Significant changes in blood sugar level, as sometimes experienced by people with diabetes, can lead to unconsciousness. This state, a medical emergency, is known as a diabetic coma. Patients who are found quickly can be brought out of such a coma using blood-sugar-regulating medications and fluid replacement. Without prompt treatment, however, the patient may never fully recover.
If you or someone you love has experienced a diabetic coma, but were misdiagnosed or prevented from receiving treatment, you may be able to pursue damages for your unnecessary pain and suffering. To learn how we can help you, contact the compassionate Clearwater medical malpractice lawyers of Tragos, Sartes & Tragos, PLLC today at 727-441-9030.
How Comas Occur
Diabetic comas are unsettlingly common: during their lifetimes, up to 15 percent of people with diabetes will experience at least one episode of diabetic coma. Many of these, especially for people with Type 1 diabetes, are due to sudden severe hypoglycemia. The onset of this type of coma is rapid, often occurring within half an hour of initial symptoms, or even in a matter of moments.
Certain factors increase the likelihood of a rapid drop in blood glucose: eating less than usual that day, exercising heavily without precautions, or drinking heavily. When symptoms of a blood sugar drop appear, many diabetics are able to prevent the onset of a hypoglycemic coma by eating carbohydrate-rich food. In some cases, however, unconsciousness comes too quickly for the patient to react.
In addition to hypoglycemic comas, a diabetic coma can also follow a period of diabetic ketoacidosis. This condition is caused by a lack of insulin in the body, leading to elevated blood sugar. This state is known as hyperglycemia, opposed to the low blood sugar of hypoglycemia. This excess blood sugar leads to dehydration and eventually unconsciousness. Before the invention of insulin therapy, it was usually fatal.