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Diabetes

10/04/2017

WHAT IS DIABETES?

Diabetes is a medical condition that affects the body’s ability to produce insulin. An essential hormone that controls how glucose (blood sugar) is distributed to cells and tissues in the body.

There are two main types of Diabetic emergency that you may come across in the workplace:

Hypoglycaemia: Results from low blood sugar. Onset occurs very rapidly.
Hyperglycaemia: Results from high blood sugar. Onset occurs gradually.
Each type of diabetic emergency requires a different type of treatment. This poster will help first aiders identify the type of diabetic emergency they are faced with and deliver the correct type of treatment accordingly.

RECOGNISING A DIABETIC EMERGENCY

Low blood sugar levels caused by too little sugar and carbohydrate in the diet in relation to the body’s requirement, or too much insulin. This is balanced blood sugar level where diet and insulin are in balance with the body’s requirements.

Excessive blood sugar levels are due to too much sugar or carbohydrate in the diet, too little insulin, or infections.

Hypoglycaemia

Low blood sugar is typically caused by over-administration of Insulin medication or missing a meal / other irregular eating patterns. It can also be caused by exercise and stress and is  identified by the following symptoms:

1.    A display of confused / aggressive behavior

2.    Complaints of feeling hungry or faint

3.    A strong pulse with a rapid rate
 

4.    Deteriorating levels of response / responsiveness 


5.    A sweaty /clammy feeling to the surface of the skin, sometimes pale


The onset of a hypoglycaemic emergency occurs rapidly. If urgent action is not taken the casualty will become completely unresponsive and may even suffer from a seizure.

ACTION IN THE EVENT OF HYPOGLYCAEMIA

The priority is to raise the casualty's blood sugar levels, in the form of a sugary drink or snack.

In an unresponsive casualty:
1.    Call an ambulance at the earliest opportunity.
2.    Check the casualty’s Airway, Breathing and Circulation (ABC).
3.    If necessary, place the casualty in the recovery position or perform CPR.

NEVER ATTEMPT TO RAISE AN UNRESPONSIVE CASUALTY’S BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS BY ADMINISTERING FOOD OR DRINK. THIS MAY BLOCK THE AIRWAY.


In a responsive casualty:
1.    Ensure the casualty is seated.
2.    Encourage them to drink a sugary drink or eat sugary foods. This will raise blood sugar levels.
3.    As the casualty begins to respond to sugar intake and show signs of recovery, continue to encourage them to eat and drink.
4.    Seek medical advice.


Hyperglycaemia

High blood sugar is typically caused by a failure to administer sufficient insulin. Especially common after meals, it can be identified by the following symptoms:

1.    Complaints of  feeling nauseous  and vomiting

2.    Extreme thirst, usually accompanied by a distinct ‘acetone’ odour on the breath

3.    Drowsy  & dehydrated

4.    Rapid breathing

5.    Dry & warm skin

6.    An urge to urinate


The onset of a hyperglycaemic emergency occurs very gradually. It is rare that a casualty will become completely unresponsive as such extreme deterioration may take a number of days.


ACTION IN THE EVENT OF HYPERGLYCAEMIA

In an unresponsive casualty:
1.    Call an ambulance.
2.    Check the casualty’s Airway, Breathing and Circulation (ABC).
3.    If necessary, place the casualty in the recovery position or perform CPR.

In a responsive casualty:
1.    Call an ambulance.
2.    Reassure the casualty.
3.    Try and keep the casualty alert.

4.    If in doubt and responsive, give sugar.

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