Someone with insulin shock can be suffering for several reasons - too much insulin, low blood sugar, or generally poor eating habits. Whatever the reason, insulin shock, also known as hypoglycemia, is a condition in diabetics that needs immediate attention. This guide should help you to recognize the symptoms of insulin shock and offer a few tips on how to treat it.
Look for the symptoms. If you think you're dealing with insulin shock, look for any or all of the following signs. The patient may be experiencing varying levels of consciousness. He may be uncoordinated, shaky or dizzy. Also, he could be irritable and complain of a very high heart rate. If a diabetic is complaining of severe hunger and has pale or sweaty skin, he's likely going into insulin shock. You will need to act quickly.
Give the patient sugar. The first thing that you need to do whenever a diabetic person is complaining of ‘not feeling right' is give him some sugar. A can of soda or some sugary treats should almost immediately bring up his blood sugar. (If you live with a diabetic, it's a good idea to carry these kinds of snacks with you at all times.) Fruit juices, chocolate bars and even a spoonful of sugar will all help to bring the patient out of the insulin shock.
Once sugar has been given to the diabetic person, suggest that he test his blood sugar. If it is extremely low or high, he will have to eat something more substantial, or else get himself to a hospital. Insulin shock can be the precursor to even worse problems in a diabetic, and if he just doesn't seem like himself, you should get your loved one to a medical professional immediately.
Restore consciousness if necessary. If the patient has gone into severe insulin shock, chances are he has lost consciousness. To treat this, you will need to ensure that he is still breathing. Establish an airway if you can by laying him down and tipping his chin upward. Put your ear to his mouth to listen for breathing. If he is, rub some sugar onto his gums. It will be absorbed by his gums and tongue. Don't try to force anything liquid or solid down his throat if he's unconscious, as this will cause him to choke. After a while, the sugar should restore alertness in your loved one. (If he isn't breathing, start rescue breathing and CPR right away.)
Get medical attention. Once you have taken immediate action and provided your loved one with sugar, it's a good idea to contact a medical professional. Depending on the severity of the shock, you may just want to check in with your family doctor or you may want to call for an ambulance. Use your judgment to determine what kind of after-care is needed for your loved one after he goes through insulin shock.
Prevention is the best treatment. To avoid having to treat insulin shock, it's best to prevent it. If you are diabetic or if you have a loved one who is, it is vital that you keep a close eye on what is being eaten. Proper sugar intake prevents insulin shock so that you won't have to treat it in an emergency.