What Drives Blood Sugar Down Quickly in Little Kids?

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Some things send kids’ blood sugars very low, very quickly. Here’s my recent experience; I’d love to hear yours. 

Yesterday, my five year old son, Sacha, and I played a game we hadn’t played  in a while –  he calls it “wrestling,” but others might call it “Fake Ultimate Fighting.”

The game goes like this: We get on the king sized parental bed, strike heroic poses, and  pretend to fight each other with hands, heads, legs, and feet. We make lots of blood curdling yells, and launch frequent fake kicks, feints, and punches, along with the occasional pillow swipe.

We’d stopped playing a while ago, because I kept getting hurt. It’s Sacha’s all-time favourite game, however, and I was pleasantly surprised last night to see that he’s become  better able to control his movements, and thus cause me less pain.     

This was right after dinner; his blood sugar had tested at 180 before eating pasta, and although he had a lot of insulin on board, I figured he’d be good for 20 minutes or so of Fake Ultimate Fighting before requiring a new blood sugar test.

I let myself be carried away, however, and we probably went for 25-30 minutes. Every time I tried to stop, he begged me to keep going, and I found it hard to say no. “Just a little bit more,” he kept saying. 

Luckily, our puppy had a very smelly accident, and I went to join my wife in cleaning it up. As we began to scurry about, Sacha began saying that he was very hungry. I knew he needed attention, but delayed for a minute or two. An electric fuse had suddenly blown, and we were trying to get the lights running again. 

By the time I got around to testing his blood sugar, he was 37…..we quickly treated with juice, and all was well a few moments later.

If the puppy hadn’t pooped inside the house, however, would he have gone even lower? Would he have gone into seizure? 37, after all, is really, really low; Sacha’s target is 120-180.

I’m trying to make a list of activities in my head that drive him low rapidly. Playing with the dog outside does it, we’ve found, and now, we know that Fake Ultimate Fighting is another major risk factor.

I’d love to hear from other diabetes parents. What makes your kids’ blood sugar go very low, very quickly?

PS: The day after, I ran an experiment. Sacha’s blood sugar was 288 in the evening after dinner; we played “Fake Ultimate Fighting” for 18 minutes, and then retested. 173! In 18 minutes, he’d dropped 115 points. Amazing.   


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Comments (4)

  1. Gunhild at

    Hi James, I just stumbled on your blog and my eyes watered! My son was 2 1/2 yo this July, when he was diagnosed. He got a pump within a month, but it is still SO very challenging to keep his BG within his target, and not get too low. The caregivers in his day care – and now kindergarten – have been terrific, though. We’re still on the phone with them on average once a day, especially when he has a cold or an ear infection. I suspect there are very specific challenges to counting carbs and dosing insulin in such a tiny body, but since I don’t know anybody else, who was diagnosed that young, I can only say that I suspect so. 
    I have been so stressed out about getting behind with my university studies because of this, but your blog is a great comfort. Did you know there is an increase in newly diagnosed T1 diabetics of 3-5% every year? We now eat gluten free food (because of a research project) and low carb on a home basis. Figuring out and experimenting with low carb, gluten free versions of traditional christmas recipes is how I spend a lot of my time these days 🙂 
    Best regards, Gunhild   

  2. Gunhild at

    Oh, by the way: how often do you measure your son’s BG? How much is “monitor closely”?

  3. James Ron
    James Ron at

    Hi Gunhild,
    I’m so happy you came across this blog. My son was diagnosed just a few months younger than yours, so I can well understand what you are going through. It is terribly hard to keep a little one’s BG in range – sometimes, it seems almost impossible. I agree; it is particularly hard in little ones. I do think it gets a bit easier as they get older, as there is a bit more room for error. Our son is almost 6 now, and while it is easier than when he was 2, it’s still a struggle.
    I can also relate to your feeling of stress about studies. I’m a university professor, not a student, but like you, am expected to deliver on time – publish, teach, etc. I find that diabetes takes up a lot of the time I might have otherwise spent on my work.
    Yes, I do know about the increase in incidence of T1D; no one seems to know why, but it has to be related somehow to our environment: food, building materials, pesticides, something.
    All I can say is, imagine doing this kind of parenting without great hospitals and technology! I have spent some time overseas with parents of children with Type 1 in India, Mexico, and Morocco, and am always humbled by what they have to go through, compared to those of us with health insurance in the global North.
    Don’t be discouraged. You and your son will get through this, you’ll finish your studies, and he’ll grow up to be an otherwise healthy boy.

  4. James Ron
    James Ron at

    We check 10-13 times a day. You?

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