At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Diabetes is known to cause a number of severe problems, including seizures and comas. A diabetic seizure occurs when the body receives a number of different signals from the brain that happen at the same time and contradict each other. Seizures in general can be caused by a number of different problems, including high or low blood glucose levels. A seizure is a serious condition and can result in death in some cases.
Although a person may be alert during a diabetic seizure, he or she often will not be fully aware of what is going on. For this reason, it can be difficult for surrounding people to know how to treat the condition, since the person having the seizure cannot provide any advice. Emergency medical officials should be contacted immediately, unless the person caring for the patient is experienced and knows how to handle the problem.
There are a number of different symptoms of a diabetic seizure caused by high or low blood glucose levels. The seizure often induces violent and sudden convulsions although these aren’t always present. Muscle weakness, confusion, sweating and a lack of awareness are other common signs. There are a large number of different types of seizures which are categorized according to the type of symptoms they induce. Many of these seizures have unknown causes.
Some types of seizures may not induce the shaking and convulsions which many people associate with the problem. For example, a seizure can cause the person to smell a strange scent when no on else can or suffer from alterations in his or her vision. Sometimes a seizure will last for no longer than a few seconds, while other times it will not stop on its own.
A common mistake among people trying to treat a diabetic seizure for low blood glucose levels is to attempt to feed the person. This can cause additional problems as the person is unaware of his or her surroundings and hence is more likely to choke in the food. If glucagon is available then this should be given straight away.
A diabetic coma can be caused by extremely low- or high-blood glucose levels and results in a state of complete unconsciousness. When a person enters a diabetic coma then the risk of death is severe and hence the emergency services should be contacted immediately. If a coma is caused by low glucose levels then this is sometimes called insulin shock.