A 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl with Type 1 diabetes died on Wednesday days after her blood sugar dropped at a sleepover. Sophia Daugherty's brain swelled due to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, while at a friend's house on Saturday.
Doctors tried to save the girl's life for several days but she was eventually declared dead at 3:44 PM on Wednesday as a result of the hypoglycemic attack that caused brain swelling and a herniated brain stem.
She passed away at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh hours after the Laurel Elementary School, where she attended school, hosted a a prayer vigil for her.
The fifth-grader was a member of the elementary softball team, basketball team, and Girl Scouts. With about 80 other students in her grade, everyone knew Sophia.
"She was a popular little girl," Laurel Superintendent Len Rich told WPXI. "The most commonly used adjective was sweet, sweet Sophia."
Sophia's family said that Sophia's organs will be donated.
Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes,is a condition that occurs when the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed so sugar can enter the cells and produce energy.
Type 1 is less common than type 2 diabetes, which is considered to be a lifestyle disease. Only five percent of diabetic people have type 1 diabetes. The disease often occurs in people under 20, but it can occur at any age. It is not clear what causes type 1 diabetes but doctors believe that genes play a role in the condition.
According to Mayo Clinic, complications may impact major organs in the body, which include nerves, blood vessels, heart, eyes and kidneys. About 20 percent to 30 percent of people with type 1 diabetes gets the condition known as nephropathy, which can lead to other serious problems such as heart disease and kidney failure.
No cure is currently available for the disease, and treatment merely focuses on managing blood sugar levels with diet, insulin and lifestyle to prevent complications.
Patients also need insulin injections to control their blood sugar, but parents need to watch for and treat hypoglycemia. Keeping the patient's blood glucose levels as close to the target as possible can help in preventing or delaying diabetes-related complications.
"Hypoglycemia can happen quickly and needs to be treated immediately. It's most often caused by too much insulin, waiting too long for a meal or snack, not eating enough, or getting extra physical activity," the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained.