Diabetes: Hypoglycemia

Participants enrolled in St Mark James standard and emergency first aid re-certifications and full courses will learn about Diabetic emergencies. One common, potentially life threatening form of Diabetes is hypoglycemia. The human brain is dependent on a steady level of glucose to function and patients with hypoglycemia can have low or no amount of glucose to supply to the brain. This diabetic emergency, also known as insulin shock or insulin reaction, occurs as the body does not have enough sugars / glucose int he body. Most people with this type of diabetes are prescribed medication to control their blood sugar. People may also suffer hypoglycemia as they become heavily intoxicated with alcohol. People with diabetes who consume high levels of alcohol are at a extremely high risk of developing hypoglycemia. The material posted on this page is for information purposes only. To learn to recognize and provide care for patients with hypoglycemia take a St Mark James standard first aid course.

Causes of Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is caused when the body has insufficient blood sugar / glucose levels. Hypoglycemia can be caused as people with hypoglycemic pills or insulin have poor or insufficient food intake, have worked or exercised strenuously and used all available glucose or people have taken too much insulin or too much hypoglycemic mediation.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemic patients are often confused with or misdiagnosed as being intoxicated with alcohol as the signs and symptoms are extremely similar. Patients with hypoglycemia can be confused, behave irrationally and erratically. The following are some early signs to patients with hypoglycemia:

  • Hunger
  • Pale, sweaty skin
  • Dizziness, trembling and weakness
  • Confusion
  • Irritable

Without treatment or as hypoglycemia progresses uninterrupted, the patients condition can quickly worsen to include slurred speech, reduced levels of consciousness, unresponsiveness, severe sweating and seizures. Respiration and pulse of victim with hypoglycemia can increase.

Treatment and Patient Care for Hypoglycemia

When rescuer’s find patients exhibiting the symptoms noted above the rescuer should be on the look for any medical alert bracelets or cards to determine whether the symptoms are caused by hypoglycemia. Basic treatment for patients with hypoglycemia is to provide glucose in any form. Any sugary substance will help treat the patient. The response time to the sugar intake varies depending on the health level of the patient, age and obesity level. Patients should be directed to medical attention regardless if their situations improves over time.

To learn more about recognizing and treating patients with hypoglycemia take a St Mark James standard first aid course.

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