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August 18, 2008

Other Illnesses

Question from Toowoomba, Australia:

My son has type 1, is now on a pump and is getting good control, but was having fits for a while and they didn't know if he had epilepsy or if it was from hypoglycemia. Recently, he was diagnosed with epilepsy and has started treatment. Is there a link between diabetes and epilepsy? I'm at my wits' end. I know diabetes is hard and I can deal with that. My mum had it and I watched her as I grew up. I never saw her any different to anyone else. I have taught my son that he is no different from anyone else, but I'm now finding it really hard to keep a positive for me and for him. How can I do this?

Answer:

Hypoglycemia sometimes causes convulsions/seizures and sometimes just “sets off” epilepsy. It is hard to deal with one, let alone, two separate illnesses. The good news is that close monitoring of blood glucose levels and using the pump should help you minimize hypoglycemia while optimizing overall glucose control. Stay in close contact with your diabetes team to get the help that you need. They may also have a support group or the local diabetes association may also have a support group where you can met and talk with other parents in similar situation.

The new epilepsy medications are quite reasonable and do a great job preventing seizures from developing even when hypoglycemia occurs. You should work with your neurology team and your diabetes team closely together to optimize his treatment regimen.

SB