Insulin Shock Vs. Diabetic Coma
What is insulin shock?
Insulin shock is the term used to describe the body’s reaction to the decline in blood sugar (hypoglycemia) that results from an excess of the hormone insulin. Even though this condition is called insulin shock, there is no shock involved and insulin is not the primary culprit. Even people who do not have diabetes can experience insulin shock if their blood sugar levels drop too far. This condition is called “shock” because the body reacts similarly to how it does to a drop in blood pressure—with a fight or flight response.
Preventing Insulin Shock
To prevent insulin shock, individuals must:
- Be aware of the early signs of insulin shock;
- Test their blood sugar levels regularly;
- Maintain a regular eating schedule;
- Consume small meals throughout the day;
- Carry candy or glucose tablets at all times in case of a drop in blood sugar levels;
- Teach friends and family the signs of insulin shock and what to do if it occurs;
- Consult their doctor regularly to spot changes in their health.
What is Diabetic coma?
Diabetic coma causes dehydration and unconsciousness that can last for several days. Although both conditions require immediate medical attention, a diabetic coma can be fatal in severe cases.
Preventing Diabetic Coma
To prevent diabetic coma, individuals must:
- Follow a meal plan;
- Monitor blood sugar levels on a daily basis;
- Take medication as directed by their doctor;
- Consult their doctor about how to handle high blood sugar levels when ill;
- Carry fast-acting sources of glucose at all times in case of a drop in blood sugar levels;
- Check for ketones when blood sugar levels are high;
- Limit alcohol consumption and drink with caution;
- Teach friends and family how to identify a diabetic coma and what to do if it occurs.
Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.