Thursday, August 21, 2014

Day 2: Walk of Hope

Today I am going to be discussing low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). The scariest thing about low blood sugar, for Brad and many children with Type 1, is that it happens so incredibly fast. If you do not catch it and treat it quickly it can be extremely dangerous. In our experience, low blood sugars occur even when we are doing everything correctly.

 Here are some factors that cause low blood sugar:
  • Too much insulin
  • Extra activity/exercise
  • Giving an insulin shot in the muscle
  • Taking a hot shower or bath after an insulin shot
  • Not eating enough food at meal time
  • Late on schedule meal/snack
  • Hot weather
How do we know when his blood sugar is low?

We have to test his blood sugar and if it is below 80, we have to treat quickly with sugar. We usually give Bradley juice or chocolate milk to treat his lows. Then, we have to wait and retest his blood sugar to make sure his number is above 80. Sometimes we can tell if Bradley's blood sugar is low. He usually gets sweaty and his mood quickly changes. But not always, sometimes there are no warnings or symptoms. The lowest Bradley's sugar has gone is 48 and anything below 50 is extremely dangerous. 

If his low blood sugar goes untreated, he could go unconscious and/or have a seizure. If this happens, we have to treat him with an emergency glucagon shot and call 911. He would have to be put in the hospital for treatment. If a glucagon shot is not administered he could die. 

Some children have died in their sleep from low blood sugar. It is extremely dangerous and you have to be on alert all the time. Bradley's blood sugar frequently does drop in the middle of the night so I do check him every two hours at night to make sure his blood sugar is staying steady. 

We test Bradley's blood sugar with a glucose meter and a continuous glucose monitor. The glucose meter was invented in the 1960s. It was not until the 1980s that glucose meters were available for patients at home. I do not know how families were able to manage their children before this time. It would be impossible to manage Bradley without his meter. I am so thankful for scientists and the researchers that work on improving the management of Type 1 Diabetes. Again, that is why we continue to support the JDRF. Please consider making a donation (every little bit makes a difference). Thank you!

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