Diabetic coma is a medical emergency in which a person with diabetes loses consciousness because of one of the acute complications of diabetes:
- Severe hypoglycemia
- Advanced ketoacidosis from a combination of severe hyperglycemia, dehydration and shock, and exhaustion
- Hyperosmolar nonketotic state, in which extreme hyperglycemia and dehydration alone are enough to cause unconsciousness.
Overview[edit | edit source]
Coma is a profound state of unconsciousness and a person in coma does not respond normally to pain or light, does not take any voluntary action, and does not exhibit the normal sleep-wake cycles. It may be a result of several conditions including including intoxication, metabolic abnormalities, central nervous system diseases, acute neurologic injuries such as stroke, and hypoxia. In some cases, it is deliberately induced by administering pharmaceutical agents with a view to preserve higher brain function following another form of brain trauma.
Diabetic coma is a condition which may result as a severe complication of diabetes and may take three major forms of complications as indicated above, namely, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), Diabetic ketoacidosis, and Hyperosmolar nonketotic state. In some case, even hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) may also trigger diabetic coma. Diabetic coma is largely preventable if proper medications as prescribed is taken along with having a healthy diet and maintaining a suitable lifestyle. At the same time, the blood sugar level should be monitored closely to indicate potential problems.
Signs and symptoms[edit | edit source]
Diabetic coma does not strike suddenly - it is preceded by a number warning signs and symptoms. In case of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia the person affected may experience one or more of these signs - frequent urination and increased thirst, dry mouth, vomiting and nausea, and shortness of breadth. In case of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), one or more of these signs and symptoms may occur - nervousness, profuse sweating, confusion, irritation, feeling of unusual hunger, and tiredness.
Extremes of blood sugar levels, both high as well as low, are major contributing factors for a number of complications as indicated below that may cause diabetic coma: