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From Spring Hill, Florida, USA:

My 19 year old grandson, who has had Type 1 diabetes since age 6, is having changes in the way he experiences hypoglycemia in the last few months. His hypoglycemia manifests itself in shaking hands and arms (similar to a seizure), closed eyes, and disorientation. Previously he was aware of oncoming attacks but can no longer discern until the episodes until he is in trouble. It is vary scary for his family and friends. What is causing this unusual response? Oxygen deprivation to the brain?


The symptoms you describe are due to too little sugar in the brain cells. The brain cells need sugar for fuel. Usually the body makes hormones such as epinephrine as the blood sugar starts to fall below normal. These symptoms (hunger, nervousness, sweating, shakiness) are the early warning symptoms to tell the person to eat so the blood sugar doesn't go too low and cause neurological symptoms due to too little sugar in the brain.

Sometimes after many years of diabetes or after many low blood sugars, people lose these early warning symptoms and get serious neurological symptoms first. Often, easing up on control a little bit and eliminating low blood sugars as much as possible will bring back those early warning symptoms. I suggest your grandson work closely with his physician to try and avoid low blood sugars as much as possible.


Original posting 14 Dec 97


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:56
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