Today's online copy of Diabetes Health has a disturbing story written by a father of a teenage diabetic girl who had a very extreme low blood sugar.
While, I understand Dad's need to tell the story of Lauren's very extreme low, stories like this really concern me. I know from personal experience they scare the bejesus out of people (parents, newly diagnosed and those who really need but are avoiding insulin).
I too was diagnosed at age 12 ... my birthday present I've always referred to it. I have never felt the denial, depression or rebellion that I hear or read about.
I have also (after 32 years) never had the extreme low Lauren had. I've never had the need for glucagon. I've never been unable to treat my own low blood sugar.
I consider myself fortunate because when I was diagnosed we did not have glucose meters and we treated with large doses of insulin twice a day, instead of the many small doses I now use and the 15 times a day I test my blood sugar (vital to my current success).
I want parents and newly diagnosed patients to know that not every type 1 or juvenile onset insulin-dependent diabetic WILL have a low that includes a seizure, passing out, combativeness, or memory loss. It is more the exception than the rule.
That does not mean that following some safety "procedures" isn't necessary. It is. I highly promote and embrace caution, high testing frequency and preparedness. I teach it; I write about it.
My initial diabetes education at Boston's Joslin Clinic in November, 1976 taught respect for lows. It taught how to prepare prior to the event. It taught how to treat (yes, including glucagon injections). They taught us how to deal with middle of the night lows.
I believe that this education upon diagnosis is the reason that I do not fear lows like so many of my peers (especially the newer diagnosed) do. I hear far too many times the doctor's scaring them into keeping highs because they WILL have lows like Lauren's.
I am (an many of my board buddies are) an example of the fact that scary situations like Lauren's just do not happen to everyone. So please, try not to keep this picture in your minds so much that you don't target a normal blood sugar. The instances of high blood sugar causes permanent damage are much higher than those of lows.
I will reiterate, however, respect and prepare.