1. Get the Diabetes Forum App for your phone - available on iOS and Android.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Guest, we'd love to know what you think about the forum! Take the Diabetes Forum Survey 2020 »
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Diabetes Forum should not be used in an emergency and does not replace your healthcare professional relationship. Posts can be seen by the public.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. Guest, stay home, stay safe, save the NHS. Stay up to date with information about keeping yourself and people around you safe here and GOV.UK: Coronavirus (COVID-19). Think you have symptoms? NHS 111 service is available here.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Find support, ask questions and share your experiences. Join the community »

Hypoglycaemia and understanding speech?

Discussion in 'Ask A Question' started by gracefawcitt, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. gracefawcitt

    gracefawcitt Type 1 · Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    23
    I’ve had Type 1 diabetes for 10 years now, but in the last few years I’ve started experiencing a new symptom of hypoglycaemia- difficulty understanding speech (temporary Wernicke’s aphasia?). It doesn’t matter if my blood sugar is 3.9 or 2.0, and it doesn’t happen every time, but I just find that sometimes it’s really difficult to understand speech, specifically text- for example, if my blood sugar is low, I sometimes have a really hard time understanding what I’m trying to write, and am totally incapable of forming a sentence (speech is typically alright and I can communicate vocally what I want to say, it’s just understanding what I’m reading and writing).
    I suppose I actually have a few questions regarding this:
    1. Does anyone else experience this issue with hypos?
    2. Does anyone know why Wernicke’s area (area of brain associated with understanding speech) may be linked to hypoglycaemia? Or if it’s not, what the cause may be?
    Thanks in advance for any help!
     
  2. catapillar

    catapillar Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,391
    Likes Received:
    2,893
    Trophy Points:
    198
    Your brain needs glucose to function. If it doesn't have enough glucose, it's going to shut off the non essential functions so it can concentrate on keeping you breathing.

    If you notice these symptoms, stop reading and treat the hypo.

    I've not experienced the specific lack of cognitive function of inability to write/read that you've had. But I have had hypo glycaemic Hemiplegia (I was so hypo my brain could not figure out how to get the control messages to my right side, I found out by falling out of bed) and I have had quite a few occasions of very impaired vision when hypo (there's not enough glucose for the brain to be able to process the messages it's getting the eyes, so it puts its own wildly off the mark guess in instead).
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. diamondnostril

    diamondnostril Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    294
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Hi @gracefawcitt . . .

    I've been T1 for about 17 years now . . . I recognize the symptoms you describe, these have happened to me a few times. For me the first such occurrence was around 9 years after diagnosis.

    I remember one occasion when I spent an entire morning at work attempting to write 1 e-mail. Was constantly correcting (and re-making) typos and spelling mistakes and trying to figure out if grammar was correct. Was baffled by the whole experience of trying to write something. Another time, at home, I was able to navigate to the BBC text information on my TV, but was completely unable to interpret what I was seeing. I could pick out some names (it was a report on a football match) but all the regular words seemed to mingle into each other and I simply could not understand it.

    I cannot answer your question regarding Wernicke's. But from my personal experience, these type of symptoms seem to occur due to specific conditions in the Hypo. For me, in all the times when these types of symptoms have occurred (4 times) it has been when the Hypo has been slow-onset and very persistent. For me, each time it has been a Hypo that started overnight and/or involved alcohol, and my level had stayed low for a considerable time.

    Perhaps if I have another slow-onset/persistent Hypo like that, then these type of symptoms would appear again. But for me they were in no way "progressive" or indicative that my Hypo problems were getting worse - it just seemed to be that the particular conditions of the Hypo tended to produce those type of symptoms. I have not had those symptoms again in the last 5 years.

    Hope this is helpful for you :)
    Antony
     
  4. gracefawcitt

    gracefawcitt Type 1 · Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    23
    Ah that makes sense, thank you! I suppose I never quite understood why I’ve only been experiencing for the last few years, although it may just be that I’ve only recently become aware of it. Thanks for your help!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. deborabaratto

    deborabaratto Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    68
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. gracefawcitt

    gracefawcitt Type 1 · Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    23
    I definitely find texting/ emailing really hard when I have hypos like this! And the numbness makes sense as well, although I only ever get that if I’m really low! Thanks for your help!
     
