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May 26, 2001


Question from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA:

A friend of mine has a daughter who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes two months ago, and she will be living alone when her college roommate leaves soon. My friend was told that if his daughter passes out from low blood sugar, her body will adjust itself and she will wake up on her own. Is this possible?


The body normally has the ability to correct the low sugar and bring the sugar up. This is done by the production of the rapid acting hormones glucagon and epinephrine. The problem does occur when patients with diabetes loose their ability to make these hormones in response to low sugars. This occurs over a long time and in individuals who have frequent hypoglycemia. The best measure is to intermittently check sugars at night and throughout the day to make sure a low sugar is not going to occur.