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August 26, 1999

Research: Monitoring

Question from Guatemala:

I have had diabetes type 1 (IDDM) since I was 13 years old. I am now 30 years old. I have had some hypoglycemic shocks during nights and snaps (frequently I get in lower levels of blood sugar without symptoms). I have to live away from my parents who have previously cared for me. Are there any machines or alarms that I could use or connect to my body to check my blood glucose and to inject glucagon (if there is a severe hypoglycemia) when I am sleeping? And could a younger adult with IDDM live alone?

Answer:

I’m afraid that no such machine or device exists. Many young people with diabetes live alone quite safely but they have to take special care over avoiding hypoglycaemia – especially at night. One of the most important pieces of advice is to be very careful with alcohol which prevents the liver from releasing glucose when the blood glucose falls. (If you have been drinking alcoholic beverages, then you should eat extra carbohydrate before going to bed.)

KJR