Diabetic shock, also known as severe hypoglycemia, is a serious condition that occurs when blood sugar levels drop too low. It can lead to unconsciousness, seizures, and even death if not treated promptly. Prevention and management of diabetic shock are essential for individuals with diabetes. Here, we will discuss what it is, its symptoms, causes, and risk factors, as well as lifestyle changes and treatment strategies that can prevent it and help diabetics to manage their health condition.
Understanding Diabetic Shock
Hypoglycemic shock occurs when blood sugar levels drop below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). It is characterized by symptoms such as confusion, irritability, sweating, dizziness, and fainting. It is usually caused by taking too much insulin or diabetes medication, skipping meals, or exercising without eating enough food. Risk factors for this condition include having diabetes for a long time, not managing blood sugar levels properly, and having a history of hypoglycemia.
It is important to differentiate insulin shock from other types of diabetic emergencies such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) or hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS), which occur when blood sugar levels are too high. The symptoms of diabetic shock are different from those of DKA or HHS, which include frequent urination, thirst, and fatigue.
Prevention of Hypoglycemic Shock
The best way to prevent diabetic shock is to manage blood sugar levels properly through lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. Eating a balanced diet that is low in sugar and high in fiber can help regulate blood sugar levels. It is also important to eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day to avoid dips in blood sugar levels to manage your health condition. Exercise is also important, but it is important to monitor blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercise to prevent hypoglycemia.
Regular blood sugar monitoring is essential for preventing diabetic shock. Blood sugar levels should be checked several times a day, especially before meals and before bedtime. It is also important to carry a source of fast-acting sugar, such as glucose tablets or gel, in case of an emergency.
Treatment Strategies for Diabetic Shock
If diabetic shock occurs, it is important to act quickly. The first step is to consume a source of fast-acting sugar such as glucose tablets, gel, or juice. If the person is unconscious or unable to swallow, glucagon can be injected to raise blood sugar levels.
If a person with diabetes experiences frequent episodes of diabetic shock, adjustments to their medication may be necessary. This may include reducing the dosage of insulin or diabetes medication, changing the timing of doses, or adjusting the type of medication. It is important to work closely with a healthcare provider to find the best treatment strategy for managing blood sugar levels and preventing such medical emergencies.
Coping with Diabetic Shock
Experiencing an episode of diabetic shock can be scary and can cause fear and anxiety. It is important to seek support from healthcare providers, family members, or support groups to cope with the emotional impact of this condition. It is also important to have a plan in place for managing blood sugar levels and preventing future episodes.
Significance of Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems in Preventing Diabetic Shock
Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) systems have become a popular tool for patients seeking to prevent hazardous complications. These devices offer real-time navigation of blood glucose levels and can act as assistive devices in preventing insulin shock. By providing alerts before reaching a hypoglycemic state, patients can take appropriate precautions and avoid insulin shock.
There are numerous CGM systems available in the market, but the Freestyle Libre 3 and G7 Dexcom have gained significant popularity due to their unique features in 2023. Both devices are highly accurate, and their sensors are compact and easy for users to install. Once installed, the sensors provide 24-hour attachment to the skin for several days, making them a convenient option for patients.
Diabetic shock is a serious condition that can be prevented through lifestyle changes and proper management of blood sugar levels. Regular blood sugar monitoring, a balanced diet, and exercise are important for preventing diabetic shock. If diabetic shock occurs, prompt treatment is necessary to prevent serious complications. It is important to work closely with healthcare providers to find the best treatment strategy for managing blood sugar levels and preventing diabetic shock.