Sudden Medical Emergencies “Part 2 – Diabetes”

Sudden Medical Emergencies “Part 2 – Diabetes”

One of the most common forms of sudden medical emergencies is Diabetes, a diabetic emergency happens when the body cannot control the level of sugar in the blood. The blood sugar level may become too high “Hyperglycemia” or too low “hypoglycemia“. “Literally Diabetes means an imbalance in sugars“, this can alter the victims mental state, breathing rate, might feel or look ill or even appear intoxicated. Once you are able to recognize sings and symptoms the steps to help someone with Diabetes is quite simple.

To help someone who is a Diabetic or a potential Diabetic we should first look at some of the “potential causes“. These causes are a reference to the body’s imbalance between two or more factors.


  • – Pregnancy
  • – Lack of Exercise or too much
  • – Imbalanced food intake “High sugar / fat diets
  • – Insulin production “Often organ damage / failure / Malfunction

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes:

  • – Unusual thirst
  • – Frequent urination
  • – Weight change (gain or loss)
  • – Extreme fatigue or lack of energy
  • – Blurred vision
  • – Frequent or recurring infections
  • – Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  • – Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • – Trouble getting or maintaining an erection


  • – Proper Nutrition
  • – Proper exercise
  • – Weight management
  • – Take your medications as prescribed
  • – Check your blood sugar often, especially if you are sick or not following your normal routine.
  • – Keep some quick sugar foods with you at all times.
  • – Lifestyle management

What a Diabetic Emergency looks like:

  • – Changes in the level of consciousness
  • – Changes in behavior, such as confusion or aggression
  • – Rapid Breathing
  • – Cool, sweaty skin
  • – Skin that is paler than normal
  • – Appearance of intoxication
  • – Feeling and looking ill

How to help a Diabetic: High or Low Sugars

1) Check the area, once the area is safe, Check the person and ensure the persons ABC’s are present “Airway / Breathing / CirculationREMEMBERWear gloves if available to avoid bodily fluids.

2) Call 911 and get an AED if you are alone, you suspect a Head / Neck or Spine injury, there is a motor vehicle collision, dangerous environment or the injured persons life could be at risk.

3) Care for the Diabetic casualty by:

Always follow recommendations by your Emergency Response professionals and 911 Dispatch personnel. “Never endanger yourself or the victim, you may “not” need to move or roll the injured person

  • – If there are other life threatening injuries, treat those first as quickly as possible with as little movement to the injured person.

a) If the casualty is conscious and knows its a diabetic emergency“, offer the person a sugary drink such as orange or apple juice. If the person’s condition improves, recommend he or she eat a complete meal to stabilize

b) If the casualty is unconscious” Perform a secondary survey and place the person in the recovery position, continue care until EMS personnel arrive. “Do not stick anything in the casualty’s mouth as they may choke or stop breathing

While you wait for an ambulance:

RECOVERY Position:

  • 1) Kneel Beside the victim and place the victims furthest arm from you above their head.
  • 2) Place the arm closest to you across the victims chest as a protector arm.
  • 3) The Key is in their Knee, bend the nearest leg up at the knee.
  • 4) Carefully slip your hand under the hollow of the victims neck to support the Head Neck & Spine, at the same time use your forearm by slipping it carefully under the shoulder for leverage.
  • 5) Place your free hand on the Key Knee and gently roll the victim away from you by applying steady pressure against the knee and shoulder at the same time. The victims head should rest on their raised arm.
  • 6) To secure the position pull the key knee further up and bring their protector arm out to use the elbow to stabilize the position.
  • 7) Check the Airway to make sure their still breathing.

We never know what can happen, its always good to be prepared and have the knowledge we need to help those who need it.

“This material is for information purposes only and is taken from The Canadian Red Cross / Alberta Heart & Stroke Foundation & Alberta Health Services. This information should not be used in place of medical, Technical advice, instructor, and/or treatment. If you have questions, speak to your local Physician or Safety Training Facility.”

Just Remember:

Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!

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