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June 13, 2001

Hypoglycemia

Question from San Antonio, Texas, USA:

My two and half year old son, diagnosed with type�1 diabetes about two months ago, is having some problems with lows. I will take him to the swimming pool with a blood sugar of 171 mg/dl [9.5 mmol/L] and will drop to 40 mg/dl [2.2 mmol/L] after an hour in the kiddie pool. What kind of things can I do to prevent this? Also, in the past six weeks, he has had 16 different days when his numbers were below 60 mg/dl [3.3 mmol/L] (one was as low as 27 mg/dl [1.5 mmol/L]). He hasn't had any seizures or even passed out. We usually get his sugar up to a good range within 15 minutes of a low. How long does it take to get brain damage?

Answer:

It is best to try to prevent all these lows, and sounds like you need to be more proactive with decreases in insulin doses working at those times or immediately after such activity. Using food such as ice cream ahead of time may also provide some long lasting carb effects because of the high fat content. Speak to your son’s diabetes team and let them know the problems so you can get more specific advice.

SB