Complications with Type 2 Diabetes


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Hypoglycaemia

The greatest problem you can encounter if you suffer from type 2 diabetes is hypoglycaemia. This is when your blood sugar falls below normal, usually after periods of illness, stress or excessive exercise. Even though sever hypoglycaemia is rare in type 2 diabetics, it is still important that you know what to do should it occur.

The people who are at greatest risk of developing severe hypoglycaemia are those who have long term diabetes and know little about their condition. Some people may develop a secondary problem called hypoglycaemia unawareness. This is usually only present in individuals who use insulin, causing episodes of hypoglycaemia to go unnoticed, often leading to more severe complications.

The major symptoms you should be on the look out for are:

  • Increased sweating
  • You feel very shaky
  • You are hungry
  • Your heart is beating very fast, often thumping

If the hypoglycaemia gets worse you may become confused, disorientated or even unconscious without treatment.

There are a number of ways in which you can help to prevent yourself from developing hypoglycaemia. These include

  • Regularly monitoring blood sugar levels, always before driving
  • Having frequent snacks if you become hypoglycaemic
  • Always carry food with high glucose levels in case

You should also ensure that your family and friends know what to do should you become hypoglycaemic, including giving fruit juice if weak and also learning to administer glucagon (a hormone that raises your blood sugar) if you become unresponsive.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Worryingly medical professionals have begun to see a marked rise in the number of cases of diabetic ketoacidosis amongst type 2 diabetics. This is a problem that is usually confined to type 1 diabetic patients when they have not used sufficient levels of insulin. What happens is that:

  • The patient has a particularly stressful event or illness/ injury
  • Insulin levels fall as the patient forgets to administer it
  • Blood sugar levels raise (hyperglycaemia)
  • Fat is rapidly broken down into free fatty acids which are released into the blood
  • These free fatty acids are further metabolised into ketone bodies, which are toxic at high concentrations

This build up often gives symptoms of:

  • Vomiting
  • Tiredness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Unconciousness and coma

It is vital that should this occur, patients are treated rapidly using I.V.  fluid replacement along with potassium and insulin.


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