March 6, 2005
Hyperglycemia and DKA, Hypoglycemia
Question from Greensboro, North Carolina, USA:
My dad had a hypoglycemic seizure four days ago. His blood sugar was less than 20 mg/dl [1.1 mmol/L]. He has had type 1 diabetes for almost 50 years. Now, he sleeps excessively and sticks his tongue out a lot. Is excessive sleeping normal? I am worried he has had some kind of neurological damage. Although this seizure was transient, will he have long term affects? Also, do episodes of DKA cause short term memory loss? He has had four episodes of this in the last year.
One isolated seizure episode is unlikely to cause permanent neurologic damage, provided he has no problems with his airway. The fact he has had multiple episodes of DKA and low blood sugars suggests his overall blood sugar control is poor. It sounds like something needs to be done dramatically different or he may face the recurring spiral of these problems. In the end, this has got to be poor control with a high risk of complications. The more seizures, the more chances there are for problems. I would suggest something dramatically different be done now.