Quality CareFind out why Mayo Clinic is the right place for your health care. Make an appointment.
Meet the StaffFind a directory of doctors and departments at all Mayo Clinic campuses. Visit now.
Research and Clinical TrialsSee how Mayo Clinic research and clinical trials advance the science of medicine and improve patient care. Explore now.
Visit Our SchoolsEducators at Mayo Clinic train tomorrow’s leaders to deliver compassionate, high-value, safe patient care. Choose a degree.
Professional ServicesExplore Mayo Clinic’s many resources and see jobs available for medical professionals. Get updates.
Give to Mayo ClinicHelp set a new world standard in care for people everywhere. Give now.
Mayo Clinic offers appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System locations.
Subscribe to Housecall
Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics.
Hi fellow bloggers,
Last week I shared with you a patient story about "hypoglycemia unawareness" — a condition in which a person with diabetes doesn't experience the usual warning symptoms of hypoglycemia. This week I'd like to share some risk factors and possible treatment strategies for such hypoglycemia unawareness.
Long-standing type 1 diabetes. Reduced awareness of hypoglycemia is common among people who have long-standing insulin-dependent diabetes. Many of those who've had diagnosed diabetes for 15 to 20 years report having lost their ability to perceive low blood glucoses and to often failing to treat and prevent severe hypoglycemia.
Severe hypoglycemia is an episode in which the person with diabetes is unable to treat him or herself and needs the assistance of another person. This includes prompting by a relative or friend to drink juice or eat.
Being an older adult and having type 2 diabetes. There also have been an increasing number of hypoglycemia unawareness episodes in those with type 2 diabetes; adults older than 65 seem to be most at risk.
Strict avoidance of hypoglycemia. Strict avoidance of hypoglycemia for several weeks to months can restore at least partial awareness of warning symptoms. Strategies for avoiding hypoglycemia when you have hypoglycemia unawareness or don't experience the warning symptoms include:
Glucagon for emergencies. Glucagon is the treatment of choice if someone with diabetes is unconscious or unable to swallow. The length of time a person is unconscious, is more of a concern than how low the blood glucose number is.
Ask your health care provider for a prescription for Glucagon or GlucaGen and for instructions on how to use it. Instruct your family members or friends on how to use this in an emergency and on how to access the emergency response team, such as calling "911."
Have you lost any awareness of symptoms of low blood glucose? How have you coped?
Regards, and have a good week.
Sara J. Carlson, R.N., C.D.E.
Peggy Moreland, R.N., C.D.E.
Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission.
Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic.
A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.org," "Mayo Clinic Healthy Living," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.