People who have diabetes may encounter three types of emergencies. Each comes with its own symptoms, treatments and preventions.
- Hypoglycemia. This occurs when blood glucose gets too low. It can happen with any type of diabetes.
- Hyperglycemia. This occurs when blood glucose gets too high. People who have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes may have this.
- Ketoacidosis. This occurs when there are too many ketones in the blood and urine. It is most common in type 1 diabetes, but does occur rarely in type 2 diabetes.
One of the best ways to prevent a diabetes emergency is to NEVER stop taking your diabetes medicine without your doctor's OK. Don't change how much or when you take it either, unless your doctor has told you to. Keep taking your medicine even if your symptoms go away. Neither insulin nor diabetes pills are a cure for diabetes. Your symptoms have gone away at least partially because of the medicine you take, so you need to keep taking it.
Diabetes emergencies can also happen even when you're doing your best to control your blood glucose. Knowing how to recognize, treat and prevent them is an important part of taking charge of your diabetes. Talk with your doctor or diabetes educator about how to handle these emergencies.