From Melbourne, Victoria, Australia:
My 16 year old sister was diagnosed with type one diabetes roughly 10 years ago. She had a history of nighttime hypoglycemia and fits and recently passed away in her sleep. She had trouble regulating her blood sugar and was overweight. The coroner was reluctant to blame her diabetes for the death because there were no signs that her liver had excreted any glucose, which we were told would have happened in the case of diabetic coma. The autopsy was inconclusive and theories of cardiac arrhythmia and epileptic seizure were proposed. Does the fact that her liver didn't excrete any glucose conclusively rule out her diabetes as cause of death?
No. Unfortunately, this kind of report does not create closure for you or your family. A hypoglycemic episode may result in an arrhythmia, seizure, or airway problem that took your sister. Although the diabetes cannot be ruled in as a direct cause, it, no doubt, was a complicating factor. Even in patients who do not have hypoglycemia, patients with diabetic neuropathy are at risk for sudden death because of cardiac arrhythmias. I am very sorry for your loss.
Original posting 26 Aug 2004
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:58
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