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From Pennsylvania, USA:

My son does not wake up during the night when his blood sugar is low. Consequently, we test him every night at 2 A.M. and again at 6 A.M. If we do not catch the low in time, he wakes up paralyzed on one side. This could last for up to 2 hours. It is the most frightening thing we've had to deal with so far. He was diagnosed with Type 1 at age 3 and is 8 now. I am afraid of permanent damage if it happens again. Do you know of any articles written on this side effect? I believe it is called Todd's Paralysis.


I don't recall reading any specific papers about this problem but it is quite common and I have seen several cases all of whom have had several attacks and all of whom have made a full recovery. I've seen one girl recently who was fully conscious throughout but complained of feeling numb then weak down one side at the time of a moderate hypoglycemia.

You are in a difficult situation because it's not going to be possible to reassure you about your son's sugars during the night if you don't actually measure them. You don't say what his overall control is like but I suspect it may be very good. Is he aware of hypos during the day? If his control is very good and he's not very aware of daytime hypos either then it may be worth discussing a temporary relaxation of his control with your diabetes team. This can restore hypoglycemia awareness. The other thing to consider is relaxing night time sugars by reducing evening insulin. Then, after a few more nights of testing, you would gain some confidence that he wasn't going to be low and would only have to test if he'd been especially active or unwell.


Original posting 17 Apr 97


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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