(4) You need not worry about the amount of sugar you have given the
patient. The doctor at the medical treatment facility will balance the patient's sugar level
against insulin production.
Diabetic patients have trouble with the level of blood sugar being either too
high or too low. If the patient is exhibiting signs of insulin shock
(hypoglycemia), give sugar (one of the foods listed in paragraph 3-8c(3)).
The person with too high a blood sugar level will not be harmed. And on the
other hand, you may save the life of a patient whose blood sugar level is too
(5) Frequently, diabetic patients carry a card in the wallet which advises the
reader that if the person is behaving strangely, he may be having an insulin reaction or
his blood sugar may be too low. The reader is instructed to give the diabetic sugar,
candy, fruit juice, or a sweetened drink. The reader is also instructed to call a physician
or send the person to a hospital immediately.
HEALTH PROBLEMS REQUIRING IMMEDIATE CARE
In addition to insulin shock, there are several other conditions a diabetic patient
may have, conditions which require immediate attention. Hyperglycemia (high blood
sugar) and ketoacidosis (diabetic coma) are two such conditions.
a. Hyperglycemia. The level of sugar in the blood is too high in this condition.
The patient has probably eaten too much food or not taken enough insulin. Other
causes of high blood sugar include illness and emotional stress. Large amounts of
sugar in the urine and blood indicate hyperglycemia. The patient may also be very
thirsty, urinate more often than usual, and feel nauseated. A physician should be
consulted to treat high blood sugar.
b. Ketoacidosis. This is another name for diabetic coma, a condition which
may go along with high blood sugar. The cause of the condition is an imbalance of
insulin and blood sugar to so great a degree that ketones build up in the blood. Ketones
in great amount in the blood are poisonous. A slow developing ketoacidosis (occurring
over several hours or several days) can usually be controlled at the first signs of high
blood sugar or ketones in the urine. (Consult a physician immediately for instructions.)
Other symptoms the patient may experience in addition to high blood sugar and ketones
in the urine include dry mouth, great thirst, loss of appetite, excessive urination, dry and
flushed skin, labored breathing, and fruity smelling breath. Less common symptoms
which are sometimes present include vomiting, abdominal pain, and unconsciousness.
Type I diabetics (insulin-dependent) are most likely to develop ketoacidosis.