Sunday, 6 August 2017

Low Blood Sugar Seizures and Epilepsy


Although I have Type 1 Diabetes, I often feel like I have more anxiety than most about having low blood sugar. This is because when my blood sugar goes low, I often have seizures. My first major seizure happened when I went low (called a hypo) on a flume, and had to get fished out of the water at the botto. This has meant that the NHS has funded a CGM (continuous glucose monitor, which gives me a reading of my blood sugar every 5 minutes and sends the reading to my pump) for me to prevent my blood sugar going low, but this hasn't stopped them completely.

When I say I have seizures, I mean full Tonic Clonic seizures. I become unconscious, shake and am in and out of consciousness for a good half hour before I wake up with a very sore tongue from biting it, and feel like I am very hungover for the next day. I hate letting my diabetes hold me back, so I became so anxious of my blood sugar dropping, that I often used to let my blood sugar sit higher to prevent myself going low, which meant I was unwell a lot.

In April of this year, I woke up one morning, tested my blood sugar and it was 9 mmol/l. The next thing I know, I had a seizure. This was strange for me, because I had never had a seizure without my blood sugar being low, so this triggered a thought. Maybe low blood sugar was a trigger for seizures, and not the cause. I went to my GP with this, and after examining me to make sure there wasn't another cause, she agreed this was a possibility, and she referred me to a neurologist.

This is such a personal issue for me, as it causes me so much anxiety about day to day tasks. I have had seizures on the bus (3 times) and walking home, so it's hard for me to think about the possibility of me having seizures that are near impossible to prevent. I still sometimes get upset about the fact that I can't get my driver's licence because of these seizures, and the fact that if I have a seizure, I have to put the people around me at an inconvenience (which did happen at my flat at university).

I had my appointment at the neurologist, I explained everything that has happened with my low blood sugar seizures, and the one I had when my blood sugar wasn't low. She called my mum, who had seen me have the seizures, and could explain  what they looked like, and how I reacted. The neurologist then went on to tell me that I had epilepsy and that,  as I had predicted, low blood sugar was just a trigger to the seizures, rather than the cause. She put me on tablets to hopefully control these seizures, and said I had to go for a EEG and an MRI of my brain to find out more about my epilepsy.

I was really upset about having another thing to deal with, another label put on my head. I already have Type 1 Diabetes, now I have to declare on forms that I also have epilepsy. After the neurologist told me, I just walked around the city where I live, trying to process things, and get my head clear, before I could tell anyone. 

My tweets about the situation shortly after it happened
I have been on the tablets prescribed to me for over a month now, with no visible side effects, and I haven't had a seizure since April. I still don't know whether this is because I haven't had any bad hypos or because of my new tablets, but I am trying to control my Type 1 Diabetes better, as I don't like feeling unwell all the time. I am hopeful that in the future I won't have any anxiety about living my life, or going on the bus myself, and that maybe one day I can get my drivers licence.

Until next time,

Alyssa x

3 comments:

  1. So sorry Alyssa... it will get better! It always does x

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  2. I never realised just how bad diabetes is until I fell pregnant and got gestational diabetes, for months I was taking hypos and was thinking it was a normal thing in pregnancy, asking myself how the hell can woman put up with this and go through more than one pregnancy. Then when there was glucose in my urine at one of my check ups it became clear after a few blood test that i have pregnancy diabetes. I had to inject insulin 4x a day. When i was in labour i had to be put on a sliding scale, but it took the midwifes a while to get my blood sugars under control, i was uncontrollably shaking and my jaw was agony due to clenching my teeth together. When they where giving me lucozade to drink i was instantly projectile vomiting it back up.I was so worried for my baby. All of this was going on while i was having contractions, it was a nightmare. I was eventually took into theatre to have my baby delivered, i never got to see him for 6 hours after he was born. When i came out of theatre I took a bad turn and my whole body went ice cold, i couldn't breathe or talk, my lips turned blue and I was put in oxygen. It's was a scary experience but worth it and i will have to go through it all again if I have another baby. Fortunately the diabetes is away and will only come back if i have another pregnancy. I know how you feel, it must be hard living with it all the time. I am glad to hear you have had no more seizures, its not easy living with diabetes, you are one strong lass ����❤ x

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  3. you are a very strong woman and to "successfully" deal with both is more than what most people in this life can handle...just tell yourself that. Dont give in to fear and by the sounds of it your medication is working which is fantastic.

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My name is Alyssa Faulkner. I am a Type 1 Diabetic Teen living in Scotland. I currently use a Medtronic insulin pump and an Enlite CGM, and am a volunteer for Diabetes Scotland.