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Difference between Diabetic Coma and Insulin Shock

Difference between Diabetic Coma and Insulin Shock

When you hear the words “diabetic coma” or “insulin shock,” what do you think of? Both are serious conditions, but they are not the same thing. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these two conditions.

What is a Diabetic Coma?

A diabetic coma is a life-threatening condition caused by extremely high blood sugar levels. Diabetic comas can occur in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but they are more common in type 1. People with diabetes typically keep their blood sugar within a tight range using a combination of diet, exercise, and medication. However, if blood sugar levels become too high or too low, it can lead to a diabetic coma. High blood sugar levels cause the body to produce ketones, which can build up in the bloodstream and lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. This condition can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and rapid breathing. If left untreated, it can lead to a diabetic coma. Low blood sugar levels can also cause a diabetic coma. This condition, known as hypoglycemia, is often caused by skipped meals, excessive exercise, or alcohol consumption. Symptoms include shakiness, dizziness, confusion, and anxiety. If left untreated, it can lead to seizures and loss of consciousness. Diabetic comas are considered medical emergencies and require immediate treatment. Treatment typically includes intravenous fluids and insulin therapy. In severe cases, patients may be placed on a ventilator to help them breathe.

What is Insulin Shock?

When the body does not produce enough insulin, blood sugar levels can become too high, a condition known as hyperglycemia. If left untreated, hyperglycemia can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a potentially life-threatening condition. Insulin shock is a medical emergency that occurs when blood sugar levels drop too low, a condition known as hypoglycemia. Insulin shock can be caused by skipping meals, excessive exercise, or taking too much insulin. Symptoms of insulin shock include dizziness, confusion, sweating, and shaking. If left untreated, insulin shock can lead to loss of consciousness and even death. Immediate treatment for insulin shock includes eating or drinking something sugary and seeking medical help.

Difference between Diabetic Coma and Insulin Shock

Diabetic coma and insulin shock are two serious medical conditions that can occur in people with diabetes. Both conditions can be life-threatening, and it is important to be aware of the symptoms and seek medical help immediately if they occur. Diabetic coma is a condition that can occur when blood sugar levels become too high. Symptoms include confusion, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness. Insulin shock, on the other hand, occurs when blood sugar levels become too low. Symptoms include shaking, sweating, and dizziness. If left untreated, both conditions can lead to death. Therefore, it is important to monitor blood sugar levels closely and seek medical help if any symptoms occur.


It is important to be able to distinguish between diabetic coma and insulin shock in order to provide the appropriate level of care for the patient. The main difference between these two conditions is that a diabetic coma is caused by untreated high blood sugar, while insulin shock is usually the result of taking too much insulin or other diabetes medications. By understanding the signs and symptoms of each condition, healthcare professionals can provide timely and effective treatment for their patients.

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