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What Does A Diabetic Seizure Look Like


Are People With Diabetes More Likely To Have Epilepsy

What Does a Seizure Look Like?

A number of studies have investigated diabetes and its link to epilepsy, with most research focusing on type 1 diabetes.

A 2016 study, published in the journal Diabetologia, found that people with type 1 diabetes were 2.84 times more likely to develop epilepsy than those without type 1 diabetes.

Researchers are not clear on why people with type 1 diabetes may have a higher risk of developing epilepsy. One theory is that autoimmunity may be involved, while its also been suggested that prolonged high blood sugar levels could increase the likelihood of seizures. These theories have yet to be adequately tested and confirmed, though.

In 2012 Italian scientists examined these underlying mechanisms in a review titled Seizures and type 1 diabetes mellitus: current state of knowledge.


Cat Seizures: Causes Symptoms & What You Should Do

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Seeing a cat having seizures is scary for any pet parent. Caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain, seizures can cause concerning behaviors, including thrashing, drooling and teeth chomping. But thankfully, even though they look frightening, they’re not always a medical emergency.

Read on to learn why cat seizures happen and what you should do if your cat ever has one.

What Else Should I Do

  • Always carry fast acting carbohydrates with you
  • Wear identification that says you have diabetes
  • Make a note of any hypos you have and discuss it with your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator
  • Make sure your family, friends, co-workers, school staff and carers know how to recognise and treat hypoglycaemia
  • Look for the cause of your hypo so you can try to prevent it from occurring again
  • Contact your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator if you are having hypos often
  • If youre taking medication called Acarbose carry pure glucose with you such as glucose tablets, glucose gel or Lucozade
  • Eat carbohydrates if you are drinking alcohol
  • Test your blood glucose level and ensure it is above 5mmol/L before driving a motor vehicle.

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What Does A Seizure Look Like

While many epileptic seizures involve shaking or twitching in a person who does not seem responsive, there are many different types of seizures. They all look different. The way a seizure appears depends on the areas and amount of the brain involved.

The most common types of seizures, and what they look like, include:


Standardized Field Sobriety Test

Diabetes and Seizures: What Are They? What Are The Symptoms?

Definition: The Standardized Field Sobriety Test is a battery of 3 tests performed during a traffic stop in order to determine if a driver is impaired. The 3 tests that make up the SFST are the horizontal gaze nystagmus , the walk-and-turn, and the one-leg stand tests. Developed in the 1970s, these tests are scientifically validated, and are admissible as evidence in court in a majority of states.

Executive Summary: According to researchers, officers trained to conduct SFSTs correctly identified alcohol-impaired drivers over 90% of the time using the results of SFSTs . The SFST consists of three tests administered and evaluated during a traffic stop to determine impairment and probable cause for arrest. The HGN test is performed to observe whether the drivers eyes involuntarily jerk as a stimulus is moved side to side. Both the walk-and-turn and one-leg stand tests are divided attention tests that are easily performed by most sober drivers. They require a subject to listen and follow instructions while performing simple physical movements. Impaired persons have difficulty with tasks requiring their attention be divided between simple mental and physical tasks.

More Detail: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines the three parts of the SFST as follows :

Admissibility of Standardized Field Sobriety Test Results

Stevenson Breathalyzer

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When Should I See A Doctor About My Seizures

The first time you experience a seizure, you should go to the hospital to rule out any potential problems or injuries. If you have experienced several seizures, and you notice an increase in numbers, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately. It is a good idea to see a neurologist, a doctor that specializes in the brain, along with your doctor that manages your diabetes. They can make sure that it is indeed the diabetes that is causing the seizures, and not some neurological disorder.

Important things that you should tell your doctor about are:

  • How often you are having seizures
  • What time of day they occur
  • How long they last
  • What symptoms you have before it happens
  • What your typical diet consists of
  • How often you exercise and at what time of the day
  • What you do to increase your blood sugar when you notice it is getting low
  • How often your blood sugar drops to a level that you have to treat it
  • It is also very important to keep a log of blood sugars

After telling the doctor about these things, questions that you should ask them include:

  • What am I doing that is causing my blood sugar to drop?
  • Do I need a prescription for a Glucagon injection for emergency situations?
  • Would a continuous monitoring device be beneficial for me?
  • Should I raise my target blood sugar levels?
  • Are any of my medications causing this?
  • How can I prevent my blood sugar from dropping?

Diabetic Seizure: All You Need To Know

Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that occurs due to an electrical storm in the brain. Mostly, people who have recurrent or repetitive seizures can experience loss of consciousness, abnormal behaviour, disruption of senses, or all of the above. Though most causes of epilepsy are not known, studies have indicated that they can occur or trigger due to loud noises, rigorous physical stimulation, or even small as flickering light, loud noises, or physical stimulation.

There is no relationship between epilepsy and diabetes, or the research is still not able to prove. Therefore, anybody that has a seizure must test to find the exact cause.


