From Florence, Alabama, USA:
My son is 24 and has been a diabetic for 15 years and has had diabetic coma attacks in the past. For the last 2 weeks his breath has had a garlic odor, and I was wondering if this is a symptom of low or high blood sugar level.
A quick look at the medical literature and my long personal experience did not indicate any relationship of garlic odor of breath and hypoglycaemia. On the other side of the blood sugar metabolism, the classical findings on examination of a diabetic patient with DKA include, among others, hyperventilation (overbreathing) and signs of volume depletion (dry skin and mucosa), a fruity odor to the breath due to acetone elimination via the lungs.
I think that it would be best to talk to your doctor whether to refer your son to a gastroenterologist.
Original posting 22 Sep 97
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