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The holidays for many of us bring about a change in routine. We eat at different times and don't watch the clock as closely as we normally do. For a diabetic, it can be all too easy to lose track of blood sugar levels.
In this week's Dealing With Diabetes report, a local physician tells us the resulting symptoms can mimic intoxication.
Las Vegas resident Tom Moore has Type-2 diabetes. He says there have been times when he's felt intoxicated, due the effect of low blood sugar, a condition referred to as hypoglycemia.
He said, "And if a policeman had pulled me over, if I had been driving at that time, I would have been arrested."
Moore says, in his case, the first thing that happens is he gets shaky and breaks out in a sweat. He also gets extremely hungry. Soon after that his speech becomes slurred.
Tom Moore continued, "I've been told by my son that when I talk to him, when I'm in low sugar, that I sound like I'm drunk."
At Valley Hospital, emergency physician, Jeff Davidson frequently sees patients in a state of hypoglycemia. He says the symptoms mimic both drunkenness and signs of stroke.
Dr. Davidson explained, "The first thing the patient will notice is they get light-headed, dizzy and a sense they're going to pass out. They can also feel like their heart's racing. They can also get very sweaty. And these are all early symptoms of low blood sugar."
Fortunately, hypoglycemia is easily treated when it's recognized.
"At home, we tell the patient to try and ingest some sugar whether it's in liquid form, such as soda pop, or some orange juice or maybe a piece of candy," Dr. Davidson said.
Moore always carries two things that may come in handy.
First, glucose tablets. They come ten to a roll and there have been times when he's needed all ten.
Second, he also wears a medical ID bracelet.
Dr. Jeff Davidson said, "This is very helpful to the system and it notifies us right away of your medical illness. It helps us to help you very quickly."
Hypoglycemia can also occur during sleep, resulting in nightmares and heavy sweating.
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