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Type 1 diabetes linked to 3-fold increase in risk of epilepsy

Type 1 diabetes linked to 3-fold increase in risk of epilepsy

1-02112013-1241-custom-dog-tag-diabetesepilPeople with type 1 diabetes have a three-times increased risk of developing epilepsy later in life, concludes research published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).

Type 1 diabetes mellitus is one of the most common autoimmune disorders in children, with a 3% annual increase in the global incidence rate since the 1980s.In recent decades, the incidence of type 1 diabetes has increased in children and adolescents, particularly those aged younger than 5 years. Patients with diabetes are at increased risk of severe health problems and mortality. Recent studies have found that type 1 diabetes could be a risk factor for the development of epilepsy in children, though the exact underlying mechanisms remain unknown. In this new study, Dr I-Ching Chou, China Medical University Children’s Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan, and colleagues evaluated the relationship between type 1 diabetes and epilepsy in Taiwan.

Data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database were used to conduct retrospective analyses. The study cohort contained 2,568 patients with type 1 diabetes, each of whom was frequency-matched by sex, urbanisation of residence area and index year with ten control patients without type 1 diabetes. Computer modelling was used to estimate the effects of type 1 diabetes on epilepsy risk. In patients with type 1 diabetes, the risk of developing epilepsy was significantly higher than that in patients without type 1 diabetes. After adjustment for potential confounders, the type 1 diabetes cohort was 2.84 times more likely to develop epilepsy than the control cohort.

The authors say: “This result is consistent with those of previous studies in that epilepsy or seizures are observed in many autoimmune or inflammatory disorders and are linked to the primary disease, or secondary to pro-inflammatory processes.”

Immune abnormalities, brain lesions, genetic factors and metabolic abnormalities are all potential causes for the link between type 1 diabetes and epilepsy. They say: “In particular, both hyperglycaemia and hypoglycaemia commonly occur in elderly people with diabetes., and can alter the balance between the inhibition and excitation of neuronal networks and cause focal motor seizures. In addition, we found that younger age was associated with an increased risk of developing epilepsy. Previous studies have suggested severe hypoglycaemia, young age and early onset as critical risk factors for brain abnormalities… The current results could provide evidence to facilitate the prognosis of children with type 1 diabetes.”

They conclude: “Patients with type 1 diabetes are at an increased risk of developing epilepsy. Metabolic abnormalities of type 1 diabetes, such as hyperglycaemia and hypoglycaemia, may have a damaging effect on the central nervous system and be associated with significant long-term neurological consequences. The causative factors between type 1 diabetes and the increased risk of epilepsy require further investigation.”

Source: eureka alert

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  1. I developed type 2 after 2 pregnancies with gestational and have epilepsy. But even as a child ive never tolerated sugar well

