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diabetic fainting
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diabetic fainting

I was diagnosed with Type 1 at the age of 50 (with a GC of 1250.) For five years previous to my diagnosis, I suffered blackouts (several each year). My endo thinks that the blackouts are different from the diabetes. This may be true because I never expereinced any of the given diabetes warning signs. There was never any increased urination. Never any increased thirst! Etc.

What is the comment? Can Type 1 diabetic fainting happen (in adults) without the warning signs?
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Hello AlanK
We are volunteers here & not medical professionals.  We do have a lot of experience with Type 1, however.

I have read that in the years leading up to a diagnosis of diabetes, some individuals experience the condition of hypoglycemia.  Some folks have chronic hypoglycemia, in which their bodies respond to glucose with an oversupply of insulin.  In others, this condition seems to be present for a while before diabetes develops.  I visualize that as a time period in which the beta cells are under duress and are spurting & sputtering along, a bit out of whack.  

While it may be interesting to know precisely what was going on during those years, it's terrific that you've achieved good enough control to not experience blackouts with diabetes.  Blackouts can occur 'without warning' if we are not aware of our own signals for falling blood sugar, or if we have lost the ability to sense when our blood sugar is falling.
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I have been type II diabetic for more than 20 yrs. I have expirenced my first blackout while driving. I was un-aware this is a condition that comes with being diabetic. Can these blockouts occur "any time" whether low or high blood sugar?  I am extremely concerned and any information would be greatly appreciated.

  Thanks in advance for any information You can give me....
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Wow, I had not seen this thread before, or I would have thrown in an answer to these last questions. No, the blackouts are not caused by diabetes. They (if they happen) are caused by overdose of insulin. The brain's primary fuel is glucose. When we take too much insulin by mistake, and our glucose levels drop too low, we normally have warning symptoms, but if we don't get some carbohydrates soon enough, fainting can happen. The brain just can't function without sugar.

The warning symptoms can disappear over time if a person has too many lows close enough together that the liver's emergency stores of sugar are used up and residues of those sugars are still detected by the brain when yet another low happens. The brain THINKS it has glucose because it detects these emergency sugars, and so doesn't signal the person that he or she is hypoglycemic. This can happen to any diabetic at any time if several lows have happened close together and the liver has been called upon to act to help by releasing emergency stores.

The blackouts were probably due to hypoglycemia (the explanation of why many people experience hypoglycemic episodes before being diagnosed as diabetic is a good one), and it probably came without warning because it had been happening often enough (maybe the first several times you ate before the levels got so low that you blacked out, and the liver was often dumping sugars to help you) that your symptoms were compromised.

Look for any combination of any of these symptoms:
fatigue or sleepiness
yawning (if the brain can't get sugar, it sends for oxygen in desperation)
feeling of being chilled or overly warm (either one can happen)
inability to concentrate
feeling of being irritable or depressed
hands or muscle tremors
sweating
headache
hunger or feeling of slight nausea (either one can happen)
forgetfulness

Some of the symptoms are pretty subtle, so you need to be aware of all of them. ANd test your glucose often so you can catch a low before it gets severe. Make sure you have a couple of small cans of juice in your auto whenever you go out. Most doctors used to think that the loss of warning symptoms was due to some sort of diabetic damage, but new studies have disproved that. You can get those warnings back by first avoiding ANY lows for about 2 weeks (the length of time you need to do this varied in the different studies, so it may take a little longer than this). The next step is to create a habit of ALWAYS taking in the quickest possible carbohydrate when you find yourself low. No crackers or candy bars that take time to digest, for if you eat these kinds of things, your sugar may continue to drop while you eat and digest, and the emergency sugars may be called into action. So juice or some sort of sports drink are the quickest to digest. This fixes the low before the brain calls emergency sugars into action.

Once you retrieve your warning symptoms, be aware that any time you have some lows close together and that your body uses the emergency liver sugars, you may lose your warnings again and have to do the retrieval process over again.
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