Picture a child of at least six years old standing in a store aisle staring at their mother on the cold tile floor violently twitching and moaning. As a result from the jerking body movements the tongue is severely bitten and a combination of blood and saliva begin to flow out of the mouth. The child is infinitely oblivious to what is going on that the only emotion they can express are the tears streaming down their face from the fact that a hug or kiss won’t make this situation go away. Finally a stranger who notices immediately covers the child’s view and grabs their cell phone to call 911. What you’ve just read was my witnessing of my mother’s faint signs of hypoglycemia. No doubt this state is dreadful to watch but we all know it happens whether to a child or just a loved one. Any diabetic especially those that can no longer distinguish their blood sugar levels are at risk of severe injuries.
For the body to function properly for diabetics the body needs a sufficient amount of sugar in the blood. If blood sugar levels get too low, known as hypoglycemia, from eating improperly or taking too much insulin symptoms of a diabetic seizure can occur. Not only can a seizure occur from low blood sugar but also from high blood sugar which is also known as hyperglycemia. Normally, a person is able to feel the warning symptoms such as sweating, shaking, loss of coordination, and confusion. However, some are unable to feel these symptoms and are thus unaware that their blood sugar is dropping or dangerously low. This can lead to seizures, a seizure is a quick surge of electrical activity that occurs in the brain and typically affects how a person feels or acts. While some seizures aren’t so dramatic to a point where bruises are left on the body others can be dangerous and scary.
To prevent someone from seeing a loved one go through such a terrifying state rescued or donated dogs have been trained to detect the occurrence of a seizure. “Diabetic alert dogs are specifically trained to identify, and more importantly, act upon the scent changes that hypoglycemia creates in the body. These small chemical changes in the body are undetectable to human companions” (http://www.dogmagazine.net). Currently, there are only a few groups in the United States that are training assistance dogs to sense hypoglycemia. “Scientists remain unsure on how the dogs are able to sense changes in their human companions. It is believed that the dogs are reacting to scents created by chemical changes related to glucose imbalance, but no one knows exactly which chemicals cause the scent”(www.battlediabetes.com). Despite this scientific uncertainty, hypoglycemia alert dogs have provided a great sense of relief and comfort to people with diabetes in their families. Parents of children with diabetes and adults whose hypoglycemic episodes make it difficult to live alone are proud to support these brilliant canines.
Individuals who use an insulin pump or who follow a plan to control...