The brain cannot make its own glucose and is 100% dependent on the rest of the body for its supply.
If for some reason, the glucose level in the blood falls there can be effects on the function of the brain.
When the circulating level of blood glucose falls, the brain actually senses the drop.
The brain then sends out messages that trigger a series of events, including changes in hormone and nervous system responses that are aimed at increasing blood glucose levels.
In most of the patients the symptoms of hypoglycemia develops when blood glucose levels are lowered to the mid 50's.
The first set of symptoms is called neuro-genic because they relate to the nervous system's response to hypoglycemia.
Patients may experience nervousness, sweating, intense hunger, trembling, weakness, palpitations, and often have trouble speaking.
In most patients, these symptoms are easily recognizable.
The vast majority of patients with diabetes only experience this degree of hypoglycemia if they are on medications or insulin.
Anyone who has experienced an episode of hypoglycemia describes a sense of urgency to eat and resolve the symptoms.
The symptoms provide a person the opportunity to raise blood glucose levels before the brain is affected.
If a person does not or cannot respond by eating something to raise blood glucose, the levels of glucose continue to drop.
Somewhere in the 45 mg/dl range, symptoms progress to confusion, drowsiness, changes in behavior, coma and seizure.
CAUSES Causes of diabetic coma can be many such as infection, heart attack, stroke, recent surgery, heart failure, limited access to water in patients with dementia, older age, poor kidney function, not following the diabetic treatment plan as directed by the physician etc.
SYMPTOMS Symptoms usually show are confusion, convulsions, increased thirst, increased urination, nausea, weakness and weight loss.
In some cases, more symptoms such as dysfunctional movement, loss of feeling or function of muscles, speech impairment etc.
can be found.
As result of this coma acute circulatory collapse, blood clot formation, brain swelling (cerebral edema) and increased blood acid levels may be occurred.
TREATMENT Important treatment to diabetic coma is to correct dehydration.
This will improve the blood pressure, urine output and circulation.
Fluids and potassium will be given intravenously.
High glucose levels are treated with intravenous insulin.
The death rate with this condition is as high as 40%.
A diabetic coma is a serious, life-threatening complication of diabetes in which the patient falls into a state of unconsciousness.
It constitutes a medical emergency if left untreated, since it may result in permanent brain damage or death.
Controlling type 2 diabetes and recognizing the early signs of dehydration and infection can help prevent this condition.