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Narianna
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 5/17/2006 11:17 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Everyone, my dad has type 1 diabetes and sometimes his blood sugar gets low at night... When this happens, he normally becomes unconcious and sweats exceedingly... Mom and i help right things when this happens but it scares me... My dad travels for his buisness constantly... He's too much of a 'man' to ask for help in preventing... Is there any sort of machine or device that he can wear at night and when he gets low, this device or machine will make a sound? i'm worried when he's alone and what if my mom or i didn't wake up one night while he is home but in shock?
 
Also, i have another question... Dad used to become unconcious and sweat alot when he went into shock but lately it seems as if he's almost becoming dilussional... He still sweats exceedingly but instead of becoming unconcious, he seems to become almost hysterical... Like he can't see straight and can't form words... He sounds close to what i'd think a moaning hyena would sound like... And i'm not trying to be comical, just trying to explain thoroughly... Does anyone know what these new symptoms are? Are they related to diabetes or something else? Dad has recently started working out more and has gone to the doctor about his insulin a few times lately but i'm still terrified for him... i have nightmares and worrying about him keeps me awake often... If anyone has any knowledge of any of this, i would greatly appreciate it... Thank You...

Sunday
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 5/17/2006 2:23 PM (GMT -7)   
http://glucowatch.com/

The above address is for the GlucoWatch website. This is a relatively new product in the last year or so, available by prescription. It is worn like a watch and has an alarm that signals low blood sugar and/or insulin reactions.

I've never used one, but before Lantus came out, I was tracking it's progress through the FDA approval process. Like your Dad, I had problems with insulin shock and oftentimes my first outwardly visible symptom was mental confusion. Hypoglycemic Unawareness is not uncommon in people with long-term Type 1 who have had a high number of insulin reactions. Sometimes the symptoms will come back (you want to feel symptoms on your own if possible so you can wake up, and/or treat yourself when you feel them coming on) after a period of "no lows". Mine did -- and Lantus helped me acheive that because it doesn't peak. But that's another issue.

The GlucoWatch might be the answer for your Dad -- and it might help you both get a better night's sleep. Hope so!

Narianna
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 5/18/2006 12:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank You so much! Now i juat hafta convince him to get it... But i didn't even think there was anything out there like that! So thank You again... And do You have any idea what his different low reactions are? That moaning and whatnot?

Phishbowl
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 547
   Posted 5/18/2006 5:02 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Narianna,

What's happening with your Dad when he goes low (hypo), is his body is starving for energy. There's no energy/sugar to: move muscles, brain can't function, body is shutting down - fast! As a Type1, I can tell you that it's sometimes seconds before my brain goes..."Am, I? Am I...OK? Wait! Am I low? Oh-oh. Quick! Sugar! Must get..get what?...Brain vacant for few milleseconds)...Where? Oh, no...jello legs. Shakes. Sweating. Get the OJ! Gulp...I'll be ok. I'll be fine in a minute. Breathe."

The brain part is the worse. When I'm getting low (on the downward slide, as it were), I'll experience anything from staring off into space, reading the same paragraph over, biting my husband's head off for no reason (he loves that one), crying for no reason, and many more. Emotions are a big part of it and sometimes we just can't control them at the moment. Our brain functions become immediately impaired when sugars drop so odd behavior is usual (we're all different there, too).

The key is to try and avoid the lows. If your Dad goes low mostly at night, then is he eating a sufficient enough bedtime snack to sustain him? This is crutial for most Type1's. Is he testing every night before bed? He should be, to know what he may need to eat to carry him till morning. The snack must have protein/fat to sustain him.

Just a note on the Glucowatch - it's not proven itself to be reliable or easy to use and wow! The price is crazy!

Many hospitals/clinics have what they call, continuous blood glucose monitoring systems (CBGMS). You basically get hooked up to one like you would an insulin pump, and the device collects data over a 3-day period. You don't get to see it but the doctor's download the data and can see where patterns emerge. It's more like $75 for the inserted part but better than the $3,500 for the GlucoWatch.

Hope I've helped some. Best of luck.
Cheers,
- Phishbowl (Type 1 since Jan'05 - Levemir, NovoRapid)
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." -- Talmud


Narianna
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 5/18/2006 6:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank You so much! You've helped a ton! The only problem with the CBGMS is that i need something that will beep or cause some sort of reaction the second he gets low cause i'm so afraid that there will be a night that mom and i don't wake up and won't realize he's low... He and mom both say he checks his blood sugar before he goes to bed but he shouldn't be getting low this often if he really did or took it seriously... And i can completely see how the shutting down of brain function would make someone look and act hysterical and cause blank stares and boisterous strident moans, but is it common for symptoms to change mid-age? Does it mean he is more low or less low? Has he just not gotten to the passing out stage yet when that happens? Cause he used to pass out but now it's the moaning and the blank terrified stares and the aimless grasps... He had to get a heart stint about 3 or 4 years ago... Could his heart have something to do with these new symptoms? His buisness is growing so he's been under major stress plu he's started working out and i know both of those are major factors but he's gone to the doctor and had his insulin pump readjusted and reconfigured and 'less of this and more of that' but one would hope that when a man's life is on the line, science would be a bit more precise... i'm sorry... i know there are millions of people with diabetes and i don't even have the disease... i'm just so bitter though... i'm crying even now as i think about it... i would give anything to take it away from him...

