Saturday, November 27, 2010

Symptoms of a low

(NaBloPoMo Day 27)
As we near the end of National Diabetes Month, I thought it would be important to share the signs of a LOW blood sugar (signs of a High blood sugar will come on Monday).

For those of you without Diabetes in your family, these signs could still come in handy. You may see someone with Diabetes exhibit these signs and they may need YOUR help.

I know in the school where The Superhero goes they mentioned letting all the staff know about his Diabetes so they could help him if he were found wandering on campus.

You never know when this info might come in handy, so PLEASE continue reading and then stick these signs in the back of your mind.

From the JDRF website:

Low Blood Sugar: Definition, Symptoms

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is the most common and most dangerous condition for many people with type 1 diabetes. Very low blood sugar may lead to insulin shock, which can be life threatening if not promptly treated. Low blood sugar occurs when the body has too little food/glucose or too much insulin.

The following are all potential reasons that a person with diabetes might have low blood sugar:

  • Too much insulin taken
  • Eating less than usual
  • Eating later than usual
  • Insulin was injected at a site on the body where the absorption rate is faster than usual
  • Injecting extra insulin after forgetting about a previous dose
  • More exercise than normal
  • Illness or injury
  • Other hormones
  • Medication interaction

The following is a list of general symptoms that indicate low blood sugar (the person with type 1 diabetes may exhibit one or more of these):

  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Personality change/irrational behavior
  • Blurry vision
  • Shakiness
  • Nausea
  • Crying
  • Sluggishness
  • Sweating
  • Poor coordination
  • Hunger
  • Lightheadedness
  • Irritability
  • Drowsiness
  • Erratic response to questions
  • Inability to concentrate

Severe symptoms (symptoms as listed above, plus):

  • Convulsions
  • Unconsciousness

Some people can "feel" their lows and treat them without worry. Others (such as The Superhero, due to age) do not always feel their lows. And some people develop Hypoglycemia Unawareness in which they can no longer detect their lows.

If a person has a low blood sugar, he/she needs to consume carbohydrates to bring the low up to a safe blood sugar. The carbohydrates can be anything from juice or glucose tablets to candy or milk.

Typically, with a low blood sugar you would want to have a "fast" acting carbohydrate in order to get the blood sugar up more quickly. It may also be good to add some complex carbohydrates or some protein to help keep the blood sugar stable once it rises.

If a person with T1 diabetes is unable to treat their own low blood sugar due to unconsciousness, it is important for there to be someone trained (and willing) to use glucagon to save the person's life.

It is not uncommon for the Superhero to be combative when he is low (and others with Diabetes as well). He will FIGHT you on eating/drinking carbs until you force them in him and he starts to feel better.

There have been times when I have had to draw some juice into the end of a straw and force it in his mouth. And this usually leads to both of us covered in juice, but his blood sugar starts to come up quickly and he is more willing to finish the juice box with no problems. I hate when this happens, it can be SCARY!

Diabetes Fact #27: Knowing the signs of a LOW blood sugar and how to treat the low can save someone's life!

Diabetes Fact #26: Adults and children with T1 Diabetes are incredibly BRAVE and STRONG.

Diabetes Fact #25:A Diabetes diagnosis can put strain on the marriage of the person with T1 (for adults) or for the parents of the child diagnosed.

Diabetes Fact #24:Complications from out of range blood sugars with T1 Diabetics are very real and very worrisome to those living with the disease (and their parents/loved ones).

Diabetes Fact #23:The only thing constant with Diabetes, is that nothing stays the same.

Diabetes Fact #22:Diabetes is a family disease and affects every person in the family, near and far.

Diabetes Fact #21:Having Type 1 Diabetes means finger pokes 8-10 times per day (or more) and YES that means using BLOOD to do this.

Diabetes Fact #20:Despite always injecting the proper amount of insulin, people with type 1 Diabetes face many other factors that can adversely affect efforts to tightly control blood sugar levels. These factors include stress, hormonal changes, periods of growth, physical activity, medications, illness/infection, fatigue, and EVERYTHING they do or don't do

Diabetes Fact #19: T1 Diabetes is a 24/7/365 disease. It NEVER sleeps and neither do the parents of the children who have it (or the T1 people themselves).

Diabetes Fact #18: T1 Diabetes can happen to ANYONE, it is not necessarily hereditary. This means that yes, it CAN happen to YOU or to someone YOU know.

Diabetes Fact #17: People with T1 or T2 Diabetes (and their caregivers) are more likely to experience depression than their peers without Diabetes.

Diabetes Fact #16: The out of pocket cost of managing T1 Diabetes is EXPENSIVE.

Diabetes Fact #15: Having Type 1 and getting an illness (especially a tummy bug) CAN be dangerous.

Diabetes Fact #14: Without insulin, a person with T1 Diabetes would DIE within ONE week.

Diabetes Fact #13: Type 1 Diabetes usually strikes children, adolescents, and young adults, but it CAN be diagnosed in adults as well.

Diabetes Fact #12: It is important for families of Diabetic children or the people with Diabetes themselves to genuinely try to understand what we go through, to learn about Diabetes along with us, and to support us through encouraging comments.

Diabetes Fact #11: Diabetes is ALL consuming. It is NOT our life, but it is a HUGE part of it.

Diabetes Fact #10: Parents of children with Diabetes HATE when people say "I could NEVER do it!" when referring to the management of their kid's disease. In reality, YOU could, and WOULD do it if you HAD to. We probably had the same thoughts as you and now look at us, doing it 24/7.

Diabetes Fact #9: The term "Juvenile Diabetes" is outdated. We now call it "T1 Diabetes" or "Insulin Dependent Diabetes". People with this type of Diabetes will NEVER outgrow it. EVER. They will have this relentless disease until a CURE is found.

Diabetes Fact #8: A cure would be great, but a long life without complications is a close second for people with T1 Diabetes.

*Disclaimer: I am a mom of a T1 Diabetic child. I am NOT a doctor. I just play one in real life. Please do not take anything in this post or any other post on this blog as medical advice. If you have questions or concerns of your own, please seek advice from your doctor.*


Joanne said...

I never knew about the absorption issue until we started using Elise's tummy for shots. We had to stop because of how fast(and how low) her BG would drop.

Rachael said...

This is an awesome post. I have really enjoyed the knowledge you have put out there this month! I always cringe when I hear of people with low blood sugar being mistaken for being drunk. It's a frightening experience and strangely, very emotional. Thank-you for all the your hard work and effort this month. Your blogs this month should be published and required reading reading for everyone! Great job! :)

Wendy said...


You're doing great...hang in there :)

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