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July 20, 2000

Hypoglycemia

Question from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA:

I have a nephew who supposedly was waking up in the middle of the night with so-called nightmares. I had never seen this until recently when he had spent the night with me after a picnic. My concern is that he had spent a few nights with me before and has not had this problem. The only difference this time was that at the picnic, he had cotton candy, and I was unsure if this had anything to do with it. He doesn't seem to have the standard symptoms of diabetes but his actions made me question. His actions were as follows: he woke up and seemed to have lack of control of his body. He sat up moving his hands in almost a seizure like movements scratching himself like he had an itch and performing yawning like motions with his mouth. I tried to speak with him and he did not respond. I rubbed his head and he seemed as if he was unaware of me making any contact with him. This took place for about a minute or two. He then responded to me when I asked him if he was ok. He just nodded his head. I then told him to lay down and he did. I spoke to my mother who told me to bring him over to her house. She lives across the street from me. I woke him up and he seemed okay but half asleep. I carried him over and he walked up the steps himself. I spoke to his mother who stated he used to do it a lot but doesn't do it as often anymore and that she felt he was just dreaming. I am concerned it may be more and that maybe it may have been the excess amount of sugar that may have caused this. I saw an individual with low blood sugar once and his actions were similar. Can you advise me on anything or let me know if this could be related?

Answer:

This is nothing to do with sugar metabolism. What you describe is very unlikely to be a seizure or any other sinister event.

KJR