How to Perform CPR on a Diabetic Patient? -

How to Perform CPR on a Diabetic Patient?

CPR is proven to be the most essential procedure to be applied in emergency situations. This is the reason why every individual, whether working in the medical field or not, should at least have some basic knowledge on how to perform CPR and when to perform it.

A lot of people fail to understand that CPR cannot be applied in every emergency situation. This is why CPR training always comes with information on when the procedure is applicable, and when it’s not. There are also situations where there are different CPR guidelines to be followed. For instance, there are guidelines needed to be followed when performing CPR on children or on people with different illnesses or conditions. So, should you follow the standard procedure while performing CPR on a diabetic patient or the procedure is different?

Diabetic Emergencies

Basic knowledge about diabetic emergencies would help the person performing CPR to decide whether CPR is applicable in this particular situation or not.

There are two common emergency situations that diabetic patients, as well as the people around them, should watch out for. These are insulin shock and diabetic coma.

Diabetic patients who have low sugar levels often experience hypoglycemia, and could go into insulin shock. Hypoglycemia is caused by having too much insulin in a person’s body. Following are the usual symptoms that come with insulin shock:

  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Rapid breathing
  • Pale and sweaty skin
  • Trembling
  • Headache
  • Odorless breath
  • Numb feet or hands
  • Hunger pangs

And the ones who lack insulin usually suffer from high sugar levels, a condition known as hyperglycemia, which can put them in a diabetic coma. The usual symptoms that come with diabetic coma are:

  • Rapid but weak pulse
  • Nausea
  • Sighing, deep breaths
  • Unsteady gait
  • Flushed, dry, and warm skin
  • Sweet apple or nail polish-like smell
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of consciousness over time

Once these symptoms are seen, it is easier to decide whether the emergency requires the use of CPR or not.

CPR Guidelines To Be Followed

As far as diabetic patients are concerned, there are no special exceptions or guidelines to be applied. It should always be the first instantaneous action for any person available to call 911 for help. However, till the arrival of any help, CPR should be given to the victim if he or she is unconscious. Following rules should be applied:

  • Look for a flat space where the patient could lie down horizontally.
  • Check the patient’s pulse, breathing, and circulation.
  • Administer CPR by doing chest compressions.
  • If not formally trained to perform CPR, do uninterrupted compressions of about 100 per minute.
  • If trained to perform CPR, do 30 chest compressions, then check the patient’s airway. Give mouth to mouth resuscitation.

Normally, diabetic patients are given something sugary once a diabetic emergency is underway. This works especially well for hypoglycemic patients. This is because giving additional sugar to hyperglycemic patients will not make their condition worse.

However, if the person is already unconscious, putting food or anything to drink in their mouth will not work, and could make things worse. If this is the case, go ahead and perform CPR right away while waiting for the emergency response team to arrive.

Anybody who lives or works with a diabetic patient is often advised to take basic CPR training. This makes it easier to handle any diabetic emergency, and could help save a precious life.


  1. Avatar
    Christine Stokes
    April 17, 2017 09:27 Reply

    Why would u give cpr compressions if the heart is beating?

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