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March 21, 2006

Behavior, Hypoglycemia

Question from East Hartford, Connecticut:

My boyfriend has had diabetes since he was eight and he is now 32. He is having frequent low blood sugars and isn't feeling the onset. When I am with him, I know when his sugars are low and have him check his sugars or have checked them myself when he has been incoherent. I just read on the web today about how when you have had many low sugars, you may stop having the warning signals that are associated with hypoglycemia. Now, when I notice, I still have to fight with him to take sugars, i.e., soda or juice or glucose tablets. Is it normal for someone who is low to fight you about taking something to get their sugars up? I am worried about him leaving him alone because he doesn't know his sugars are low until he is almost losing consciousness. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer:

Your fears and your experience are shared by many family and loved ones of people with diabetes. When people get profoundly low glucose levels, their brains don’t work right. Being difficult to deal with, and even violent, are some of the responses that are seen. It is important that he do everything he can to avoid lows. He needs to work with his physician to decrease the frequency of lows and allow some of his symptoms to return. This is possible. The alternative is to continue to risk his safety and others in the community if he doesn’t address this. It also includes losing his job, drivers’ license, and the support of the people around him.

JTL