Sunday 8 January 2012

"Low" Awareness

Hypoglycemia is every diabetes parent's worst nightmare, so when a child with diabetes starts to recognize his or her personal symptoms of low blood sugar (no, not everyone experiences hypoglycemia the same), it is a big deal. And while every low is not the same, and some may have no symptoms at all, recognizing common symptoms can be lifesaving.

It wasn't too long ago that Dylan had very little awareness of lows, and he still has a limited awareness of highs, but over the past year or so he has become acutely aware of when his blood sugar is low, even when it is barely low. This awareness has been extremely helpful in treating his frequent hypoglycemic episodes, but it has also left him a little bit cocky, hence this conversation after school this past Friday.

We came in the house and Dylan immediately grabbed the bg tester that was on the kitchen counter.

Me: You ok?

Dylan: Yeah, just feeling a bit low. Proceeding to insert strip, prick finger, etc.

Me: You look a bit low. Dylan has very distinctive signs of low blood sugar. His face gets quite pale and the area under his eyes goes a deep purple color.

Dylan: That's what I thought. I'm getting too good for this.

Me: Sorry? Too good for what?

Dylan: Diabetes. I used to get false lows, but not anymore.

Me: What do you mean "false lows"?

Dylan: When I would feel low, but then test and I would be fine. It usually happened when I was tired. But now I know when I'm low because of the weak knees. Dylan's strongest personal symptom of low blood sugar is what he has nicknamed "weak knees". He says his knees feel like they can't support his legs, so they want to bend. This is his first indication of low blood sugar and it appears early.

Me: Hmmm.

Dylan: reaching for a juice box in the fridge...

Me: So, what are you?

Dylan: 3.6 That's in mmol/l, and is equivalent to 64.8 mg/dl.

Me: Good catch honey.

If only they could all be this easy...


  1. Hi Jen! Thanks for introducing me to your blog! My daughter is 8 and is beginning to catch more and more of her lows early on. She also feels like her legs wont hold her up.

  2. Recognizing those symptoms is invaluable, and what a great eye he had there. And yes, if only they could all be so easy!