December 4, 2000
Question from Riverside, California, USA:
My six year old son has had type 1 diabetes for a year and a half. I have read that hitting too many lows will cause a person with diabetes to be unable to detect or feel the symptoms of hypoglycemia. My son used to be able to tell me when he was "low" and now he says he doesn't know. He was having nighttime lows. If the nighttime lows stop will the ability to detect his "lows" come back? (I had read that the brain sends a message to the liver to have the liver release something, and after so many 'lows', the brain automatically does this before the person with diabetes has a chance to realize they're low).
Not being able to detect the symptoms of low blood sugars is often called hypoglycemia unawareness. It is more common with folks that have had diabetes for awhile and with those that have blood sugars that run in the normal range. Please see Hypoglycemia for a detailed discussion of this process and for other tips to avoid low blood sugars.