A diabetic seizure occurs when the sugar levels in the blood are extremely low . The brain needs glucose to function properly. When there is a drop in the blood sugar, the actions of the neurons in the brain decrease and the person experiences a seizure.

Please note high blood sugar can also cause seizure activity in the brain. Extremely high blood sugar levels in the brain can cause hyperexcitability of the neurons, thus leading to a short circuit in the brain and seizure. While this is quite uncommon, it is equally dangerous.

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Watch How To Help Someone Who Is Having A Diabetic Emergency

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a medical condition that affects blood sugar levels. Normally, peoples bodies maintain the ideal blood sugar levels automatically. When a person has diabetes, their body fails to maintain the blood sugar balance, so they need to manage it through diet, tablets or insulin injections.

Sometimes, a person who has diabetes can suffer diabetic emergencies, which require first aid.


What are the signs and symptoms of a diabetic emergency?

Signs and symptoms vary, but common ones include:

  • hunger

What happens in a diabetic emergency?

In most cases, the persons blood sugar levels become too low. This is called hypoglycaemia. It can happen when the person has missed a meal or exercised too much. If left untreated, a diabetic emergency can become very serious.

What should I give them to eat or drink?

You can give them sugary drinks such as cola, lemonade, fruit juice and isotonic sports drinks, and sweet foods such as jelly beans, chocolate and sugar cubes. The person may also be carrying glucose gel or tablets. Avoid giving them a diet drink, as it wont have any sugar in it and will not help them.

But some people have high blood sugar levels, so wont giving them sugary drinks or food make their diabetic emergency worse?

Some people do have high blood sugar levels, but giving them sugary drinks or food is unlikely to do any harm.

How will I know if this is a long-term condition for the person?

What Is A Diabetic Seizure Warning Signs And Symptoms:

What a feline seizure looks like

As diabetics we should all be very familiar with hypoglycemia but for those who are not, what is hypoglycemia and how can it effect us?


Hypoglycemia is the clinical syndrome that results from low blood sugar. The symptoms of hypoglycemia can vary from person to person, as can the severity as Ive personally dealt with in the past when my severe low was accompanied with a seizure.

This was the first time this as ever happened to me since being diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic over 11 years ago now. While I dont remember the seizure itself, lets just say we made it a memorable experience for the community as it happened at my sons fall soccer tournament. So what is a hypoglycemic seizure and what are the warning signs of having a seizure? Lets take a closer look!

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Checking For Low Blood Sugar Levels

When blood sugar levels fall too low, the body releases the hormone adrenaline, which helps get stored glucose into the bloodstream quickly. Paleness, sweating, shakiness, and increased heart rate are early warning signs of this adrenaline release.

More severe symptoms such as confusion, drowsiness, seizures, and loss of consciousness may happen if the hypoglycemia isn’t treated and the brain doesn’t get enough glucose to work properly.


The only way to know for sure if your child has low blood sugar levels is to test them. Blood sugar levels can be tested with a glucose meter, a computerized device that measures and displays the amount of glucose in a blood sample. However, if the situation makes it impossible or inconvenient to quickly check the blood sugar, it’s important to treat your child for hypoglycemia immediately to prevent symptoms from getting worse.

Sometimes a child with diabetes may have symptoms of low blood sugar, but the levels are not actually low. This is a called a false reaction. Adrenaline also can be released when blood sugar levels fall rapidly from a high level to a normal level. Testing blood sugar levels before giving treatment for hypoglycemia can help you identify false reactions.

Also, some kids may learn to fake symptoms of low blood sugar to get a sugary treat or avoid something unpleasant. Again, checking the blood sugar level can confirm the presence of hypoglycemia.

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How To Treat A Low Blood Sugar Level Yourself

Follow these steps if your blood sugar level is less than 4mmol/L or you have hypo symptoms:

  • Have a sugary drink or snack like a small glass of fizzy drink or fruit juice, a small handful of sweets, 3 or 6 glucose tablets or 1 to 2 tubes of glucose gel.
  • Test your blood sugar after 10 to 15 minutes if it’s improved and you feel better, move on to step 3. If there’s little or no change, treat again with a sugary drink or snack and take another reading after 10 to 15 minutes.
  • You may need to eat your main meal if it’s the right time to have it. Or, have a snack that contains a slow-release carbohydrate, such as a slice of bread or toast, a couple of biscuits, or a glass of cows’ milk.
  • You do not usually need to get medical help once you’re feeling better if you only have a few hypos.


    But tell your diabetes team if you keep having hypos or if you stop having symptoms when your blood sugar level is low.

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    Impaired Awareness Of Hypoglycaemia

    Impaired Awareness of Hypoglycaemia occurs when people do not feel the early warning symptoms of hypoglycaemia and only realise they are hypo when their BGLs drop very low or when they check their BGL. If you have had diabetes and hypos for many years the risk of not feeling the symptoms of hypos is more common. IAH can be dangerous because by the time you realise you are having a hypo you may find it hard to treat it and you could become unconscious.

