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In Australia, around 1.7 Million people live with Diabetes and around 280 new cases are diagnosed daily. Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke, and lower limb amputation.

Diabetes is a condition where the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to break down sugars for the body to use as energy. Every cell in our bodies needs energy so this is a very important process.

There are two types of diabetes: Type 1, is where the body doesn’t produce insulin at all and this person will require injections of insulin several times a day to survive. Type 2, is where the body can’t produce enough insulin and this person is usually managed by a change in diet and/or medication. In addition, some women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

For a first aider it makes little difference which type of diabetes the person has as we treat them similarly in an emergency.

First Aid Treatment for a Diabetic Emergency

Signs of a diabetic emergency are sudden. The person may show signs of:

  • Confusion or irritability

  • Headache or dizziness

  • Pale, cool, sweaty skin

  • Tremor or seizures

  • Weakness

  • Hunger or thirst

  • Double vision

  • Rapid breathing and pulse

  • Unresponsiveness

If the person is showing any of these signs, it is important to act quickly.

The First Aid treatment is to give plenty of sugar.

  • Lollies

  • Softdrinks

  • Fruit juice

  • Chocolate

  • Glucose gel

  • When the person recovers, give them a sandwich and some fruit and advise them to see their doctor.
  •  If the person is not recovering, CALL 000 immediately.
  •  If they became unresponsive lay them on their side to maintain their airway free.
  •  If they stop breathing Provide CPR and defibrillation.

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