Hypoglycemic Alert Dogs

Assistance dogs for people who are blind, deaf, or have other physical challenges have become a familiar addition to the range of tools that help them live safely. Now, some dogs are being trained to help people with diabetes avoid the danger of low blood sugar. Especially for very young children or people afraid of becoming hypoglycemic without realizing it, these amazing dogs are proving their worth.

Trainers of these dogs say they are right 90 percent of the time in sensing a dangerous fall in blood glucose even before the person with diabetes is aware of it. When they sense this, they "alert"— jump, run around, pace, or put their head in their owner's lap—to remind their owner to eat some appropriate food to bring glucose levels up to normal. The dog then gets a treat.

While no one yet knows how dogs do this, it is believed they are able to pick up scents created by the chemical change in their owners' bodies.

These hypoglycemic-alert dogs cost at least twenty thousand dollars, and the training of dog and client takes about two years.

Luka, a one-year-old German shepherd, sensed something was wrong when his owner, Doug Ryerson, had a diabetic emergency in 2005. The dog barked and growled in distress until help arrived, likely saving Ryerson's life.

insulin pump. She is a cohost of dLife, a weekly program on CNBC aimed at people with diabetes. She has written many articles about living with diabetes, her autobiography, and several cookbooks. She is also a familiar face in Washington, D.C., where she promotes legislation regarding diabetes.

She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, and she is pursuing a second master's degree, in public health (her first is in journalism). When she was diagnosed with diabetes, her doctors told her she should never have children because of the danger diabetes would pose to her and to the baby. Today, her daughter Ava is a healthy five-year-old.

Diabetes has certainly affected Baker's life, but it has also given her the opportunity to be a role model for empowering people with diabetes. She says, "One's greatest challenge can be one's greatest blessing, physically and psychologically."34 In that light, she has always not only accepted her diabetes but also found it to be a blessing. By dealing with it honestly and openly, she has created a good career that revolves around it. She has also used the strength and wisdom it has brought her in her family and professional life.

In addition to her insulin pump, she sometimes wears a glucose sensor attached to her abdomen, which gives her constant blood sugar readings without the finger sticks. She has a cell phone that automatically transfers the glucose readings to her health care team. All this technology helps her feel more in control and does an excellent job of keeping her right on track.

Diabetes is life-changing. While it can often be successfully controlled, it requires constant vigilance. People who have it can never ignore that fact—because they could die if they do. Yet acceptance and a positive attitude, as Baker has shown, can go a long way in creating a happy, successful life even with diabetes.

In 2006 Baker said, "What you think will steal life away has given me life. It has taught me more than ever about determination and discipline and other things I've never been exposed to."35

Diabetes Sustenance

Diabetes Sustenance

Get All The Support And Guidance You Need To Be A Success At Dealing With Diabetes The Healthy Way. This Book Is One Of The Most Valuable Resources In The World When It Comes To Learning How Nutritional Supplements Can Control Sugar Levels.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment