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July 8, 2000

Hypoglycemia

Question from Rockford, Illinois, USA:

My daughter is 7 years old and was diagnosed several months ago with Type 1 diabetes. Since the diagnosis, she has had two seizures in the morning (waking up) with normal level blood sugar levels (83 and 112). All testing (EEG, CAT scan, chest x-ray, and blood work) has come back normal according to our endocrinologist and neurologist. Our endocrinologist says he doesn't know what caused the seizures. My daughter only receives 2 units of NPH insulin in the morning and a 0.5 unit of NPH at bedtime. Humalog insulin is given based on a sliding scale. I have read (from your website) that it is not unusual to have a hypoglycemic event at night and have counterregulatory mechanisms bring blood sugars back into the normal range in the morning. There is one factor that is common to the two morning seizures �- she was quite active physically the previous day. I have started giving my daughter cornstarch with her bedtime snack on days when she is really active to try to prevent the seizures due to the lows in the morning. Our doctor seems to think that cornstarch is only applicable in "some cases". I would think this would be the case where cornstarch might possibly be helpful.

Answer:

Unless your child has developed a seizure disorder unrelated to diabetes, I would suspect her seizures were related to low blood sugars. The meters aren’t always that accurate to tell the difference between a normal blood sugar and a low one, especially if you are testing in an emergency situation and your technique may not be as good as usual. It sounds like cornstarch at bedtime is certainly worth a try, and as long as your child doesn’t have diarrhea, couldn’t hurt.

TGL