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Diabetic Emergencies (#31daysofCE)

Everyday EMS Tips readers know that diabetic emergencies while being among the most common types incident we respond to are also some of the most challenging. Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia are two of many causes of altered mental status. Always remember to cast a wide net, consider all possible causes, and rule out possibilities as you gather data.

There are a lot of continuing education opportunities available for EMTs and paramedics on the topic of diabetes.

Last month, November 2009, was National Diabetes Month. More than 24 million Americans live with diabetes which is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, and non-traumatic amputations. Many diabetics also suffer from other medical problems like heart disease and hypertension. You can learn more about diabetes at CDC Diabetes website.

A two-part lesson on diabetes is available at Part 1 describes diabetes causes and types of diabetes. Part two is a thorough review of diabetic patient assessment and treatment.

In “Diabetic Emergencies – what your instructor left out” Jim Hoffman of provides an in-depth review of diabetes types, how to not confuse diabetes with other causes of altered mental status, and how to rapidly initiate diabetic treatment in the field. The premium video training program includes a video file, audio file, transcript, overview report, and printable certificate of completion.

Paul from Indiana said this about the Diabetic Emergencies EMS Boot Camp session:

“Thank you guys I really enjoy these boot camps keep up the good work!!”

This is the fourth installment of the series of posts for December, 31 Days of Con Ed.

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.