Insulin Shock

February 23, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

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What Is Insulin Shock?

Insulin shock is characterized by a drop in blood glucose levels, often triggered by a diabetic trying to reach normal levels of blood glucose by using insulin. The glucose levels fall below 50 dl and can cause symptoms of shock.

The Symptoms

The Symptoms of Insulin shock can often be confused with symptoms of high blood glucose. Be sure to check the blood sugar levels before administering treatment.

*Pale or clammy skin.
*Cold sweats
*Shaky or weak movements
*Rapid heartbeat
*Strong hunger


First and foremost, give yourself or the diabetic a dose of sugar. It can be in pure table sugar form, candy, fruit juice, or soda. If you or the person you are helping is having trouble understanding to chew and swallow, try dissolving sugar in water and drinking it. (or giving them to drink). In some cases a diabetic you are treating may not be conscious and in that case you can put sugar under the tounge. While it dissolves, the sugar will be absorbed through the oral mucosa. Never just pour anything into the mouth of someone who is not awake, this can cause even bigger problems such as choking and drowning.


After blood glucose levels have been brought up enough to stabilize, feed your diabetic or yourself a meal packed with carbohydrates. This is important as often glucose levels will again drop not long after being raised. Check the glucose levels often after an insulin shock episode, it can fall again without warning even after sugar has been introduced into the body. Keep a stock of sugary items close at hand during such an episode.

Items to Have

A diabetic should always have an emergency insulin shock plan. The best plan of action is to know glucose levels before going on a long drive, hiking, or shopping for an extended period of time. Hyperglycemia is not nearly as dangerous as hypoglycemia, so while it is important to take your insulin, missing a dose will not cause a reaction in the same deadly areana as taking too much! But, just in case you do have too much insulin in your body have these items:

*Identifying jewelry or card for diabetes.
*Glucose gel or tablets
*Packets of sugar
*Hard candy
*Chocolate bar.
*Nutritional drink for after care (Ensure)
*Protein bar (for prevention)

Any of these items will help you in case of an insulin shock episode. If you find yourself feeling hungry, the best prevention for insulin shock is to eat. Having just a few of these items on hand in your purse or pockets can make a world of difference. Men can always carry a protein bar in their pocket and a few packs of sugar in a small ziptop bag, too. Not carrying a purse is not an excuse!
Always be on top of your glucose, before it is on top of you.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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