What is Hypoglycemic Unawareness?
Children with diabetes need to be encouraged to test their blood sugar at least four to five times a day, six to eight times would be better. This is especially true because some kids can develop a condition called hypoglycemic unawareness. It means pretty much what it sounds like, the state of being unaware that one's blood sugar is too low.
Typically, there are obvious physical symptoms of low blood sugar that a person experiences. Rapid heartbeat, perspiration, shaking, anxiety, hunger, confusion, and irritability are some of these signs.
A diabetic who doesn't "sense" that he or she is falling into the low blood sugar "danger zone" can literally become unconscious before being able to get help.
Tips for Parents
- Get your child into a scheduled routine of testing blood sugar. Testing before eating and sleeping is a good plan. If you are firm in seeing that your child tests before all meals, snacks, and bedtime, eventually it will become a habit.
- If your child gets a low blood sugar reading, especially if it is below 70, treat with a sugar substance. Afterwards, ask about what he was feeling while he was low. Write down the symptoms he describes every time he's low, and discuss them with your child to help him become more aware.
- Make sure teachers and caregivers are aware of your child's particular symptoms of hypoglycemia. When in doubt, the teacher or caregiver should give the child juice, soda (not diet) or candy such as sweet tarts (that dissolve quickly).
- Your son or daughter should keep juice boxes or emergency candy on hand for times when symptoms appear.
- Set up rewards for your child when he consistently checks his blood sugar. Plan a movie or trip to someplace fun when she has been testing herself at least five times a day without fail for two weeks or a month.