    • Like Like x 2
  7. gracefawcitt

    gracefawcitt Type 1 · Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    23
    That’s really helpful thank you! I’ve had similar experiences where I’ve spent seemingly ages trying to write simple texts which I can speak out loud but can’t type out at all! It’s good to hear that you don’t get them any more though, and thank you for your advice!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. himtoo

    himtoo Type 1 · Well-Known Member
    Retired Moderator

    Messages:
    4,691
    Likes Received:
    5,412
    Trophy Points:
    198
    hi there @gracefawcitt
    you have described a hypo symptom I previously called ( only to myself ) "geometric inability"

    for me the print on a page or the text in an email starts to take on a series of shapes of varying sizes and shapes -- totally distorting what is actually written -- making it impossible for me to read -- yet I have felt drawn to it , to attempt to decipher it
    I have spent ages ( probably only minutes) getting frustrated at my inability to read what I know is in front of me.

    hugs [[hugs]]
    x
     
  9. Jaylee

    Jaylee Type 1 · Moderator
    Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,312
    Likes Received:
    9,829
    Trophy Points:
    298
    Hi, I've kind of had this but with with simple maths.... Lol, One incident while low I was fitting blinds on two windows.. The first one was done, just repeat the the fitting on the second window with the same number of slats on the blind. But I couldn't count past 10..
    Another time I was laying a patio.. "Measure twice cut once." I was marking out a 30cm cut on a slab? It was bang on, but made no sense to me...

    On occaisions like these I think "hello, I'm low."

    I wouldn't disagree with @diamondnostril 's account.. Tends to be basal related when this has happened.. A "slow creeper."
     
  10. gracefawcitt

    gracefawcitt Type 1 · Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    23
    It does get really frustrating, and I logically know I should be treating for a hypo, but I always seem to be so set on trying to figure it out that I end up just making it worse! Thank you for your help!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. gracefawcitt

    gracefawcitt Type 1 · Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    23
    Ah that’s sounds so frustrating! Yeah, I almost always get them about 2 hours after I’ve woken up, before I’ve eaten breakfast, so I sometimes (illogically!) attribute it to the fact that it’s early in the morning and I’ve just woken up, which is obviously not the case ;) I can’t say I’ve had it with maths before, although that may be because it’s typically in the morning when maths is something I prefer to steer clear of thanks for your help!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. catapillar

    catapillar Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,391
    Likes Received:
    2,893
    Trophy Points:
    198
    The hypo awareness course I'm doing recommends checking to see if you are hypo by doing 100 less 7, less another 7 etc and seeing if you can work down. But I would struggle to do that when euglycaemic.

    I will occasionally notice a loss of ability to type when hypo, but I don't think that's because I can't work out what I'm typing or reading I think it's more to do with the dexterity of touch typing for me. I just treat the hypo and realise I've got a page full of even more typos than normal.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Jaylee

    Jaylee Type 1 · Moderator
    Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,312
    Likes Received:
    9,829
    Trophy Points:
    298
    The mind is a complex thing.. Possibly my "maths & measurement" experiences are due to what I do? We can sometimes get stuck in a loop when low...

    A little like the "egg timer" on a computer screen that say "thinking about it, hold on all the data needed is bottle necking in the processer? Or slow connection...?"

    All I know is my default setting when this happens is eat...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Jaylee

    Jaylee Type 1 · Moderator
    Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,312
    Likes Received:
    9,829
    Trophy Points:
    298
    I know.. Off topic. A few years ago they were trialing some sort of simple test following/tracking a dot across a hand held device screen with the finger so the police to gauge cognitive function of drunk or drug drivers..
    Problem was sober older trial members were doing no better, if not worse than the drunks, due to the fact they don't play or have experience with "computer games."?

    Our minds are wired differently. Either by nature or nurture... :)
     
  • Meet the Community

    Find support, connect with others, ask questions and share your experiences with people with diabetes, their carers and family.

    Did you know: 7 out of 10 people improve their understanding of diabetes within 6 months of being a Diabetes Forum member. Get the Diabetes Forum App and stay connected on iOS and Android

    Grab the app!
  • Tweet with us

  • Like us on Facebook