Phishbowl
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 547
   Posted 5/19/2006 7:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Glad to be of some help, Narianna, even if I can only be supportive and let you know that you are not alone. Bless you for being such a compassionate and understanding daughter, your father and your mom are fortunate to have you. I also know the feeling of useless frustration; of standing by and watching someone you love go through such turmoil when there's not much you can do, (I have a mother who has been battling a rare cancer for some time now). I also know others feel that about me and being aware of it...I try to help put them at ease about things going on with me. open communication. Being supportive as you have been, counts for more than you can know.

Since I now know your Dad is on an insulin pump, I would assume he is educated on his condition. By that I mean, he would know how exercise, stress and food affect him, how to count carbs correctly, etc. I'm glad to hear that he has made some adjustments to his pump , along with his doctor's advice, since you say he is under a lot of stress lately and has changed his exercise regimen. All these things need to be adjusted on his pump and taken into account. For example, I know about myself, that if I exercise hard in the morning (even taking extra carbs to compensate), I will still drop about 5 mmol/L (35mg/dL), 6-8 hours later. Wierd, but we're all different and have to find our own patterns or anomalies, as I call them :-)

Regarding the CBGMS...wouldn't we all love to have some new techno-gadget that lets us know when we're dropping (or spiking, for that matter), but alas....we're not quite there yet. The only one that comes close to acceptable is MiniMed's latest pump upgrade. I think it's called the Guardian? $1,700 something like that? And you already have to have the pump, as I understand it (maybe not?). Check out their website. There are a LOT of exciting new things around the corner and more and more every day.

To help answer some questions...low blood sugar symptoms can change, especially with changes to diet, exercise, stress, etc. Over time, one can even become unaware of lows until they're too low. Sometimes change in medication/insulin can alter that sensitivity and improve it (as in my case when I changed from NPH to Lantus). Behavior is not specific to HOW low one is. Low is low and the best thing to do is treat as quick as possible. The past few days (I've been on a new and changing insulin regimen the past 3 weeks), I've gone hypo (below 3.9 / 70), 3-4 times a day. Nothing for 2 weeks, then BAM! My body just went OK. GO! Why? Not sure, but I hope to figure it out with testing my sugars 10-15 times/day, keeping logs/dairies, and working with my diabetic team. I have to take control - what's not measured is not managed. Yes, it requires tremendous dedication and effort but it's worth the knowledge and control it brings. Even though your Dad is on a pump, it is still imperative that blood testing is done and much more frequently when issues are apparent. Hope is doing this? Can't stress it enough.

I don't think the stent would affect his "low" symptoms. It may affect his blood pressure, which indirectly plays a part in his Diabetes, but would not manifest itself in his hypoglycemic behaviour. Just my opinion.

As for the medical/scientific community...there are as many qualified and compassionate individuals as there are not. I've has the pleasure and displeasure of entertaining both and the one thing I've learned this past year and a half as a britlle diabetic is... 99% of the responsibility and level of control and understanding is in the hands of the diabetic. We're all so very different that it is up to us to understand ourselves as best we can in order for the doctors/specialist to better help us.

Diabetes is extremely difficult to deal with at times, for the diabetic and their friends and family. I think my husband has a harder time dealing with it than me. I know I'll be OK in a few minutes when I sugar-fix for a hypo but, my poor hubby is the one that's watching me babble, sweat, shake, shallow breathe, can't speak, and crumple to the floor 'cause my legs can't hold me, wondering the whole time if he's going to have to call 911. He's aware of my "starting to get low" signs and will ask if I need to test when he sees them. Often it's unwarrented but sometimes it is and I'm just grateful that he's doing his best to be supportive. That's the most I could ask for and the most he can give - or anyone can.

Take care, Narianna and keep on what you're doing.
Cheers,
- Phishbowl (Type 1 since Jan'05 - Levemir, NovoRapid)
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." -- Talmud


Narianna
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 5/19/2006 2:50 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank You so much fo Your kind words and support... You've been a huge help... i just want to let You know that people like You are greatly appreciated... Not just for the help and support but for the fact that You are so concious and willing to do what is necesary to help Yourself... My dad doesn't want to take the time to do what is necesary to help himself... i think it just reminds him that he has an illness and that is too painful for him to deal with sometimes... He doesn't realize that ignoring the things that are necesary for his survival also hurt mom and myself... i've tried to tell him but it's really hard, especially since i'm so out of touch with my emotions and hate expressing them... It feels foreign... But anyway, i just wanted to say thank You and that when You help Yourself, it's a million times better for You and those of us that are mere bystanders... Thanks! *hugs*

Jeannie143
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 5/20/2006 7:31 AM (GMT -7)   
Narianna,
Not trying to add fuel to the fire, but have you had your blood glucose checked lately? I'm as concerned for you as I am for your dad and mom.

And as for your dad... He's in my prayers, as are you and mom.
~ Jeannie

"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


Narianna
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 5/20/2006 8:33 AM (GMT -7)   
Awww... Thank You for caring... i was adopted though and don't know any of my medical history and whatnot but my blood pressure was up last time i went to the Dr. and everyone freaked out and the next morning dad had gotten me in to see the best blood specialist in Louisville... Who proceeded to draw 8 huge vials of blood from me, making me wonder if i'd need a friggin transfusion after all that... lol Anyway, point is that they ran all blood tests in the books and it seems my only problem is elevated white blood cell count and platelette count which really aren't problems at all... i'd much rather have an over abundance of disease fighting and vein repairing cells than too little... lol And the elevated count is only from the medicine i'm taking... Which *raises hand* i told my parents AND my Dr. that from the very begining... But i know they just care is all... Just really wish they cared about themselves as much as they do me... It may mean one less vacation per year for them or something but we do have the means, money, and ability for all 3 of us to be hypochondriacs if that's what it takes... lol Just being wishful though...
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