Washington: People with diabetes can have difficulty in self-administering the exact insulin dose at the correct time to keep blood sugar levels in healthy ranges.
According to a new LSU Pennington Biomedical Research Center study, a novel biomarker might give us answers necessary to create a diagnostic tool for hypoglycemia-associated autonomic failure (HAAF).
No objective diagnostic tool currently exists for this condition, which, if left untreated, can lead to ever-worsening and possibly life-threatening episodes of dangerously low blood sugar.
If a low blood sugar episode occurs, individuals usually begin to feel a range of symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and nausea that trigger them to seek immediate, potentially life-saving, medical care.
People with diabetes may stop experiencing the physical symptoms that serve as cues to seek medical attention and may not even realize they are having one or multiple hypoglycemic episodes, until it is too late. This condition is more commonly known as hypoglycemia-associated autonomic failure (HAAF).
Assistant professor-research, David McDougal, said, "There is currently no objective way for a health care provider to measure whether a patient has experienced repeated episodes of low blood sugar and therefore may be suffering from HAAF."
Blood glucose is the brain's essential metabolic fuel. If glucose isn't available because a person has hypoglycemia, the brain can adapt by increasing the rate at which it uses alternative energy sources, such as acetate.
"The results of our study suggest that this adaptation may still be present after exposure to times of low blood sugar and therefore can be used to measure how frequently a person experiences low blood sugar," added McDougal.
He further said how the research significantly advances the understanding of the scope and importance of the relationship between brain metabolism and hypoglycemia.
The full findings are present in the journal- Acta Diabetologica.