Diabetic shock, or severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), can strike at the most inopportune times, like while you’re driving.
“I haven’t ever had an accident, but I’ve sometimes gone home and wondered, ‘I don’t remember driving home.’ I’ve had some close calls,” Laurie Hanauer tells Local 12’s Liz Bonis.
It’s often Lori’s husband, Steve, however, who sees that she’s in trouble, as her blood sugar levels plummet. “I can usually tell, a lot of times, before she does, actually. She kind of gets a blank expression on her face, kind of almost moves in slow motion,” he explains.
Diabetic Shock: The Warning Signs
Laurie has Type I diabetes, a chronic disease in which there is a high level of sugar (glucose) in the blood and requires insulin to survive.
Michael Heile MD, a family medicine doctor at The Family Medical Group, says he teaches patients how to recognize symptoms before the shock sets in. Patients on the verge of a drop may get shaky, confused or irritable, he says.
Look for Diabetes Identification
On the other hand, friends and family should know warning signs as well. Or, you can also look for an identification labeling someone as diabetic. Laurie has a medical identification badge that says diabetic hanging from her car mirror, while others wear bracelet IDs. These IDs are important because shock signs are often subtle, like the diabetic simply acting irritable or out of character.
The end result (diabetic shock) is not always subtle and Laurie knows this, so “I usually test myself before I get in the car and drive,” she says.