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January 29, 2000

Daily Care

Question from the state of Washington, USA:

I am an 18 year old who is moving in with a 16 year old female who has been diagnosed with diabetes. I am looking for information and signs that I can look for in order to help the situation at hand. I have been around many times when this girl has gone into a "reaction", yet I have no clue on what to do. Can you help me out with this situation?

Answer:

Read as much as you can about diabetes, and specifically low blood sugar. Perhaps you could go to the next appointment and get more information from her diabetes educator. Learn to recognize the signs of low blood sugar and how to treat it. Mild low blood sugar is common, and needs to be treated right away with some carbohydrate. Perhaps you could carry some juice or glucose tablets with you to help if needed. The usual signs are shaky, sweaty, weak, dizzy, and as the blood sugar goes lower and heading toward a more difficult low, there may be vision changes, and then confusion, drowsiness, unconsciousness or seizure. It is important to treat low blood sugar right away to help prevent the more severe signs from occurring. Also learn about glucagon, to use in the event of unconsciousness or seizure. Hopefully severe hypoglycemia will be infrequent or not at all.

LM