Does anyone else have seizures when there blood sugar goes too low?  I am not talking about epilepsy, just seizing from low blood sugar? If so, what issues have you had?   Driving issues?

NEVER NEVER NEVER drive with low blood sugar.  Diabetics kill themselves and others every year doing this.  It's completely preventable too... just test before you drive.

The only time I've had seizures when low was on the edge of unconsciousness.  It's the sign of a severe low because it means your body, and especially your brain, don't have sufficient glucose.

Any chance you're dealing with hypoglycemia unawareness?  

I am a little offended by this because I don't drive with low BS and always test after getting in the driver's seat, since I was diagnosed with hypo lack of awareness more than 5 years ago.   My endo explained the cause of the seizures when I first began having them (over 20 years ago).  The issues I was refering to regarding the driving were more legal than medical (although I am interested in hearing what anyone has to say on it and what they have experienced and won't judge) .  My specific concern was being told that because I have a  hx of seizures, I have to give up my license, despite a clean driving record.

My mom has them. She always has… I am T1D as well, but I have so far been lucky and not had a low that severe (12+ years! I'm proud of myself!). Does not every diabetic have seizures when low? I guess I always thought all T1D's did…

She has had issues with driving off the road because she is unaware of the low. The main issues we have faced with her is having seizures in public and possible when she's home alone. She broke her nose once when i was young because she fell out of bed, and she has fallen off decks and stuff too. No legal issues though. What did you endo say the cause was? I'm very interested!

Congratulations on staying clear of the super lows!    2 T1D's in the same family, it is not often your mother completely understands what you're going through as a T1D but I guess it can also be scary if she was having a lot of problems.   Do you try to keep your BS high to avoid seizures?   There is T1D athletic group called TEAMWILD.   It's run by a woman whose father was also  T1D and had seizures, so she kept her A1C's over 12 for most of her life, just to make sure she did not have them.   After I had my 1st seizure, the endo suggested I not worry about tight control any longer (this was b4 most had blood meters) and just eliminate the seizures.   I did that for many years but am now having complications.    

25plus (80s)years ago when I was in college and had my first one, the endo checked for epilepsy and there were no signs and he told me that he could make anyone seize if he lowered their  BS enough, so I always believed the same thing you did.  However, I am also on a FB group, "you know you are a diabetic when..." and several people have posted there that they have had BS well below 20 w/o seizing (or even shaking).   So at this point, I'm not sure.

Does your mom also still have her license?  I don't know what state she's in but I just learned from one of my clients (I'm a social worker) that in Arizona, you are not supposed to drive unless you are seizure free for a year.    

The state generally does not document seizures caused from severe hypoglycemia when reviewing your driving privileges.  The seizures that require a Dr.'s note are those from epilepsy.  However, if you are having hypoglycemic reactions low enough to cause seizing, they will probably restrict your driving for a period of time until the Dr. can morally and legally state that you have been in control for a minimum of 6 months without such issues.  

I am sure THAT is what you were asking about when you mentioned "Driving issues?", right?  Most of us are smart enough not to drive when low, but admittedly, it IS good advice to make sure that you check your bg each and every time you get behind the wheel.  Due to an accident during a low which should never have happened (my bg was 150 when I got behind the wheel and 10 min later I was below 20 and had wrecked the car--they still have no idea what the heck happened), I now climb in the car, leave my keys in my purse on the other side of the car on the floor (harder to get a hold of when not thinking clearly), and then check my bg.  My Dr. will not let me drive if I am under 180 EVER!  It is better for me to be around that when I need to drive since we are not sure how I was able to drop so fast the time before.  So you know, my pump and glucometer were replaced by the manufacturers immediately after that accident because we aren't sure if the pump dispensed insulin un-programmed by me or the bg reading was wrong to begin with.  It has been 4 yrs since that accident and so far so good with these steps being taken.  After the accident however, it took me 1 full year before my Dr. would release my driver's license to drive without restrictions.

Hope this helped answer your question.

It sounds to me like your mother needs an endo who will step it up a bit and get her out of the lower ranges so that she doesn't have seizure problems while alone.  I know after I lost the ability to feel my lows coming on (and ALL T1Ds eventually reach that point with time and too many lows), they kept my bg normal range at 120-150 for almost a year so that I did not experience lows for that 12 months.  At the end of the 12 months, I was again able to feel lows coming on early enough I could test and treat them without becoming unconscious.  Admittedly the "feelings" I have now are very different from those I experienced in the earlier years of my diabetes.  Now instead of shakiness and sweating, I get nauseated and light-headed.  But the nausea is my first indication that I am dropping.  Even when I am actually "nauseated" from the flu or anything else, I still will check my sugars first and foremost to make sure it is not a low that I can simply treat and move on.

Honestly, I would talk with your Mom about asking her current endo to step up her normal ranges for a bit or find someone else to work with her since continuing to have lows that cause seizures is more damaging to her body than having her sugars a bit higher for a while will ever be.  For HER sake, talk with her about getting better care for her diabetes.  Too often endo(s) and internal med docs are afraid to risk complications by running sugars at higher ranges.  They don't see the brain damage that is caused by all the lows you are describing her having.  Seizures come from EXTREME lows, not those that are in the 40's and 50's.  They come from the lows that kill people.  No exaggeration!  Be there, done that!  Good Luck!

