Type 2 diabetes: Your breath odour could signal your risk of a diabetic coma

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Type 2 diabetes is best described as a “silent assassin” because you can live with it for many years without symptoms. The condition creeps up on you and can trigger serious complications, however. That’s because the mechanisms involved can cause extensive damage to the body.

How? Type 2 diabetes signals that either your pancreas does not produce not produce enough insulin or the insulin it does produce is not processed by the cells.

Blood sugar – the main type of sugar found in blood – nourishes the cells with energy and nutrients.

However, having high blood sugar levels in your body can damage blood vessels that supply vital organs.

Without an adequate supply of insulin, a person with diabetes is vulnerable to high blood sugar levels and its associated effects.

The effects of high blood sugar levels can result in acute changes in the body, one of the most serious being a diabetic coma.

“Diabetic coma is a life-threatening diabetes complication that causes unconsciousness,” explains Mayo Clinic.

According to the health body, if you lapse into a diabetic coma, you’re alive — but you can’t awaken or respond purposefully to sights, sounds or other types of stimulation.

“Left untreated, a diabetic coma can be fatal,” it warns.

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Luckily, there are a number of warning signs that appear before you lapse into a diabetic coma so acting on them can help to avert the serious complication.

According to Mayo Clinic, one telltale sign is fruity breath odour.

Other signs include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach pain
  • A very dry mouth
  • A rapid heartbeat.

How to respond

If you notice any of the above warning signs associated with high blood sugar levels, it is imperative that you take steps to lower your blood sugar levels.

Healthy lifestyle changes can help to stabilise your blood sugar levels, thereby staving off the risk of triggering a diabetic coma.

One of the most important countermeasures is to modify your diet, shunning items that can cause blood sugar levels to spike.

Carbohydrates are the worst culprit so you should watch your carb intake.

Carbs are broken down into glucose relatively quickly and therefore have a more pronounced effect on blood sugar levels than either fat or protein.

The glycemic index (GI) can help you to steer clear of the most risky carbs.

The GI index is a relative ranking of carbohydrates in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels.

Low or medium GI foods are broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time.

They include:

  • Some fruit and vegetables
  • Pulses
  • Wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats.

According to the NHS, you should also exercise more often – gentle, regular exercise such as walking can often lower your blood sugar level, particularly if it helps you lose weight.

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