Diabetic coma results from uncontrolled diabetic ketoacidosis, aka DKA. Coma results from the excessive acid level in the blood (metabolic waste products) as well as the loss of fluids through excessive urination. This occurs because the high blood glucose level osmotically pulls water from the tissues into the bloodstream, drying the tissues and overfilling the circulatory system. Stretch receptors in the circulatory system sense this and cause increased urination to prevent circulatory overload.

Symptoms of diabetic coma include:

Diabetic coma is easily mistaken for alcohol intoxication. While not as rapidly fatal as insulin shock, it is still a medical emergency. When a diabetic is found less than totally responsive, a dose of glucose should be administered, since if diabetic coma is present, it will not worsen it, but if insulin shock is present it will reverse it immediately.