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From Little Rock, Arkansas, USA:

I'm a 29 year old Type 1 insulin dependent diabetic, having been diagnosed 10 years ago. I also have hypoglycemia unawareness. I understand it develops when glucose intake levels within the brain cease to diminish in the early stages of a hypoglycemic reaction or more directly stress hormones are not released to provide signs of a hypoglycemia reaction. I have two questions concerning this:

  1. Has this become more of a problem since the arrival of Humulin® insulin or could Humulin insulin be the/a cause of hypoglycemia unawareness?

  2. I am wondering if there is any increased brain activity in the early stages of hypoglycemia unawareness, maybe due to overcompensation of induced brain glucose intake? I am asking this latter question because one sign I often have during the early stages of a hypoglycemic reaction, is it appears, to me anyhow, that I can think more clearly and am even sharper. I don't suppose it really matters but is quite interesting.

I'd love to hear from anyone else with hypoglycemia unawareness.

Please write (


  1. There has been a furious debate in the diabetes literature about your question, i.e., is hypoglycaemic unawareness more common with human insulin? The balance of the evidence is that there's no difference from animal insulin but in the UK, the British Diabetic Association decided to adopt a practical approach to questions by saying that if someone who had transferred from an animal to a human insulin and thought they had a problem, they should be changed back again.

  2. Your sense of being sharper and more alert is probably false and is very akin to the same feeling that one can get after having one or two drinks. Objective testing shows impairment.


[Editor's comment: "Human" insulin (actually semisynthetic human insulin, with yeast or bacterial production of a product that's identical to human insulin) is made by several companies. Humulin® and Novolin® are brand names for "human" insulin products. I'm unaware of either brand having any solid data to support the theory that hypoglycemic unawareness is more common with "human" insulins than with the older animal-derived insulin products. WWQ]

Original posting 29 Mar 97


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