Dead in Bed Syndrome: A Candle for Eilish and maybe an answer!

A 13-year old girl named Eilish, who had Type 1 diabetes, died sometime during the night. She seemed fine the night before, went to bed, and never woke up. While the exact details surrounding Eilish’s death are not known, her parents were reportedly diligent about her care. So what happened? Unfortunately, the family will likely receive few concrete answers. Situations like this are often referred to as ‘dead in bed syndrome,’ and its cause is not always known. However, it is responsible for approximately 6% of diabetes-related deaths in individuals age 40 or younger. The scariest part is that ‘dead in bed syndrome’ is not necessarily linked to poor blood sugar control, or extreme circumstances. In fact, in most cases the person appears to be perfectly fine the night before and goes to bed, but never wakes up. Researchers have hypothesized that ‘dead in bed syndrome’ may be the result of a heart arrhythmia resulting from a nighttime hypoglycemic event. Some researchers suggest that ‘dead in bed syndrome’ may be the result of hypo-unawareness, a condition where a person with diabetes no longer experiences the warning signs of low blood sugar levels. See the video below for a device that can alert someone who is asleep and experiencing hypo unawareness. Many people with diabetes will sweat excessively, get the ‘shakes’ or simply feel ‘off’ when their sugar is too low. Low sugars at night will often wake people with diabetes and they can consume some sugary drink or food to counteract the low. However, those with hypo-unawareness do not experience the same warning signs. People often get so caught up in the day-to-day management of the disease and lose sight of its sometimes dire consequences. Eilish’s story is a sad one and one that resonated very deeply with other parents who have children with Type 1 Diabetes and worry about thiug same thing happening to their child. Her death serves as a sobering reminder that Type 1 diabetes is a serious and deadly disease that is impacting a growing number of individuals and families all over the globe.

A Candle for Eilish

A Candle for Eilish