  2. This scares me as I lost my father to epilepsy and my fiancé is type 1 😪

  3. My son has had Type 1 Diabetes since the age of 2. He will be 19 in May. When he was 14 he had an early morning seizure. He had walked 18 holes of golf the day before and carried his bags. I gave him glucagon and took his blood sugar and it was in the 200’s..really didn’t have an accurate reading. It could of been lower and the glucagon raised it quickly. Paramedics were called and he was taken to the ER. His sodium was a little low..they gave him fluids and sent us home. Still not knowing if it was a low blood sugar, I called Nemours Children’s Clinic and had a 30 minute sleep deprived EEG done. The doctor said it showed poly spike waves and diagnosed him with Juvenile Mycolonic Epilepsy (JME). He wanted to put my son on Keppra immediately. We agreed, but was not convinced he had epilepsy. I had read where an EEG is not 100%. The meds. made him tired and eyes dilated for school. The nurse called concerned. As parents, we agreed to take him off the meds. still not convinced it was Epilepsy. We thought we have to watch for low blood seizures which it could of been. One year later, he was in the heat (Florida humidity) on the golf course walking the golf course with carrying his bags at another tournament. The next day after waking up, I checked his sugar and it was 60. I woke him up and gave him some juice he immediately started quickly eating everything in site..next thing I hear is he was having a seizure. I gave him glucagon and called 911. They came, by then his blood sugar was in the high 200’s. They did not know what a glucagon shot was an argued that diabetics don’t get seizures..he was taken to the ER and was a little dehydrated. They gave fluids and again we were discharged. Chalked it again with a low blood sugar. Another year later..he had another seizure. He wasn’t feeling well the night before always had sinus infections..he was going fishing. He was rushing around, went to his room and snorted his nasonex and then I heard him have a seizure. His blood sugar was in the 200’s before he had it. Gave glucagon again, called 911 went to ER. He was diagnosed with Ketoacidosis. ER doctor said high blood sugars can cause seizures..never heard that one before? One in a half years later he has another seizure, same scenerio, not feeling well the night before and not much sleep. I called and had another sleep deprived EEG done the next day. The EEG was NORMAL! Neurologist made the comment he must of out grown the epilepsy..? He wanted to have a 24 hour Ambulatory EEG to take home with us and he leaves it on for the entire 24 hours. We did that, and again no abnormalties. So we are confirmed on epilepsy..must of been the blood sugars..Next seizure was over a year ago this past September..same scenerio, seizure after 2 hours of waking up. He didn’t get much sleep the night before and had been stressed out just starting college. He and his dad hurried to a car repair shop and both had not eaten. They were there for awhile. My son told his father he didn’t feel well, my husband didn’t think about seizures, he told him they were almost finished and to check his sugar and they would go get food afterwards. His blood sugar was around 220. He told him to go in the A/C and they would sit inside. My son said he needed to go to the bathroom so there was only on bathroom. The next thing, my husband heard a blood curdling yell out..which Austin has always done during a seizure. He knew he was having a seizure. He had the owner unlock the door and paramedics were called and transported to the hospital. He was then 18 and we decided to take him to Mayo Hospital in Florida which is only 35 miles away. The neurologist wanted to do an 3 night stay for extensive EEG and heart monitoring and he wanted to provoke a seizure so he could capture it on film to diagnose. My son had complained about sometimes having chest pain. He has GERD also. We had told the Neurologist that it seems to happen when he is tired, not feeling well and ketones. Austin was put through alot of rigurous excercise and was sleep deprived..they could not provoke a seizure. He had one complication with his insulin pump site that caused his blood sugar to go in 300’s and had to have it changed. This happened when he was exercising. He checked for ketones and they were medium. I told them no more exercise during ketones, so it was stopped. Later that day, the EEG showed wave spikes. The Neuro. next morning suggested putting him on seizure meds. but did not have a diagnosis and did not rule out Metabolic or cardiac. This was in December. He told my son to let him know if he decides to take meds. or try and listen to his body and get rest and not to overdue when he is feeling badly. My son made the decision to go on Keppra. This has the least side effects than the others did. I knew of this medication because my father took it after his stroke. I told the dr. his AlC is always in the 7’s and the meds. like depakote that he preferred my son to take, could hurt him. I expressed that we are trying to keep him from having complications with Type 1 and he wanted to give him a pill that could seriously affect his health. I had asked him about the CBD (Marijuanna) meds..he said not enough research to be deemed safe. ? I asked him about Klonipin..he said no because too addicting..? But he wanted to give him depakote with serious side effects to a child with Type 1 Diabetes. We left and my son said he would think about it all and let him know what he decided. In January, 6 weeks after leaving the hospital, my son wakes up and goes to the kitchen, tells his dad, he is feeling “funny”..I had forgotten to mention that he feels the seizure coming on. My husband knew what was happening. He had him lay on the couch and we watch my son have a seizure. We decided not to call paramedics and did not give glucagon this time..his blood sugar had been in the high 100’s before the seizure. We met back with Neuro. and my son decided to go on Keppra. He has been taking it since February and is up to the Max dosage recommended right now which is 1500 ER once a day. So sorry this long, but this is our story..I have always said there is a metabolic correlation with the seizures. I belong to alot of facebook support groups and there are too many children with Type 1 and diagnosed with Epilepsy. I just think it is too easy to say you have Epilepsy and give a pill. We are taking it one step further and are meeting with a Mayo Genesist to be evaluated for Neuro. Genomic Testing, and possibly the metabolic. I would like to have the Whole Exome Genomic tests to see if we can find some answers and a clear diagnosis. We are going in May for the consult at Mayo in Jacksonville, FL . Thank you, please wish us luck.

    • Thank you so much for sharing her son’s story.

    • You welcome, Mr. Carmen. I learn alot of information from this publication “Epilepsy U”. We hope to find out answers for my son soon with Genomic testing at Mayo.

    • Best of luck with it Paulette. Thanks again for being with us.

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