Skip to content

    Diabetes Health Center

    Select An Article

    Diabetic Coma and Type 2 Diabetes

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    A diabetic coma could happen when your blood sugar gets too high -- 600 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or more -- causing you to become very dehydrated.

    It usually affects people with type 2 diabetes that isn’t well-controlled. It’s common among those who are elderly, chronically ill, and disabled. Doctors aren’t sure why, but they think they these people may not realize they’re thirsty or may not be able to get enough to drink.

    This is a serious condition, and if it isn’t spotted soon and treated quickly, it could be fatal. Knowing the symptoms can help you stay safe.

    What Are the Warning Signs?

    If you have diabetes and you’ve had a heavy thirst and gone to the bathroom more often than usual for a few weeks, check with your doctor -- especially if your blood sugar isn’t well-controlled. As your body loses more and more water, you may notice:

    • High fever
    • Weakness
    • Drowsiness
    • Altered mental state
    • Headache
    • Restlessness
    • Inability to speak
    • Visual problems
    • Hallucinations
    • Paralysis

    What Causes Diabetic Coma?

    These factors can also lead to dehydration and coma:

    How Is It Treated?

    Once your doctor spots the early signs, he may send you to the hospital. You’ll get an IV to replace lost fluids and electrolytes such as potassium. And you’ll get insulin or other medication to control your blood sugar. The coma can lead to death if left untreated.

    Can It Be Prevented?

    Take these simple steps to help protect yourself:

    • Check your blood sugar regularly, as your doctor recommends.
    • Know your target blood sugar ranges and what to do if the readings are too high.
    • Plan how often to check your blood sugar when you’re sick.
    • Take extra care of yourself if you’re ill.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on July 12, 2014
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Diabetic tools
    Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
    woman flexing muscles
    10 strength training exercises.
     
    Blood sugar test
    12 practical tips.
    Tom Hanks
    Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
     
    kenneth fujioka, md
    Video
    Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
    Article
     
    Middle aged person
    Tool
    jennie brand miller
    Video
     

    Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
    Article
    type 2 diabetes
    Slideshow
     
    food fitness planner
    Tool
    feet
    Slideshow