Understanding First Aid for Diabetes

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There are approximately 1.7 million Australians who have diabetes.  This is an alarming statistic especially considering that an estimated 500,000 of these sufferers have not been medically diagnosed.

Diabetes is the medical condition when the insulin hormone is not being produced at sufficient levels for the body to convert glucose into energy and function properly.  There are several types of diabetes and several causes of diabetes which is important to understand if you are treating someone for this medical condition.

Types of Diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes: Type 1 Diabetes is not caused by lifestyle and there has been no official diagnosis of any other apparent causes, however there is speculation that it can be passed through genetics and is typically diagnosed before the age of 30. There is no cure for Type 1 Diabetes and requires consistent management of regular insulin injections or use of an insulin pump.

Type 2 Diabetes: Type 2 Diabetes is more common in adults over the age of 45, particularly those who are overweight or have a family history of the condition. 85%-90% of diagnosed diabetes is Type 2 Diabetes and can be instigated through lifestyle conditions such as poor diet, alcohol consumption and smoking. This diabetes is progressive and there is no known cure for the disease and is managed through regular insulin intake, oral medication and lifestyle changes.

Gestational Diabetes: Gestational Diabetes occurs during pregnancy and typically resolves after the baby is born. This is diagnosed in a standard 24-28-week Glucose Challenge Test (GCT) and can be managed throughout the pregnancy.  Particular risk factors of developing Gestational Diabetes includes family history, particular ethnic backgrounds, being overweight and prior medical conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

Diabetes can be dangerous when insulin levels become so low that the patient cannot function with some even slipping into an insulin coma. In most situations, someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes will often carry a supply of insulin with them, however, it can be beneficial if you have a basic understanding of the symptoms before they get to a stage where they need medical intervention.

Sometimes that intervention may simply be fetching them a sugary drink or water while other more serious situations may require medical professionals. If someone who is suffering from diabetes shows any of the following symptoms, intervention will be required:

  • Feeling faint and/or dizzy
  • Confusion
  • Sudden perspiration
  • Shaking
  • Sudden hunger

These symptoms are the body’s way of indicating that insulin levels are too low.  If left untreated, a diabetic could lose consciousness which is why it is important when treating someone for these above symptoms, that you firstly establish if the patient is diabetic as this will affect the way in which they need to be treated.

There are many credible websites and organisations  where information on treating, diagnosing and managing diabetes can be found such as Diabetes Australia and Diabetes Queensland.

If you are interested in any of our First Aid courses facilitated at our Gold Coast headquarters or your workplace, contact us today.