It has been found that certain canine species can actually smell the scent of diabetes in patients. This fact may have several applications in the future.
Type 1 diabetes requires constant injections of insulin in order to keep blood sugar levels stable. A golden labrador dog belonging to one of the patients with this disease can easily detect and warn the owner regarding the fact that he or she is running too low on sugar.
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Low blood sugar is a warning sign that things are not alright and if such a condition undergoes prolongation, the patient could end up in quite a mess.
The labrador is a wonderful dog. It is not just as a companion that it serves the pet owner well, but it can easily detect any signs of low blood sugar. All risks of hypoglycaemia can be sniffed out by this faithful canine.
The dog will put up his paws on the shoulders of the owner in order to let him or her know regarding any emergency situation. Among the symptoms of hypoglycaemia are the jitters, confusion and dizziness as well as extreme tiredness.
The patient ought to be given some sugar to boost the will. Otherwise, seizures may occur and the patient may enter a comatose state.
In patients with diabetes, such states of hypoglycaemia can happen without any warning. The fact that dogs can show their owners when they are prone to hypoglycaemia, is a very good thing indeed. Certain chemicals in the breath may warn the dogs regarding low blood sugar levels.
The researchers lowered blood sugar levels in women in the study. Mass spectrometry was then used to find out the chemical signals. Levels of isoprene rose as hypoglycaemic conditions began to prevail in the patients.
In some of the patients the chemical rose to double its original concentration. Canines may be sensitive to this chemical in the breath. Isoprene is the most common of the chemicals found in exhaled human breath.
Yet we know very little about it at present. It seems to be derivated from cholesterol. What remains unknown is why it rises when people become hypoglycaemic. While humans are not cognizant of isoprene in their breath, dogs definitely are.
So the pet dogs of patients may warn them regarding the onset of low blood sugar levels. In the future, breath tests may be developed so as to accurately measure isoprene levels in the exhaled breath of hypoglycaemic patients.
The findings were published in the journal Diabetes Care.