Hypoglycaemia is the most common side effect of insulin treatment and usually presents itself with symptoms such as sweating, palpitation and hunger. These symptoms alert the person with diabetes to the condition of their glucose level so that they can take the necessary action. Some people, however, lose the ability to recognize these symptoms. This condition is not just an issue for the person with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, it also affects the whole family…their peace of mind and the quality of their lives.
Hypoglycaemia Unawareness is often accompanied by confusion, changed emotions and anger.
The patient might stubbornly refuse to test blood when asked to do so, be aggressive, quarrelsome, or unreasonable when offered help. In extreme cases they can get verbally or physically abusive.
Caregivers become afraid of their relative /partner after violent reactions. They tend to stay awake at nights or get disturbed sleep because of worries in case of coma. They tend to get up regularly to check if the patient is all right. They are unwilling to leave them alone because they are worried and concerned as well as because the patient is so reliant on them. Some even give up their hobbies or do not go out at all.
From a study that explored the impact of Hypoglycaemia Unawareness on the whole family it was found that …
A person with diabetes and Hypoglycaemia Unawareness:
- Relies on the family members to help detect and manage Hypoglycaemia Unawareness
- Does not like this reliance
- Does not respond positively to help
- Worries that they have become a burden to others
- Loses confidence and in some extreme cases has to cope with an unhappy marriage.
- Is angry about how Hypoglycaemia Unawareness has affected his/her life
- Is sometimes frightened of the patient
- Feels tired, alone and unsupported