Ask the Diabetes Educator Archive

Q:

My brother has been type 1 and I need to know when his sugar drops below 50 how serious is that? The lowest it has been is 10. He lives with my parents and I got to experience for first hand how much stress my parents have been under. I did not realize how brother acts when his sugar is low. He acts like a little child and gets very mean and physical at my parents. Is this normal for a person like this? If you could answer my questions for me it would help me a lot and I can help my parents out too.

A:

There is definitely cause for concern here. A sugar level of "50" is too low for most people. A level of "10" is a step away from being unconscious. Think of how you may get irritable when you're very hungry. Magnify that many times over for one whose blood sugars are subject to roller coaster rides. The first thing I suggest you do is too meet with your brother's practitioner and/or diabetes education resource if there is one in your area. Your practitioner can certainly advise you on what blood sugar ranges should be. Low blood sugars, when one is still talking, can be treated with 15 grams of carbs: 4 oz juice, 6 oz milk, or glucose tablets according to the package. When one can no longer swallow, glucagon injections are given. Ask your practitioner to educate you on this. Erratic blood sugars lead to erratic behavior; both can be controllable.

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