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February 15, 2003


Question from Amsterdam, Netherlands:

My 13 month old son has had diabetes for a month, and I want to know if blood sugar levels of 1-2 mmol/L [18-36 mg/dl] can cause damage to his brains. We are very worried about his wellness.


Low blood sugar (even as low as 1-2 mmol/L [18-36 mg/dl]) not severe enough to need assistance of a third person are not very dangerous but must be avoided as much as you can through proper therapy. It’s not clear whether or how severe hypoglycemia with loss of consciousness may affect the physical and intellectual development in children with type 1 diabetes, but a quite recent study (Diabetologia 45:108-114,2002), aimed to evaluate the role of hypoglycemia in affecting the intellectual development of young children with type 1 diabetes, did not any association of deterioration of intellectual performance with the occurrence of even severe hypoglycemic episodes. However, this was correlated with the degree of metabolic deterioration at diagnosis and with high long-term hemoglobin A1c average.

In your son ‘s case, after only four weeks of diabetes, these lows are common and will sharply be reduced as long as you and your wife become more educated on how to handle the daily care of your son’s diabetes. You may want to read much more on this topic on this website