Understanding hypoglycemic unaWareness

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If your child suffers from hypoglycemic unawareness, he doesn't feel the warning adrenergic symptoms that alert him that his blood glucose is too low. He may have a reduced or no adrenaline response as well as a reduced cortisol and growth hormone response — this means that nothing is raising his blood glucose as it falls. Without the warnings of palpitations, anxiety, and hunger,

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there's not much between your child and the symptoms associated with lack of glucose in the brain.

Hypoglycemic unawareness occurs in about 25 percent of patients with T1DM. The occurrence of severe hypoglycemia is much more frequent in these patients than in those without the unawareness. It occurs more often when one of these risk factors is present:

^ Many years of diabetes ^ Very tight control of the blood glucose ^ Frequent and repeated hypoglycemia

In order to deal with these frequent and severe hypoglycemic reactions, it may be necessary to allow the blood glucose to be higher than levels that prevent long-term complications, greater than 150 mg/dl, for example. The risk is that long-term complications are more likely to develop, but a person with diabetes who suffers frequent severe hypoglycemia can't function normally and is a danger to himself and others.

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