Can you smell diabetes

What happens with hyperglycaemia and how do you recognize it early?

Blood sugar levels that are too high occur when the body does not produce enough or no insulin (type 1 diabetes) or when the body cells cannot respond to the hormone (insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes). To put it simply, the goal of diabetes therapy is to avoid high blood sugar levels - be it through a change in lifestyle or through insulin therapy. Even with individual therapy, hypoglycaemia can occur for a wide variety of reasons: e.g. if too little insulin is injected. But infections, especially those associated with fever, can also be the reason. Stress hormones also affect blood sugar.

Honey-sweet flow

An extremely high loss of fluids is the main symptom of hypoglycaemia: as the blood sugar level rises, the body excretes more sugar and thus water through the kidneys - up to twelve liters of urine a day. This is accompanied by an almost unquenchable thirst. The name diabetes mellitus (honey-sweet flow) goes back to these symptoms. The sugar is excreted with the urine above a certain blood sugar level, the so-called kidney threshold. For most people, this value is around 180 mg / dL (9.9 mmol /). Hypoglycemia is used from values ​​of 250 mg / dl (> 13.9 mmol / l).

Extreme hyperglycemia: diabetic coma and ketoacidosis

The important nutrients potassium and magnesium are lost through the loss of water, calf cramps and muscle pain occur, fatigue and exhaustion are the result. If the insulin deficiency is not corrected, the stage of deep unconsciousness, the diabetic coma, can set in - a life-threatening situation, as this metabolic imbalance is often not recognized in time and therefore not treated in time.

In type 2 diabetes, the low level of insulin that is still released usually prevents the blood from becoming acidic when the blood sugar rises. With type 1 diabetes, the situation is different: if there is an absolute lack of insulin, fat reserves are broken down in order to gain energy. This creates the "ketone bodies" - substances that the body can only break down slowly and which can lead to over-acidification of the blood, a so-called ketoacidosis. The consequences are nausea and vomiting. Because hunger and appetite are not great now, diabetics often reduce their insulin intake as a result. The critical metabolic situation worsens and the life-threatening ketoacidotic coma can set in.

The symptoms of ketoacidosis are nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting, and the breath can smell of acetone (similar to nail polish remover). Breathing can be affected by hyperventilation and even shortness of breath.

High blood sugar levels - warning signals at a glance

  • Tiredness and exhaustion
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Vision deterioration
  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Itching of the skin
  • Slow wound healing
  • Susceptibility to colds and other infections
  • a headache
  • Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain
  • Ketones are detectable in the urine and the breath can smell of acetone (similar to nail polish remover)
  • In extreme cases, unconsciousness (up to a coma)

Measures for acute hyperglycaemia

Metabolic imbalances such as hyperglycaemia should always be taken seriously - a visit to the doctor is strongly recommended. Especially with type 1 diabetes, a doctor should be consulted if there are signs of ketoacidosis. In addition, these measures are advisable:

  • Inject regular insulin to lower blood sugar levels.
  • Drink plenty of water to make up for the loss of fluid, even if you are sick or vomit, you should take sips of fluid. If the vomiting cannot be stopped, infusion treatment in the hospital is necessary.
  • Measure blood sugar at regular intervals
  • In type 1 diabetes: check acetone excretion in the urine - at the latest from a value of 300 mg / dl (16.7 mmol / l).

How to detect ketone bodies

You can easily detect ketone bodies in the urine with test strips from the pharmacy. The test field should be sufficiently wetted with urine; the test strip can also be dipped into a container with collected urine. The test strip changes color after one minute and can be compared with the scale on the test strip tube.

This is how you can prevent it

Regular blood glucose testing is recommended for any diabetes therapy and is also the best early warning system for hypoglycaemia. It is also advisable to make those around you aware of the signs of hypoglycaemia (as well as hypoglycaemia) and to explain the necessary measures in an emergency. In the event of illness, especially if it is accompanied by a fever, it is therefore advisable to measure your blood sugar more often than usual and to allow for a possibly increased need for insulin. Check your injection device regularly, because a defect in it can also be a reason that too little insulin is being delivered and slipping into hypoglycaemia. Have regular insulin ready and, in case of type 1 diabetes, urine test strips for acetone.