Diabetic coma is a potentially life-threatening disorder that causes loss of consciousness. If you have diabetes, a dangerously high blood sugar level (hyperglycemia) or a dangerously low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia) can cause a diabetic coma. It's important to treat symptoms of high blood sugar right away to help prevent complications. If you have hyperglycemia and don't treat it for long periods of time, you can damage nerves, blood vessels, tissues and organs.
This happens when the body has too little insulin (the hormone that carries glucose to the blood) or if the body can't use insulin properly. Consider using a continuous glucose monitor, especially if you have trouble maintaining stable blood sugar levels or don't feel symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia without realizing it). Checking your blood and then treating high blood glucose levels early will help you avoid problems associated with hyperglycemia. You'll need to work with your doctor to find the safest way to lower your blood glucose level.
However, you should still measure your blood sugar levels with a blood glucose meter, even if you use one of these monitors. A blood sugar level that is too high or too low for too long can cause the following serious health problems, all of which can lead to a diabetic coma. If you have symptoms of high or low blood sugar and think you might faint, call 911 or the local emergency number. If you have type 2 diabetes or are at risk of developing it, extremely high blood sugar can cause a potentially life-threatening condition in which your body cannot process sugar.
Damage to blood vessels can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and nerve damage can also cause eye damage, kidney damage, and wounds that don't heal. Continuous glucose monitors are devices that use a small sensor inserted under the skin to track trends in blood sugar levels and send the information to a wireless device, such as a smartphone. If you have ketones (measured in blood or urine) and high blood sugar levels, the condition is called diabetic ketoacidosis. If hyperglycemia is left untreated in people with type 1 diabetes, it can develop into ketoacidosis, in which ketones, which are toxic acids, build up in the blood.
If you work to keep your blood sugar under control (follow your meal plan, exercise program, and medication program), you shouldn't have to worry about hyperglycemia. If you have diabetes and notice any of the first signs of high blood sugar levels, take a blood sugar test and call your doctor.