Diabetes is a disorder of the metabolism and is characterized by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both. People with diabetes must have a balance of food, exercise, and insulin to manage blood sugar levels. Many average daily occurrences can disrupt this balance, such as a lack of sleep or stress. When this balance is disrupted, certain emergency conditions including low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) may result. High or low blood sugars are most often not due to neglect on the diabetic's part.
Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar
If the individual is conscious, ask how you can help. The person may need your assistance in obtaining a sweetened drink or orange juice. Stay with the individual during recovery or find someone who can. If blood sugar levels do not rise sufficiently, the individual may need help securing medical attention.
Symptoms of High Blood Sugar
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Weight loss
If the individual has a form of insulin (injections, tablets, or infusion pump), and is coherent enough to measure the amount of insulin needed, you may offer assistance. If the individual does not seem able to do this, do not try to give them insulin yourself, you risk overcorrecting the problem and sending them directly into a low blood sugar. Individuals displaying these symptoms should be encouraged to seek immediate medical attention.
These symptoms may also be indicators of undiagnosed diabetes. If you know someone who exhibits these warning signs, suggest the person see his/her doctor for screening.
If the individual is unconscious (unresponsive to voice command or in obvious pain) call 9-911 on campus and 911 off campus.
Provide the 911 dispatcher with the following information:
- The exact location (name of building, street, floor)
- Condition/nature of emergency (look for a medical alert bracelet)
- Unresponsive individual's name
- Caller's name
- Extension or phone number your call is coming from
- Direct someone to meet the ambulance
- Call GU Security at x3222 after you have called 911
This information is provided by the office of Disability Resources, Education, & Access Management. Please direct any medical questions to the Student Health Center at x4052.