As I laid in bed the other night, after he had had a small hypo! I thought about how you would best explain it to someone who didn't understand it totally.
This is my simple explaination......
Imagine if you will a bank account, now the balance of this account can be anything between 4 to 10 (in the US their blood sugar readings are measured in a different unit, but you get the idea) Now the whole idea is that you need to keep the balance in this range.
When you eat, the balance goes up. You body then produces Insulin and the balance comes back down to the right place. IF you don't eat anything but you do lots of exercise and use lots of energy then you balance starts to go down. You start to feel like crap and you need to eat and drink to get the balance back to where it should be.
If you have Type 1 Diabetes, then when you eat your balance goes up but it does not automatically come down. This is where you have to test you Blood Sugars to find out what the balance is and then take the correct amount of Insulin for what the balance is.
If you do not have the Insulin then your balance will stay at the high range and make you very thirsty, constantly wanting to pee, and generally feeling very unwell. This is known as Hyperglycaemic Attack (Hyper)
At the other end, if their balance falls below the recommended range then they start to feel faint, dizzy, sick and general really yucky, this is called a Hypoglycaemic Attack (Hypo).
So once you have had the correct amount of Insulin, then your balance comes back down to the correct range, but if you have not calculated correctly or you do exercise and have the Insulin then you can make the balance go down even further.
Generally they start to know when their balance has gone below the correct range because they feel unwell and they correct it by eating some sugar. Unfortunately at night sometimes this can happen and they can be so deep in sleep that their body does not wake them up with the signs and symptoms, this is when they fall into a Diabtetic Coma.
They do give off signs and symptoms but not enough to wake themselves up but enough to wake someone lying next to them sometimes.
Steve will start moaning, or as has happened the last few times, he jerks his arms around and his body does the odd shake. This has woken me because the bed has moved and as I turn to him I can hear his breathing and if I feel him he is cold and very sweaty. That is all the signs I need to know what to do.
So that is Diabetes 101.