Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Type 1 Diabetes: Living With the Disease - When To Call a Doctor

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you are:

  • Unconscious or you suddenly become very sleepy or confused. You may have low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia.
  • Sleepy, confused, breathing very fast, or your breath smells fruity. You may have a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.

Call a doctor right away if:

Recommended Related to Diabetes

Can You Drink Alcohol if You Have Diabetes?

In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics, including questions about what's true and not true in the field of medicine. For our July/August 2012 issue, we interviewed a researcher from the Joslin Diabetes Center about alcohol and diabetes. Q: My husband has diabetes and says it's OK to drink alcohol. Is that true? A: While it's fine for some people with diabetes to drink some alcohol, your husband's blanket statement is...

Read the Can You Drink Alcohol if You Have Diabetes? article > >

  • Your blood sugar is 300 mg/dL or higher (or it is higher than the level your doctor has set for you).

Call a doctor if you:

  • Are sick and having trouble controlling your blood sugar.
  • Have had vomiting or diarrhea for more than 6 hours.
    • Sick-Day Guidelines for People With Diabetes
  • Often have problems with high or low blood sugar levels.
  • Have trouble knowing when your blood sugar is low (hypoglycemia unawareness).
  • Have questions or want to know more about diabetes.

Who To See

Health professionals involved in your treatment may include:

  • A family medicine physician.
  • A general practitioner.
  • An internist.
  • An endocrinologist or pediatric endocrinologist.
  • An adolescent medicine specialist.
  • A pediatrician.
  • A nurse practitioner.
  • A physician assistant.
  • A certified diabetes educator (CDE).
  • A registered dietitian.

Who to see for complications

If you begin to have symptoms of complications from diabetes, you may be referred to:

  • A cardiologist or vascular specialist, for treatment of heart and circulation problems.
  • A nephrologist, for treatment of kidney disease.
  • An ophthalmologist for diagnosis and treatment of eye disease, or an optometrist for diagnosis of eye disease. Ophthalmologists treat retinal complications from diabetes.
  • A neurologist, for treatment of nerve damage.
  • A gastroenterologist, for treatment of problems in the stomach and intestines.
  • A urologist, for treatment of problems with sexual function or the urinary tract.
  • A podiatrist, pedorthist (a certified technician who can make special shoes or shoe inserts), or orthopedic surgeon, for foot and ankle problems.

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 05, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Woman holding cake
Slideshow
feet
Slideshow
 
man organizing pills
Slideshow
Close up of eye
Slideshow
 

Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections