Low Blood Glucose Doesn’t Affect Long-Term Brain Function

By jigsaw Latest Reply 2012-02-07 17:45:09 -0600
Started 2012-02-05 06:50:49 -0600

What long term effects do you believe low bg has on on brain function?
I came accross this article and it appeared to contradict much of what I had read previously about low blood glucose. I thought it would be a good idea to share our opinions on the subject and see what we could learn. Here is the link:

30 replies

MoeGig 2012-02-07 15:57:20 -0600 Report

Thanks for the link. Great article. Low blood sugars have been my primary problem as a 46 year Type 1 diabetic. I can usually catch it during the day, but too often I wake up with a room full of emt's giving me an iv of glucose when my wife can't get me to drink a coke. I've maintained an A1c of 6.5 over the years and have no complications, but the low sugar attacks are scary. Just had another one the other day and going in with my wife to see the endo for and update. My temporary solution is to set my alarm clock for 2am to test. That's been working so far. But, this has become my biggest problem.

jigsaw 2012-02-07 17:45:09 -0600 Report

Hi MoeGig…I'm pleased that you found the article to be of value. The alarm clock sounds like an extremely good way of catching some lows. Hopefully, technology will come up with some more cost effective ways to protect against lows. My compliments on your a1c. Great job! My prayers are with you and your family. I hope more solutions become available, and you discover them as soon as possible.

GabbyPA 2012-02-05 13:59:02 -0600 Report

I think the main reason they are saying this is that high levels tend to run longer since a lot of people don't even know they are diabetic. The low episodes, while very dangerous, are often not prolonged and that seems to be the key difference.

The other thing is that the study is limited to cognitive brain function. There are a lot of other things that little mass of gray matter does. It doesn't look into those things.

jigsaw 2012-02-05 16:30:10 -0600 Report

Hi Gabby…So true, diabetes and its effects on the brain and body is a very broard topic indeed! One thing amongst others that I'm very curious to find out is if low bg is related to, and can cause dementia as some research implies and suspects.

GabbyPA 2012-02-06 14:52:45 -0600 Report

I think just the fact that our brain is not getting the energy put into it just like the rest of our body. Cells die for lack of glucose. This is why I was curious about coconut oil. It contains ketones that are consumed directly by the brain cells and has been shown to improve moderate to severe Alzheimer's. That is good news to me.

jigsaw 2012-02-06 19:06:13 -0600 Report

Improving Allzheimer's is fantastic news. I am definitely going to take the time to learn more about it. Certainly brain cell death due to the lack of glucose would appear to be related to dementia. Time to start digging for more info! Thanks Gabby for some stimulating news.

GabbyPA 2012-02-07 09:09:10 -0600 Report

I just found this out in the last week or so. That is why I have my discussion on Coconut Oil posted. I wanted to see how everyone here has used it or what they know. So many things relate back to diabetes in such weird ways. You never know if you might uncover something that really works for you.

jigsaw 2012-02-07 09:26:18 -0600 Report

I currently use coconut milk in a few meals that I prepare. Coconut curried chicken, coconut curried shrimp, coconut Thai chicken are a few examples. Thanks to you I now know more about coconut oil, and I will definitely use it on occasion. I'll keep you updated!

Caroltoo 2012-02-06 15:00:56 -0600 Report

Yes, it is recommended for diabetics. I, personally, have had to use it sparingly because it is contraindicated for gall bladder issues and mind is only newly well behaved, but I will be using more as the gb situation continues to improve.

jigsaw 2012-02-06 19:12:27 -0600 Report

I have a suspicion that coconut oil will be added to my grocery list! Why is it that women always manage to cost me more money? (-;

GabbyPA 2012-02-07 09:10:26 -0600 Report

We are just so good at it. My health food store had it on sale and that was big bonus. Amazon.com sells it as well. Their price is about $6.50 for the same jar I get at Publix for nearly $10. So I am good with that.

jigsaw 2012-02-07 09:33:01 -0600 Report

HaHahaha! Thanks for the references! If I don't see it locally at a reasonable price, I'll probably try Amazon.com.

GabbyPA 2012-02-07 10:36:05 -0600 Report

I always order the ones that are in glass, as I keep them for a while. But there are a lot of options out there. Have fun. Experiment and yum!

GabbyPA 2012-02-06 15:03:25 -0600 Report

I just ordered a bunch of unsweetened coconut flakes so I am going to make coconut milk (like my almond milk) and then I will also have coconut flour like my almond flour. I feel so frugal to use as much of the plant as I can. LOL

The big question is if I can cook successfully with it and not break the bank.

Caroltoo 2012-02-06 15:13:34 -0600 Report

The oil if definitely expensive, but I don't think its ounce-per-ounce cost is really much more than EVOO's is. Since it comes in a fat bottle like mayonnaise, I think we are buying more at a time. I've found it lasts longer than my EVOO bottle does. Guess I ought to compare ounces/bottle!

GabbyPA 2012-02-06 15:16:54 -0600 Report

Yes, it is comparable to olive oil. I think I just kind of freaked because I used nearly a whole jar the other day replacing the butter in a cookie recipe. That was hard, but a scoop at a time should be easier to deal with. I like that it doesn't require refrigeration after opening and can last up to 2 years. That is a huge help. I got some UNrefined on my last shopping trip. That has more coconut flavor and little flakes in it. I have a refined jar that is odorless and has not coconut flavor so I can use that in some other applications.

