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How Long Does A Diabetic Coma Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Several hours

A diabetic coma is a potentially fatal diabetes complication in which the patient is unconscious. If you have diabetes, dangerously high or dangerously low blood sugar levels might result in a diabetic coma.

Once you’re in a diabetic coma, you’ll be still alive, but you can’t wake up or respond to sights, noises, or other sorts of stimuli. A diabetic coma, if left untreated, can be lethal.

How Long Does A Diabetic Coma Last?

ConditionsSugar levels lead to coma
Diabetic ketoacidosisover 240 mg/dl
Nonketotic hyperosmolar syndromeover 600 mg/dl.

Diabetic coma develops only after a long period of severe vomiting and hyperventilation, generally 36 hours or more. And it will last for several hours.

You’ll normally have indications of high blood sugar or low blood sugar before you enter a diabetic coma. You may suffer tension, anxiety, exhaustion, perspiration, hunger, and nausea if your blood sugar level is too high.

Certain people, particularly those with diabetes for a long period, acquire a syndrome known as hypoglycemia unawareness, in which they are oblivious of the warning indications of a blood sugar decrease.

It is indeed a serious medical condition. Call 911 or your local emergency number if you have very low or high blood sugar signs or symptoms and fear you might pass out. If you’re with someone who has diabetes and they’ve passed out, call for help and be sure to tell the emergency staff that the person has diabetes.

A diabetic coma can happen to anyone who has diabetes, however, the following variables can make it more likely:

  • Problems with insulin administration. If you’re using an insulin pump, you’ll need to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. Insulin administration may be interrupted if the system fails or the tube becomes twisted or dislodged.
  • A sickness, a traumatic event, or a surgical procedure. Sugar levels tend to rise when you’re unwell or injured, often substantially. If you have type 1 diabetes and don’t adjust your insulin dose to compensate, you could develop diabetic ketoacidosis.
  • Diabetes has been poorly treated. You’re more likely to develop long-term issues and a diabetic coma if you don’t correctly monitor your blood sugar or take your medications as prescribed.
  • Have a drink. Alcohol might have unpredictability when it comes to blood sugar levels. The sedative effects of alcohol may make it difficult to detect low blood sugar signs.
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If you get into a deep coma, you must receive prompt medical attention. If you take too long to respond, you risk brain damage or death. If your blood sugar is excessively high, you will be given intravenous fluids as well as phosphate, salt, and potassium supplements. If your blood sugar falls below a certain level, you will be given insulin, intravenous fluids, and a half dextrose solution.

Why Does A Diabetic Coma Last For So Long?

Diabetic coma is caused mostly by excessively low or high blood sugar levels. Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome is one of these disorders. It occurs in persons who have Type 2 diabetes. If you have this condition, you should do the following:

  • Your blood glucose level might be as high as 600 mg/dL.
  • Ketones aren’t commonly seen in the urine.
  • The thickness of your blood will be significantly greater than normal.

Diabetic ketoacidosis is another disease that is more frequent in persons with Type 1 diabetes. The following are some facts about this disease to be aware of:

  • It can occur with blood sugar levels as low as 250 mg/dL, or even lower in certain situations.
  • Fatty acids are used as fuel by your body instead of glucose.
  • Ketone bodies are formed in the urine and bloodstream.

A diabetic coma can be avoided by maintaining good day-to-day control of your diabetes. Remember the following suggestions:

  • Stick to your diet. Snacks and meals that are consistent might help you manage your blood sugar levels.
  • As recommended, take your medicine. Inform your doctor if you experience frequent low or high blood sugar levels. Your medication’s dose or schedule may need to be adjusted by your doctor.
  • Consider using a blood glucose meter if you have difficulty maintaining consistent sugar levels or if you do not have symptoms of low blood sugar.
  • Blood glucose meters are devices that employ a tiny sensor put beneath the skin to detect trends in your blood sugar levels and transfer the data to a wireless device.
  • Maintain vigilance over your blood sugar levels. Frequent blood sugar testing can inform you if you’re staying within your target blood sugar range and can warn you of harmful highs or lows.
  • Inform your family, friends, and coworkers. Educate dear ones and other close connections on how to spot early indications and effects of blood sugar excesses, as well as how to provide immediate infusions.
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Conclusion

People with diabetes can keep their blood sugar levels in the safe range by recognizing the early indicators of low or high blood sugar levels and monitoring them regularly. It is also critical to consume regular meals, take medications as prescribed by the doctor, and know what to do if symptoms arise.

Informing individuals with whom you work or reside about your illness, as well as carrying a health ID wristband or pendant, can assist others in bringing you necessary treatment if a coma occurs.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673673923465
  2. https://www.bmj.com/content/2/5921/687.abstract
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