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April 21, 2000


Question from Biddeford, Maine, USA:

Do hypoglycemic episodes (e.g., 35 level requiring emergency medical attention) have a cumulative negative effect on our systems? If so, does their duration add to such a cumulative effect?


Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in a diabetic patient is always deleterious towards our body systems, mainly on cognitive functions of the developing central nervous system (in the brains of children). Children with early-onset diabetes have been shown to have diminished cognitive motor functions, which correlates with retrospective recalls of the number and duration of severe hypoglycemic episodes. Children with asymptomatic hypoglycemia were also shown to have significant cognitive deficiencies. Even mild hypoglycemia (55-65 mg/dl) can be associated with a significant reduction in cognitive functioning in school-aged children. In children and adults, maintaining blood sugar levels in near-normal ranges maximizes the risk of hypoglycemia unawareness. You can either read a lot of previous answers on this topic at this website.