Medical Specialty >> Endocrinology

Doctors Lounge - Endocrinology Answers

Back to Endocrinology Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/17/2017.

Forum Name: Diabetes

Question: Diabetic coma

 phillyc - Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:23 pm

Hi! Last night I had the unfortunate event of falling into a diabetic coma. I've taken steps to prevent this from happening again. My question is how long would a person have to be in a diabetic coma before death occurs? Because last night certainly felt like a near death experience. It's one question I forgot to ask my Dr. A word of advice to anyone who has diabetes, Type @. Get an emergency kit, otherwise, if you have a coma, you'll need a paramedic to bring you back to consiousness.
Chris in Philly, PA
 Theresa Jones, RN - Sun Jan 22, 2006 11:19 am

User avatar Hi phillyc,
Diabetic Ketoacidosis is a serious condition that can lead to a diabetic coma. Ketoacidosis typically evolves slowly but can become lifethreatening in a matter of only a few hours. There are warning signs that should be paid attention to, for example,
Thirst or a very dry mouth, frequent urination, high blood glucose (sugar) levels, high levels of ketones in the urine.
Next, other symptoms appear
Constantly feeling tired, flushed skin.
A hard time breathing (short, deep breaths), fruity odor on breath, confusion. Nausea, vomiting, (if vomiting continues for more than 2 hours, contact your health care provider).
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) may also result in coma. Again there are warning signs of hypoglycemia, sweating, nausea, dizziness, tremors/shakiness, confusion, seizure, etc. When any of the symptoms or warning signs become apparent of either of the above conditions test your glucose levels and yes it's wise to keep an emergency kit available.
Theresa Jones, RN

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us