The mother of a 19-year-old diabetic man who died from dead in bed syndrome is raising awareness for the condition.
Dead in bed syndrome is a term used to describe sudden and unexplained death of young people with type 1 diabetes. It is an uncommon syndromen, accounting for around six per cent of death in people with type 1 diabetes under the age of 40.
Despite its rarity, dead in bed syndrome is an extremely serious but poorly understood diabetic complication. There is no confirmed cause, just a handful of theories. One of the most popular suggests that nocturnal hypoglycemia disturbs heart rhythm; another claims that neuropathy impairs nervous activity to the heart.
Glenn MacDonald died last year on 3 June from dead in bed syndrome. His mother, Jackie MacDonald, soon discovered that the condition was relatively unknown.
“I don’t think all diabetics are aware of [dead in bed syndrome]. Even some nursing professionals who have heard about our plight and have been told about this had never heard of it,” she said.
Following the loss of her son to dead in bed syndromen, Jackie MacDonald is determined to make more people aware of what she calls the “silent killer.”
“We’ve done more research since to find out that it’s rare, but it does happen to people. I just want to make people more aware of the silent killer that diabetes is, that type 1 is totally different to type 2 and that it is life threatening.”
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