Interesting! I need to find that Facebook group! I have not kept my sugars high… I was diagnosed at 16 and sort of took it on as a science project. My highest a1C ever was 7.8 and I typically run around the 6.5 range. I just had a baby earlier this year and I was in the 5's during pregnancy! Because I'm still in my childbearing years and whatnot I'm expected and encouraged to keep a 5-6 a1C. I'm lucky because I can do this…I use a pump and I have always been VERY aware of my lows. I know as soon as I'm in the 70's. I have always made treating lows a priority too, which is sometimes very socially awkward (Think during meeting at work…and presentations I'm giving! lol) but worth it. I really hope I can keep it up!

As for my mom..yes she has her license and has never had it taken away or anything due to the diabetes. She's only ever been to the hospital twice for diabetic seizures (We got really good at treating them at home and then calling her doctor directly) and both times it was never mentioned. That being said, none of her children (myself included) want her driving anymore due to a myriad of issues. So maybe this can help us in a weird way…

Oh Marcie, trust me, everyone in our family has tried to talk to her. We have tried to tell her to keep her numbers up, to not take 10 (10!) units of insulin for a small meal, to try a pump or cgm…. Her doctors have tried to talk to her too. But when someone doesn't want to change…you can't make them. When I was diagnosed and learned what actual control looks like I really started to fear for her. I call her everyday, sometimes multiple times a day to make sure she's ok. I live in a different state, so it's hard. Her attitude is that she is her and that's different than everyone else and she can only do things her way. She won't keep her sugars higher because that involves eating, and eating makes you gain weight. I swear it's like talking to a brick wall sometimes. I have talked to her a thousand times and I will do so a thousand times more. But as a diabetic I know that the only person that can actually make changes is yourself.

She also saw the #1 endo in the country for ~20 years at Mass General hospital before she moved. She still had seizures about once a month.

How true that is---it is only the diabetic who can control their diabetes.  I wish you the very best of luck with the situation.  My heart goes out to you.  I know I have put my own children through an awful lot over the 31 years I have had T1D because I did not want to accept the life changes it would require to live with this disease.  To them I cannot apologize enough!  Keep calling and talking, yes, but most of all---MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL is "Take Care of Yourself First and Foremost!"  You are the only diabetic who can control your diabetes and you have to make yourself first---you HAVE to!  I'm learning THAT one from experience too.  LOL  It's a difficult idea to wrap my head around--putting my health before helping others---but I'm learning.  If you ever need to talk, feel free to get in touch with me, k?  Good luck and may God watch over you and your mother.

Thanks Marcie! My goal is for my son to not realize his mom is any different for as long as possible. It's weird to be both the daughter of a T1D and a T1D mother. I'm hoping the line ends with me though!

Marcie-Thanks for the info on driving, I will check it out and glad you got your situation straightened out.  Rebeckah-I hope things work out for your mother.  I know worst case scenario (no one ever wants to)  is you could always ask the court to intervene-declare her unable to make decisions-my family was in the process of doing that for my aunt, (non diabetic but was not making good decisions) but unfortunately she passed before it was done.  


Don't be offended, I'm making a good point.  You shouldn't drive with a low, whether it's caused by poor control or hypoglycemia unawareness.  No one should be on the road if they're dealing with that issue.  If you kill or injure someone I love because you're driving impaired, I don't care what the cause is.

The reality with hypo unawareness is that it's reversible.  It's caused by extreme lows, so if you can eliminate the majority of lows then your body returns to having a normal response and you have symptoms again with lows.

I had severe hypo unawareness after 25 years with type 1, but it reversed after a few months of pump therapy.  I don't keep my blood sugar artifically high, but instead aim for a reasonable target blood sugar of 100.  I'm pretty relaxed in my control but I rarely have lows (go below 70 maybe once a month) and if I do I have classic hypo symptoms.  

That's great that you test before you drive.  It's helped me a lot too.


Exercise typically affects your blood sugar for 24 hours afterwards and can even last up to 48 hours. Eating every 2-4 hours will help keep your blood sugars more stable because of the constant energy it provides your body, as well as the constant glucose it is consistently releasing into the blood stream. Eating snacks before and after is a great idea. It sounds like you will also need to decrease your insulin for at least 24 hours afterwards - if it's everyday, a general overall lowering of the basals is probably what you need to do.

The only thing I can think to add is that during high school my son was a serious dancer.  He had problems going low during dance, even after making sure to run a little high before starting.  His endo had him sipping gatorade throughout dance to keep him up.  The orthodontist wasn't happy, but readily recognized that blood sugar was more important than sugar on teeth with braces.

I guess I haven't really tried lowering my basal for after the workouts as well as much as I should have so I'll definitely give that a try as well. Thanks for the advice  

When you start a new workout your body isn't as efficient so you burn more glucose.  After a couple weeks of the same workout your body adjusts and the lows won't be so severe.  So that means for the first couple of weeks you need to be super cautious with your insulin and may need to eat a bedtime snack or wake up in the middle of the night to check blood sugar.  You may need little or no bolus insulin to cover dinner.

Over time your body will adjust and while your overall insulin needs may drop (because exercise makes us more insulin sensitive) it won't be as dramatic as in the first weeks.  

Sheri Colberg's book "The Diabetic Athlete" is a great resource.  I'm also a fan of Gary Scheiner's online class on managing exercise with diabetes.  Both have type 1 diabetes and are exercise physiologists.

Thanks, but my workouts haven't really changed that much. I'll look into the books though.