Low blood sugar......or something else?

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 4/24/2008 12:29 PM (GMT -6)   
My son is 21 and was diagnosed a Type 1 diabetic when he was 15. During this time he has had two experiences with severe low blood sugar - neither requiring hospital visits. However, this past Sunday (6:10 am) he had a seizure. He was convulsing, teeth clenched tight with labored breathing. We put gel on the inside of his cheek. about 5 minutes later I tested his blood sugar and it was 86. I wish I had thought to test it prior - because now the doctor's aren't sure if it was low blood sugar related, or something else. The emergency room doctor believes it may have been something other than his blood sugar seeing that it was 86 when we tested him. How fast does the gel get into one's system? Could it have been very low and gone up to 86 within 5 or 6 minutes when I tested him?

At the hospital he had a ct scan, blood and urine lab work done. All came back normal. We followed up with his primary care physician, who ordered an EEG and made him an appt with a neurologist. He had the EEG done, and the results came back as normal.

The emergency room doctor told him not to drive until follow up was done. He can't get into the neurologist for a couple of weeks - and has college and work to get to. I certainly want my son to be safe, but, I also am wondering if it is blood sugar related and seeing a neurologist is taking a wrong path when he should be in contact with his endrocrinologist.

Has anyone had anything like this happen to them? I would love to hear any feedback.

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 4/24/2008 1:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Follow up..........I called the endocrinologist. The nurse who answered the phone said it sounds like a low blood sugar - but, she said she's not a doctor. She did confer with the doctor who said to keep the follow up with the neurologist to rule anything else out, but then also to come see her next week.

I wish there was just a yes or no answer to all this.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 4/24/2008 9:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Seizures are tricky things to figure out. My son in law had one, a grand mal, while in basic training and was medically discharged from the army. Never had one before or since and it's been over 10 years. I wish I had some answers for you. Not driving is a problem but there is always the bus... (sigh!) Hope this all ends well.
~ Jeannie, Forum Moderator/Diabetes & Fibromyalgia
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. ~Mother Teresa

"People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 4/25/2008 6:41 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for your response Jeannie. That's really to bad about your son-in-law being discharged over a one time event.

Unfortunately, we live in a rural area and there is no bus system. For now, I am driving him - but won't be able to do that long term since he works 1/2 hour from our house. After I drop him off, then I have another 1/2 hour to get to my job. It's unfortunate if they are labeling him as a seizure when it very possibly could have been a low blood sugar. The neurologist appt. is May 1 hopefully he will be able to determine something.

New Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/17/2008 8:57 PM (GMT -6)   

It was low blood sugar.  I myself am Type 1 and have been so for 28 years. 

I have a sluggish intestinal system which sometimes leads to extremely low blood sugar and the occasional severe insulin reaction.  I too have had the symptoms your brother displayed.  Testing in the 80's 5 minutes after the gel application tells me it was no doubt much lower prior to giving him the gel.  Also keep in mind that low blood sugar is usually in the 70 range and lower, so he was not too much higher than that when he tested in the 86 range.

The doctors may tell you they're not so sure it was low blood sugar simply to get your son in for another check up, which brings in more money that he probably doesn't need to be spending.  The bottom line is that he experienced a pretty severe insulin reaction, regardless of what his doctor might say. 

Best of luck with your son.  In the meantime, you might want to look at finding another doctor for your son's primary care.  All that lab work and testing that resulted in negative results ended up costing your insurance company money and made your present doctor a little bit richer.  Nothing wrong with testing if there's truly a need for it, but the bottom line is that your son experienced an insulin reaction which was exploited by your doctor to bring him in for needless testing and some added income. 

I've had similar experiences with a couple physicians, and finally found a real good one.  He's not perfect, and has his faults, but he is a major step up from the last two. 


Post Edited (Carcajou) : 5/17/2008 9:05:04 PM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 5/18/2008 11:52 AM (GMT -6)   
Carcajou - thank you so much for your reply. You were right!!

After my initial post, my son was sent for a sleep deprived EEG, in addition to an MRI. During this testing, I set up an appointment for him to see his endocrinologist. As soon as I told her that I had given him the gel, within less than a second she said "He had a low blood sugar". We did see the neurologist one week after the endocrinologist for the results of the earlier mentioned tests - which came back fine - and the neurologist also gave him the low blood sugar diagnosis. We are relieved.

Thanks again for your response, it is much appreciated.

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 7/24/2008 10:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Carcajou.....I am interested in what you said about a sluggish intestinal system.  In another thread about diabetic seizures, I was writing about my son with spina bifida.  Although not diagnosed with hypoglycemia, amount of time between eating seems to coincide with some of his seizures.  Because he has Spina Bifida, he does have a very "sluggish" intestinal system.  Does this affect blood sugar levels?  Thanks.
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