ABC Medical Center > Diabetic coma

What is Diabetic coma?

21:53 - 4 May , 2021


It refers to a serious condition of type 2 diabetes characterized by very high or very low blood sugar levels, which can cause complications in the body or cause death if you don’t act on time.

Anyone with type 2 diabetes is at risk of suffering a diabetic coma, but some factors can increase its appearance, such as: 

  • Alcohol consumption.
  • Drug intake.
  • Untreated or uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Medications that decrease glucose tolerance or increase fluid loss.
  • Infections.
  • Problems with insulin supply.
  • Suspension of insulin or other drugs that lower glucose levels.
  • Heart or kidney failure.
  • Heart attack or stroke.

Signs and symptoms Diabetic coma

There are usually a few signs before a diabetic coma occurs, depending on whether it is high (hyperglycemia) or low (hypoglycemia) blood sugar, such as:


  • Dry mouth
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Tiredness.
  • Weakness.
  • Bad breath.
  • Need to urinate frequently.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomit.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Accelerated heart rate.


  • Anxiety.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Hunger.
  • Dizziness.
  • Disorientation.
  • Nausea.
  • Visual difficulties.
  • Trouble expressing yourself.
  • Excess sweat.
  • Tremors.

If you have any of these warning symptoms, you must have a blood sugar test and go immediately to your doctor or the ABC Medical Center’s Emergency Room, since a diabetic coma can cause irreversible brain damage or death.

Diagnosis and treatment Diabetic coma

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform a physical examination and request the following blood tests to measure:

  • Amount of creatinine in the blood.
  • Amount of potassium, phosphate, and sodium in the blood.
  • Blood sugar level.
  • Ketone levels.

Treatment of diabetic coma consists of acting immediately based on whether the cause is hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.

If the glucose level is high, the goal is to give intravenous fluids to restore the tissues’ water, as well as insulin so that the tissues absorb sugar from the blood.

They will also give you potassium, sodium, and phosphate so that your body works properly at a cellular level. When your glucose levels are too low, you may be given a glucagon or dextrose shot intravenously to quickly increase your body’s sugar levels.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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  • Ovalle-Luna OD, Jiménez-Martínez IA, Rascón-Pacheco RA, et al. Prevalencia de complicaciones de la diabetes y comorbilidades asociadas en medicina familiar del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social. Gac Med Mex. 2019;155(1):30-38.
  • Seniscal-Arredondo D, Merino-Rivera JA, Díaz-Greene EJ, et al. Other types of diabetes. When to think of them?. Med Int Mex. 2021;37(6):1008-1114.
  • Zhou X, Portela OJM, Zaragoza LG, et al. Preoperative hyperglycemia in patients without diabetes mellitus subjected to elective surgeries. Acta Med. 2021;19(4):506-509. doi:10.35366/102536.
  • Andrade-Castellanos CA, Colunga-Lozano LE. Systematic review with meta-analysis: Subcutaneous insulin glargine coadministration for diabetic ketoacidosis. Gac Med Mex. 2016;152(6):761-769.

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    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.