Diabetic Family Member? Know These Signs That They Need Urgent Medical Care

Posted on: 17 April 2017

Most patients with diabetes can live pretty normal lives as long as they watch their diets, monitor their blood sugar, and use insulin as directed. However, diabetics are still at an increased risk of many ailments, from diabetic comas to serious eye conditions. If you have a friend or a loved one with diabetes, it's helpful to know what signs indicate that you should get them to an emergency room -- or urgent care center -- sooner rather than later.

Fatigue and Fainting

If your diabetic loved one feels so fatigued that they fear they might faint -- or if they do faint -- you need to get them medical attention right away. Though there are many possible causes of these symptoms, one possibility is that your loved one is experiencing hyperglycemia, or extremely high blood sugar levels. This condition can also cause increased thirst, nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, and shortness of breath. If left unaddressed, it can be deadly. 

Confusion and Difficulty Speaking

These are the most common symptoms of extremely low blood sugar, which may occur if your loved one miscalculates their insulin dose or accidentally takes too much insulin. Low blood sugar can progress to a diabetic coma, a state in which the patient becomes completely unconscious, very quickly. Call 911, and while you're waiting, try to get your loved one to take in something sugary like soda or candy. You can even pour plain white sugar or corn syrup into their mouth if that's all you have around!

Sudden Visual Blurriness

Sustained high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Though this damage usually progresses over time, it can sometimes suddenly cause what's called a retinal detachment. This is when the retina peels away from the other eye tissues. The most obvious symptom is sudden blurriness in the visual field. Patients may also start seeing cobwebs or spots with one of their eyes.

Retinal detachment is usually correctable with surgery, but the surgery needs to be performed promptly in order for it to be effective. So, if your diabetic friend or family member ever complains of worrying visual symptoms, take them to an urgent care center immediately.

Of course, as with any person, you should also seek medical care if your diabetic friend experiences a severe wound, has signs of infection like a fever or pus around a wound, or complains of any chest pain.

For more information, talk to a professional like Meadowbrook Urgent Care.