From New York, USA:
My 29 year old boyfriend, recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, had low blood sugar symptoms (shaky hands, etc.), but his blood sugar level was 93 mg/dl [5.2 mmol/L]. He thought it was still high, so he did not do eat or drink anything. Two hours later, he checked his blood again and it was 140 mg/dl [7.8 mmol/L]. Why does blood sugar increase even though he does not eat anything? It also happens in the morning (e.g., before bedtime, it will be 80 mg/dl [4.4 mmol/L], then 150 mg/dl [8.3 mmol/L] the next morning).
This is a frequently asked question. The quick answer is that the liver is capable of exporting glucose from polymers of glucose called glycogen that are stored in the liver. In addition, metabolic intermediates can be taken up by the liver and turned back into glucose. One of the metabolic abnormalities that occurs in diabetes is that there is not an appropriate limit on the amount of glucose exported by the liver. It is the glucose put out by the liver that raises the blood sugar, even though a person does not eat any additional food.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia may occur if there has been a dramatic fall in blood sugar, even though the sugar is not absolutely in the low range. The body anticipates the fall and stimulates the liver to put out more glucose to protect it. Symptoms of hypoglycemia occur when the hormones, such as adrenalin, are stimulated (fast heart rate, hunger, shaking, sweating, etc.).
Original posting 22 Aug 2003
Posted to Daily Care
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:48
This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional.
This site is published by T-1 Today, Inc. (d/b/a Children with Diabetes), a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, which is responsible for its contents. Our mission is to provide education and support to families living with type 1 diabetes.
© Children with Diabetes, Inc. 1995-2018. Comments and Feedback.