Hypoglycemic - no symptoms?

Hi all - we're new to the world of diabetes (our son was dx'd three weeks ago), and tonight we saw our lowest number on the meter yet - 50-something.  But he looked pretty much normal.  Maybe a little sweaty, but then the room he was in was hot and his younger brother (who doesn't have diabetes) had bright red cheeks.    So what do you do when you can't tell your child is low??



Anytime your child seems off or overly emotional, test.  As a kid I remember getting so busy playing that I wouldn't notice I'd gone low (kind of like how little kids wet their pants because they they're having too much fun to stop and use the bathroom).  

It's not unusual to be 50 or much lower and still function just fine.  And the more lows a diabetic has, the more comfortable the body feels when it's low.  

The good thing is that because your child is a new diabetic his body still releases adrenalin when blood sugar drops.  That causes the physical symptoms like shaking and sweating.  The bad news is that because the brain doesn't have enough glucose, a low makes the diabetic dopey, and they are like a drunk person whose brain is impaired.    

THAT'S what's frustrating about lows... right when you need to help yourself the most, your brain stops working.  It used to drive me crazy that my mom, and later my husband, can tell that I'm low before I sometimes can.  But I've learned to just appreciate having people who love me.  My husband and I made an agreement that even if I know I'm fine, I will test anytime he asks me to.  

You may read about hypoglycemia unawareness, where the diabetic doesn't have any physical symptoms of a low.  That isn't usually an issue for diabetics until they've had the disease at least 10 years.  Having lots of highs and lows will make a person prone to hypo unawareness because after years of having lows all the time the body doesn't set off alarm bells (and release adrenalin) when blood sugar drops.  

Even if your son does develop this at some point down the road, know that hypo unawarness can be reversed.  Mine went away when I got an insulin pump and was able to prevent a lot of extreme highs and lows.  Now I can feel when my blood sugar hits around 70 and have low symptoms when I drop lower than that.  To be safe, I still make sure to test before I drive and when my son was an infant and I was home with him, I tested every couple hours to be sure a low didn't sneak up on me.

Don't fear lows, just have a healthy respect for them.  They're a part of life with diabetes because it only takes a little extra insulin to cause one.  Your son and your family will figure out how to identify and deal with lows.  Take care.

My daughter (7 y.o) sometimes doesn't tell me she feels low.....most of the time she does, but sometimes it hits her so fast she can't. For example, if I see her sitting staring out into space and I can't catch her attention I know she is dropping. I think when it hits her quick like that she just can't express what she is feeling. That is the only experience I have with her not feeling her low. My daughter's lowest has been 42, and she was at school. Her teacher noticed her staring into space and called the nurse. The nurse said she was just real spacey, and couldn't tell her what she was feeling, or form answers to simple questions.

Since this is still pretty new, take some time and figure out how he is acting before he checks his BS. If Allie is grumpy I know a low is on the horizon, she becomes very quick tempered. Every child is different. Allie doesn't usually feel the lows until she is below 70. Sometimes when she is 65-68 she said she doesn't even feel low she just feels hungry.

Lows still scare me, but I have learned to chill out a little with them. I have started catching myself actually getting more mad at the number than scared. I think to myself, I KNOW I calculated those carbs right what happened?! hahaha  

We have our 8 year old Zach who was diagnosed all of two weeks when he went to his first Diabetes Camp and managed to hit 23 AND was running around. When i went to pick him up, the nurses had no reason as to how it happened who how he was conscious...we are still trying to get him to 'listen'  for lows. I put the kid in a bear-hug when they called me from school to tell me Zach was low and that he was the one who notified them! He said "I was sitting at my desk and my head felt dizzy". I'm certain I looked like a nut, but I applauded and hugged and cheered for him so that he knows that being aware is AWESOME! for both him and yours truly! WHEW! I have made a new motto for our D-family: We will die-or-beat-these (diabetes)!!

Thank you for your answers everyone!  I appreciate you taking the time to answer  :)

We notice our daughter's facial expression changes when she gets low. She also will stop playing when she is running around outside with other kids and just sit out like she is pouting. Be observant and you will notice the lows with experience. He will too with practice.

hi, my son is 7 yrs old was diagnosed 2.3 yrs ago..he usually feels nothing when he is low..if its 50's or higher he can be running around like it is nothing or having a perfectly normal convo with someone..SCARY!

My son was diagnosed about 8mths ago. My son dropped to 29 at school and was bouncing off the walls as usual. We verified the reading with two different kits. Usually the only time he has noticable symptoms is when he is between 50 and 70 (and he doesn't always show signs then either!)

I've found that with our son (age 10) he will often not notice a low if it comes on gradually, but he will "feel" it intensely if his BG is dropping rapidly.  He can test at 80-90 and have a panic if not treated immediately if he is dropping rapidly.  Or, be 50-60 and feel just fine if it is a slow, gradual descent.

What makes BG drop rapidly as opposed to slowly?  Does it just happen or do certain thing tend to cause that?

I see it's been a few months since your child was dx'd.  How are you all getting along?

For our son, often if he eats a meal or snack of just carbs his BG will drop more rapidly, and sooner, than if he eats carbs in combination with protein and fat.  The fat/protein combo seems to "slow down" the carb absorption (this is especially important for bed-time snack and maintaining overnight BG).  So, if he has "only carbs" for a meal/snack, I know I HAVE to test him in exactly 2 hours to be sure he's not dropping (sometimes he'll drop sooner, depending on his activity level).  If he's eaten a "balanced" meal/snack, I know we can wait up to 3 hours (sometimes more) to test...but I still keep an eye on him.

Activity levels also can have a huge impact on how quickly carbs are burned through.  Generally speaking, intense physical activity will burn off BG pretty quickly, and sometimes you will get a "delayed" drop...an hour or more after the activity.

So, what I do when I'm having a hard time pinning things down is log EVERYTHING for a week or so.  Foods, types of foods, activity levels, stressors, etc., along with BG's, ratios, corrections, etc.  That way I can get a better picture of how certain factors are affecting his BG consistently.  (If you want a clearer idea of what types of influences affect BG, I highly recommend reading "Think Like A Pancreas").

That's probably more info than you wanted, but please keep asking questions if you want more info.  Also, I have to recommend getting into the loop in the D-Mom Blog Community for additional support, if you have not already done so.  As always, please feel free to contact me privately at Hueyhome@msn.com if you want to chat.