A diabetic woman pricks her finger to check blood sugar levels.

When Do Diabetics Need To Visit the ER?


Diabetes is a very serious condition that can lead to severe complications, so make sure you know when and where to go if you need emergency room services. Here are common medical emergencies for diabetics that require immediate medical care.

Hyperglycemia

Hyperglycemia occurs when your blood sugar levels are too high. If hyperglycemia is not properly treated, the blood can become too acidic and cause cell damage. This can lead to coma or death. Symptoms of hyperglycemia include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Rapid breathing
  • Unconsciousness

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar levels are too low. If a diabetic is unable to raise the blood sugar back to a stable level, hypoglycemia can lead to coma or death. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

  • Shaking or weakness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Double vision
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness

Foot Injuries

Nerve damage due to diabetes can lead to numbness in the feet, causing diabetics to be unaware of foot injuries, which can later lead to amputations. Make sure to check your feet daily for any injury. Catching it quickly may save your limb.

Heart Attack

Diabetes makes you two to four times more likely to have a heart attack. Be sure you know the Common Signs of a Heart Attack so you can immediately call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Stroke

Diabetes can make the effects of a stroke even more severe on your body. Know How to Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T. by learning the symptoms and seeking emergency care quickly.

Kidney Failure

Diabetes is the top cause of kidney failure in America. Be sure to have your urine tested for protein and watch for these symptoms:

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased urination
  • Ankle or leg swelling
  • ​Decreased need for insulin

If you or a loved one shows signs of these diabetes-related emergencies, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention by calling 911 or visiting your closest St. Luke’s Health ER.

Sources:
Very Well Health | An Overview of Hypoglycemia
Health | The 7 Most Common Diabetes-Related Medical Emergencies
Health | How to Avoid Amputations if You Have Diabetes
WebMD | The Link Between Stroke and Diabetes

 

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