Monday, September 23, 2013

Diabetes and Diabetic Coma

By  on May 11, 2012
diabetic coma is a medical emergency and occurs when the person passes out due to excessively high or low blood sugar. A person typically experiences all the symptoms of high or low blood sugar before he/she loses unconsciousness. If left untreated it can lead to brain damage and death.
There are three types of diabetic coma, which give rise to different symptoms. Let us see the types and symptoms of diabetic coma.
Common Symptoms of Diabetic Coma

Symptoms of Ketoacidotic Coma

Ketoacidotic coma occurs in patients who suffer from type 1 diabetes. This coma occurs when excessive ketones are found in the body. Due to lack of insulin, the body starts to use fat for its energy. This leads to the excessive production of ketones, which makes the blood highly acidic. The symptoms of this coma include excessive thirst, nausea, vomiting, confusion, lethargy, and fatigue, difficulty in breathing, stomach pain and fruity smell on the breath.

Symptoms of Hypoglycaemic coma

This is a coma, which occurs when blood sugar levels fall dangerously low. This happens due toinfrequent or faulty eating and an increased dose of insulin. The typical symptoms of hypoglycaemic coma include sweating, palpitations, extreme hunger, confusion, trembling and drowsiness. If the symptoms are not checked, the person loses consciousness and faints.

Symptoms of hyperosmolar coma

This is the opposite of hypoglycaemic coma and occurs when the blood sugar levels become excessively high. It occurs when the person misses an insulin dose or overeats. The typical symptoms are fatigue, increased urination and thirst, nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.


In all kinds of diabetic coma, headaches are known to occur. This is due to a combination offluctuating blood sugar levels and extreme hunger, which leads to headaches.


The person starts to feel dizzy and lightheaded if the glucose levels fall or rise below normal. Light-headedness is one of the first signs of a diabetic coma. It is soon followed by dizziness and fainting.

Blurred vision

Severe cases of hyperosmolar coma can lead to blurring of vision especially if the high blood sugar levels have remained undetected for weeks before the onset of the symptoms. The person can experience blind spots and difficulties in viewing things.


Altered blood sugar levels may make the person disoriented, confused and the person starts to hallucinate. Hallucinations occur when the person sees, hears or experiences things, which are not actually physically present in the environment.


Paralysis is a less common symptom of a diabetic coma but is known to occur. Generally, patients experience paralysis or general body weakness on one side only.

Experience of a Black Out

People who have been diabetics for years are well versed with their symptoms and are keenly attuned to changes in their bodies. Luckily for them, they are able to detect changes in consciousness like near black outs or feeling too low especially when blood sugar levels fall dangerously. At times like this, urgent medical treatment is essential. A diabetic coma is a medical emergency and merits prompt attention.

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