Diabetes – First Aid


Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose in the blood is too high, because the body cannot use it properly. Glucose comes from the digestion of carbohydrate-containing food and drink, and is also produced in the liver. Carbohydrates come from many different sources including starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, fruit, dairy products, sugar, and other sweet foods. Insulin is vital for life. It’s a hormone produced by the pancreas and helps the glucose to enter the cells, where it’s used as a fuel for energy, so we can work, play and generally live our lives. There are two types of diabetes. These are type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes develops if the body is unable to produce any insulin. This type of diabetes usually appears before the age of forty. Type 1 diabetes is the least common of the two main types and accounts for between five and fifteen percent of people with diabetes. You cannot prevent type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body still can make some insulin, but not enough, or when the insulin that’s produced does not work properly. Also known as insulin resistance. In most cases, this is linked with being overweight. This type of diabetes usually appears in people over the age of forty. Although people from Southern Asia or Caribbean people can often appear from the age of twenty-five. Recently more and more children are being diagnosed with the condition. Some as young as the age of seven. Type 2 diabetes is the most common of the two main types, and accounts for between eighty-five and ninety-five percent of the people with diabetes. There’s currently two and a half million people in the U.K. with diabetes. And there’s a further half a million people that’s estimated, who haven’t even been diagnosed yet. The signs and symptoms are: Increased thirst. Frequenty urination. Extreme tiredness. Weight loss. Blurred vision. And a slow healing of wounds. In type 1 diabetes, the signs and symptoms will usually be very obvious. They develop quickly, usually over a few weeks. In people with type 2 diabetes will not be so obvious, and may be even non-existent. If you’re getting older, you may just put the symptoms down to the fact that you’re getting older, and it’s just an age related thing. But you must take early action, consult your doctor, and have a diabetes test. In both types of diabetes, the symptoms are quickly relieved once the diabetes has been treated. Early treatment will also reduce the chance of developing any serious health conditions. Hyperglycemia, too high blood sugar, we need to look here and identify that we’ve got an emergency medical condition, and we must call emergency services immediately. If the patient becomes unconscious, we need to put them into recovery position. In all cases we must monitor their breathing and their response levels. Hypoglycemia means there’s too low blood sugar. We need to sit the casualty down, give them a sugary drink or sweet food, but we only do this if it’s safe to do so, as we don’t want to cause any problems with blocking the airway. We need to monitor and reassure them, and we only need to call the ambulance if this treatment has been ineffective. If the patient becomes unconscious, we need to put them in the recovery position, monitor them, and also ensure the ambulance has been called. We’ve spoken about things you can give to a diabetic. Now there are commercial supplements you can buy, and often a diabetic will actually carry these. Before we can talk about those, the most important thing we need to look at: Insulin is not a first aid drug. It’s not something where you just go around injecting people because they’re having a diabetic emergency. Even if the diabetic is insisting that they get their syringe, they want to inject. Sometimes if they have a very bad balance of sugar, they’re not the best person to talk to. They may not realize what they’re doing, and they may well give themselves insulin because they’ve forgot it. But if this is the case, this is an emergency, and we need to get them to the paramedics as quick as possible. Now there’s different sorts of supplements available. This particular one here is a glucose liquid, and you just open the top up, and they drink that down, and it gives them instant glucose. There’s also glucose tablets, either in a plastic tube like this, or in a normal sweet type tube. There’s also glucose gel. Sometimes a diabetic will have them, and it opens up like a packet of sugar you would have in a restaurant. Tear the top, and then they can put it into their mouth and drink the gel. These commercial supplements are very very good. They are easy ways of them keeping hold of glucose when they need it. And they’re very fastly absorbed into the body.