    If you have hypos without symptoms or your symptoms change, you may need to check your blood glucose more often. Always treat BGLs at 4mmol/L or below, even if you feel fine. If you have low BGLs without any symptoms you need to discuss this with your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator.

    Signs & Symptoms Of A Cat Seizure

    Pestana knight diagnosisepilepsy

    Cat seizures can take many forms. Generalized or grand mal seizures can include convulsions, limb rigidity or paddling, loss of consciousness, abnormal vocalization and loss of urinary or bowel control. Grand mal seizures can occur alone or in clusters and typically last a minute or two. If a seizure lasts longer than five to 10 minutes then it’s called “status epilepticus,” and is a medical emergency you should take your cat for emergency veterinary care immediately. However, you should take your cat to see your vet following any seizure just to get a full checkup and diagnosis.


    Other types of seizures, such as absence seizures or partial seizures, during which a cat may exhibit tail chasing, aggression, shadow chasing or biting, are very rare.

    Since seizures tend to be very brief, you may not notice your cat having one. Alternatively, you may notice abnormal behavior after a seizure, during what’s known as the postictal phase. Your cat may exhibit excessive tiredness or excitement, binge eating and drinking, or abnormal pacing. If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian.

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    A Low Blood Sugar Level And Driving

    You may still be allowed to drive if you have diabetes or you’re at risk of a low blood sugar level for another reason, but you’ll need to do things to reduce the chance of this happening while you’re driving.

    You also need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and your car insurance company about your condition.


    For more information, see:

    Treating Low Blood Sugar Levels

    The diabetes health care team will give you clear guidelines about how to treat hypoglycemia, depending on the severity of the symptoms.

    If it’s convenient, test the blood sugar levels before treating your child to confirm that the symptoms are due to hypoglycemia. If blood sugar can’t be checked immediately, don’t delay treating your child’s symptoms you can always do a test after getting the blood sugar back into the normal range.

    When blood sugar levels are low, the goal is to get them back up quickly. To do that, give your child sugar or sugary foods that raise the blood glucose level quickly. In general, treatment for hypoglycemia involves:

    • having your child eat or drink a form of glucose that works fast, like regular soda, orange juice, or cake frostingor having your child take special tablets or gels that contain glucose. Generally, symptoms will stop about 10 minutes after your child takes sugar.
    • rechecking your child’s blood sugar to make sure that the level is no longer low and giving your child food to help prevent the blood sugar from dropping again
    • giving glucagon , if symptoms are severe or get worse after your child is given sugar by mouth

    For more severe cases of hypoglycemia in which seizures or loss of consciousness happen, giving sugar by mouth may be very difficult or even dangerous. In that case, a glucagon injection should be given.


    When possible, adult family members and your child’s caregivers and school staff should know:

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    Symptoms To Keep An Eye Out For

    If your dog has diabetes, it’s important to deal with it quickly as his health could be in jeopardy. Diabetic canines will show signs such as a loss of appetite, twitching, diarrhea or constipation, weakness and having seizures. Dogs usually will exhibit the following symptoms before going into an diabetic seizure: observable disorientation or weakness, unusual whining and whimpering, restlessness, trembling or seizures, unusual movements and change in behavior such as becoming quiet and loss of appetite.

    What Organ Is Affected In Hypoglycemia

    What a seizure looks like

    The brain is one of the first organs to be affected by hypoglycemia. Shortage of glucose in the brain, or neuroglycopenia, results in a gradual loss of cognitive functions causing slower reaction time, blurred speech, loss of consciousness, seizures, and ultimately death, as the hypoglycemia progresses.

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    Seizures In Dogs Who Are On Insulin

    Dogs, like humans, produce a hormone called insulin, which helps regulate glucose levels in their blood. If they lack insulin, their blood sugar can rise too high and thus cause them to go into a diabetic seizure. They can be treated with insulin, but too much is dangerous. Hypoglycemic shock can occur when dogs are given insulin without enough food in their system to process it.

    What Causes A Low Blood Sugar Level

    In people with diabetes, the main causes of a low blood sugar level are:

    • the effects of medicine especially taking too much insulin, medicines called sulfonylureas , medicines called glinides , or some antiviral medicines to treat hepatitis C
    • skipping or delaying a meal
    • not eating enough carbohydrate foods in your last meal, such as bread, cereals, pasta, potatoes and fruit
    • exercise, especially if it’s intense or unplanned
    • drinking alcohol

    Sometimes there’s no obvious reason why a low blood sugar level happens.

    Very occasionally, it can happen in people who do not have diabetes.

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    Prevention Of Canine Diabetic Seizures

    Careful monitoring of your dog’s blood sugar and insulin levels is the most important way to prevent diabetic seizures. There are a number of good quality blood testing meters available on the market for this. There are no special blood testing monitors made for dogs the same ones you would use for yourself are what you will need for this. Careful monitoring of your dog’s diet is the next important step for you to take in preventing hypoglycemic shock and the ensuing seizures. Regular exercise is important in maintaining proper health, including sugar and insulin levels in your dog’s blood.

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