J Kate
J Kate 2012-02-05 11:48:17 -0600 Report

This is a very interesting topic that I think needs further research. Both of my sons have had several negative experiences with brain function from lows. My 19 year-old has suffered severe "post dictal" states, and my 10-year-old has hallucinated on one occasion from having too many lows in a 7 day period. The hallucinations were terrifying for him. The emergency room in my little town had no idea how to treat or even that it was related to their diabetes. I had to drive them out of state to a larger metro area to get help. I guess the key phrase is "long term". They eventually pull out, but I have wondered if the recovery is complete and what dangers they face with more episodes.

jigsaw 2012-02-05 15:07:54 -0600 Report

I'm so sorry to hear that your two sons have had these experiences. I hope it's possible for you to help minimize if not eliminate their lows. Unfortunately, I think we're all in the same boat, waiting for research to come up with more answers. For now, the best we can do is learn to manage bg as best as possible. I can only imagine the difficulties of trying to manage the bgs of two children.
The info that I keep hearing seems to be contradictory in general. My intuition tells me that the type of various damage if any would probably be determined by the frequency of low episodes, how low and how long an episode lasts. I did read a newspaper article a few months back that said even one bg low could cause future dementia. Unfortinately, I didn't take note of the source, and hopefully it's inaccurate. I sincerely hope you and your sons do well in spite of their diabetes.

J Kate
J Kate 2012-02-07 12:57:05 -0600 Report

I think you are right. Managing lows are all we can do. I was frustrated with the first endo we had. I complained that they were getting too low too often, and he said get used to it- this is your life… I switched to a new doc and it was better. We also got an early warning system. I sleep much better now that an alarm will go off if they go below 79. I'm so grateful for the technology.

jigsaw 2012-02-07 17:18:19 -0600 Report

With the circumstances that you mentioned, I would have changed doctors also! No way would I accept an answer like get use to it. Roughly 18 years ago when it was discovered that my triglycerides were extremely high ( 750 ), 5 doctors told me the cause was genetic in nature. I refused to simply accept this answer. After much research and one year later my triglycerides were down to 80. I also changed docs until I found one that I could communicate comfortably with. No medications, just exercise and healthier foods. The rest is a long story, but I'm sure you see my point. Your children are extremely fortunate to have a mom who is informed and continuing to protect and watch over them.

MEGriff1950 2012-02-05 11:35:58 -0600 Report

Hello Jigsaw. My sister is a scientist and they did extensive studies where she used to work on this subject. Low blood sugar affects the oxygen to the brain and if too low for too long can cause strokes.

jigsaw 2012-02-05 15:24:53 -0600 Report

Hi MEGriff1950…Apparently, this happened to one of the members here on DC. I would like to understand more about the relationship of low bg and low oxygen to the brain. Something that I believe is worth looking into. Thanks!

J Kate
J Kate 2012-02-05 11:49:58 -0600 Report

So true, our endo said many of his patients come in to the ER with stroke symptoms so they keep doing CAT scans and not treating the low. He was very frustrated.

jigsaw 2012-02-05 15:39:10 -0600 Report

I had three CAT scans within a two year period for other reasons. My wife had two strokes and consequently had numerous CAT scans. I have since been informed that a CT scan gives up to 400 times more radiation, than a typical x-ray. The last time my doc suggested a CT scan, I expressed my concern about radiation. He agreed and prescribed an MRI. Hopefully, MRIs and MRAs are safer.

jayabee52 2012-02-05 17:11:35 -0600 Report

"safer" is unfortunately a very relative term. I had MRIs and MRAs without and then with contrast. They either were not aware of a problem of the contrast solution and metformin or forgot to tell me that there was a problem and I believe that it may have caused my kidneys to weaken and eventually shut down.

jigsaw 2012-02-05 18:50:59 -0600 Report

Hi jayabee52…I'm sorry to hear that. Sounds like an extraordinarily frustrating event! They must have forgotten to to tell you to discontinue the Met. I'm not sure how many years that the discontinuing of Met with Contrast has been practiced. I know it's been commonly done for quite a few years. Every CT and the 1 MRI that I had, was with contrast. I was instructed each time to discontinue Metformin. I was told that the combination of the two can put undue stress on the kidneys. As a matter of fact, contrast by itself is stressful on the kidneys. They always tested my kidney function before and after administering contrast.This definitely appears to be a major error by the medical staff, or the individual that performed your MRIs and MRAs!
I know of your situation from previous postings. My prayers are with you, I hope all works out for the best.

jigsaw 2012-02-06 10:09:24 -0600 Report

Unless a doctor explains to me that an x-ray or CT is absolutely necessary, I avoid it! My urologist was about to x-ray my kidneys when I questioned if it was really necessary. He decided not to do it. Very interesting! Have you noticed, that the more knowledge we gain as patients, the better our doctors become?!

Young1s 2012-02-06 10:15:24 -0600 Report

Yep! I would never presume to know better than my doctor, but gone are the days of just taking your doctors's word for it. It's in all our best interests to be as informed as we can before, during and after we meet with our PCP's.

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