3.5 mmol/l). This deficiency in low blood sugar is extremely detrimental to brain’s function and can cause brain to malfunction resulting in seizures, unconsciousness, brain damage and eventually death. It usually affects people with type 1 diabetes. It is caused due to overdose of insulin or too little food intake. It can also be caused by drinking too much alcohol. In hypoglycaemia, the mouth dry up and thirst increases together with an increase in heart beat and sweating. The patient may also feel drowsiness accompanied with extreme weakness.
• Diabetic ketoacidosis: This usually happens when there is deficiency of insulin and human body as a result breaks down fats to compensate for the loss of glucose. The broken down pieces of fats are called ketones. These ketones produce hormones which act against the function of insulin. According to ‘American Diabetic Association’, glucose level in excess of 240 mg/dl can cause build up of ketone bodies and consequently diabetic coma.
• Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS): It occurs when the blood sugar is too high and in excess of 600mg/dl. The patient feels the need to pass urine more often because the body tries to discharge the excess sugar in the blood. This can cause dehydration and the brain consequently uses fluids from the brain cells which can eventually cause coma if not treated timely. High levels of blood sugar are mainly due to excessive food intake, shortage of insulin, negligence in checking high sugar levels. This syndrome happens only to people with type 2 diabetes.
What should you do if you feel the symptoms of a diabetic coma? First and foremost, the patient or the relatives should immediately call the ambulance. If you are with someone who has fallen into a diabetic coma, and you don’t have any training about diabetes, then there is not much you can do besides calling the ambulance. However, if you are acquainted with diabetes care then there are a couple of things that you should do.
1. You should immediately check the sugar level of patient.
2. If the sugar level is below 70mg/dl, then you should give them an injection of glucagon. Never give insulin to patient with low sugar levels.
3. In case, you don’t have glucagon then rub honey inside the cheeks of the patient.
4. If the sugar level is high then do nothing and wait for the ambulance.
5. Once the ambulance arrives, you should inform the paramedics about the medical history of the patient and the treatment you have given in the meantime.
A diabetic coma is always treated in the hospital. The doctor may give fluids to moderate the level of blood sugar if the sugar level is too high. The doctor may also prescribe several tests including blood test, glucose test and tests for measuring level of ketones, potassium ,phosphate and sodium.
It is often said that prevention is better than cure. There is no shortcut to achieving good health. Health is more precious than wealth so comparatively more effort is required to maintain good health than to obtain wealth. The diabetic patients should regularly check their sugar level in order to tackle any emergency beforehand. The patients can also wear Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) if they find it difficult to monitor their sugar levels on daily basis. You should always take your medicine on time as directed by your doctor. You should always have readily available glucagon and sugar sources like sweets, fruits etc to counter low blood sugar levels. In case you suffer from high blood sugar levels than you should do a lot of exercise to help body produce insulin and maintain sugar levels.
Eat wholesome food and especially citrus fruits. Avoid eating too much sweet dishes e.g. cream cake, custard , triffle etc especially when you don’t have enough physical output. The Doctors have recommended several natural herbs and vitamins which help regulate sugar level. Most common are Chromium. Alpha lipoic acid (ALA). Watermelon, Syzygium cumini and Blueberries .
Always remember that this is your body and only you are responsible for taking care of it. Good health is a pre-requisite for living happy and successful life.