Having diabetes can be a major risk to your life, as well as a daily difficulty. If you've struggled with controlling your blood sugar in the past, it might be time to get a little extra help. While medications and lifestyle changes are both beneficial, bringing a new member into your family could also potentially help you. Here's how a service dog can be useful to those with diabetes.

The Danger of Low Blood Sugar

As you may know, low blood sugar is a real threat to people with diabetes. While high blood sugar is also a problem, exceedingly low blood sugar can cause a person to lose consciousness. Once this happens, especially if you're alone, you may not regain consciousness for some time, which means that the low blood sugar is negatively affecting you. Even with help in your home, allowing your blood sugar to plummet to a severe level before receiving help isn't ideal. It's better to control it as it starts to lower so that you can counter the effects before they become severe.

Dog Detection

Dogs—specifically those trained for it as service dogs—are particularly useful in detecting low blood sugar. There are multiple reports that even dogs that haven't been trained have sometimes alerted their pet parents to the fact that their blood sugar levels are low. However, service dogs are trained from the start to not only be extremely well-behaved animals but to also be able to detect low blood sugar long before it becomes severe. In some cases, service animals are also trained to be able to retrieve medication or small snacks that you can easily eat to boost your blood sugar, like a bag of hard candy. This ensures that even if you're alone and already feeling unwell, a service dog will be there to help you.

How They Do It

All dogs have a remarkable sense of smell. It's far stronger than a human's sense of smell, and it also allows them to smell some chemical compounds that humans simply don't notice. One of these chemical compounds is called isoprene.

Isoprene doubles in the blood when a person experiences hypoglycemia. While this doesn't have any particular negative effects on the body or blood, it is something that a dog can smell long before you start to feel the effects of hypoglycemia. Your dog can therefore alert you to it long before you'd be able to detect it in any way other than by testing your blood. While you should test your blood on a regular basis, there's no guarantee that your regular schedule of blood testing would coincide with a random dip in blood sugar, so a dog is more effective at detecting it than most humans can be on their own.

Low blood sugar is a big deal and can be very dangerous. Get help from a doctor and talk to them about signing up for a service animal to give you the help you need. And for more information, contact a medical alert service dog training service.