When Blood Glucose takes a Dive

By SCLWKR Latest Reply 2011-12-23 13:01:10 -0600
Started 2011-12-05 17:21:22 -0600

Hello everyone. This is such a knowledgable group and I would like to draw on all of our experience to develop suggestions for the kinds of food to have when one experiences a sudden dip in blood glucose. I sometimes have a big dip in the early afternoon following lunch (BG- falls to 44-70 from 130). When I return to work in 4 weeks I will resume my very hectic, stressful schedule (social worker). I am planning now for those times when my BG dips and I have to get it back up quickly and easily as I may be in the office, in meetings, in the field (homes, schools, hospitals). I am thinking about keeping juice boxes (apple)and small boxes of raisins. What do you, my smart DC Pals do when faced with this challenge? Best regards, and "Keep on Keeping on!" Sherrie

52 replies

Young1s 2011-12-23 10:21:30 -0600 Report

Just the other day, my doctor told me about the slow effects the fat in chocolate has on glucose levels, as Type1Lou was explaining below. Your better off having a couple of pieces of hard candy or the tablets. The tube of icing is real appealing…don't get me started. But if I was to ever need my sugar to go up quickly, apple would do it for me. I had to stop drinking it completely because it gives me dangerous highs.

SCLWKR 2011-12-23 12:27:58 -0600 Report

I agree with you that I do not drink apple or orange juice. I have a few jelly beans (that I keep on hand in the house, my purse, and in the car). Just a small baggie with about 8 jelly beans. I also tuck a baggie in my pocket when I exercise. I am not tempted to eat them as I only think of them as emergency medication (!) when I get to feeling super low. My lows have really tapered off since my doc adjusted my meds, and like MarkS says, I try to head them off by eating on time rather than waiting till I get low then eating.

Young1s 2011-12-23 13:01:10 -0600 Report

Glad to here you aren't getting as many lows nowadays. I wish you much success with going back to work. You're a lucky one, so be happy for yourself. I'm happy for you. And good luck on keeping with the eating schedule. Be blessed.

MarkS 2011-12-08 23:44:49 -0600 Report

I try to head off getting those low-lows by eating Swedish Fish candy; believe it or not but I've found that the rubbery types of candies help me! Go figure!

Fyremarshal 2011-12-22 19:35:20 -0600 Report

Hmmm..?? Gonna go out and get some..:-) When your blood sugar is low and you're shaky (when I was an EMT, we called it a rough idle..lol) you want immediate results. Anybody who has ever had an old Plymouth or Pontiac knows what a rough idle is..lol

SCLWKR 2011-12-22 21:18:41 -0600 Report

Hahaha! That's a good analogy! Rumble, rumble, rumble! :)
P.S. I carry small baggies of jelly beans in my purse and in the car in the event I go low and need a quick lift.

kdroberts 2011-12-07 20:53:33 -0600 Report

Are you taking any medication or insulin? It's certainly far better to be proactive rather than reactive so eliminating or minimizing the cause is a much better than treating the outcome.

In general though, when treating low blood sugar glucose is by far the best thing to use. It doesn't need much breaking down before it hits your blood stream so will start to hit it within a few minutes. Anything with fat or protein should be avoided as they will take longer to hit your blood stream. Other types of sugar like fructose in fruit juice will take longer to breakdown than glucose will so won't have quite as an immediate affect. At 60-70 you could eat something with fat and protein as you don't really need to immediately raise your blood sugar. When you are in the 40's you need something fast acting.

jigsaw 2011-12-22 18:42:25 -0600 Report

I agree with kd completely! I will add that frequent lows especially in the 40s can have some very serious long term effects.

SCLWKR 2011-12-07 21:32:00 -0600 Report

My doc adjusted my meds and now I am not experiencing the dips as often. I am anticipating any problems I may have when I return to my very stressful job and not having the control over my schedule that I have now (I'm off work for 2 months handling this, Yippee!). Thank you for your very insightful suggestions. Best regards, Sherrie

Fyremarshal 2011-12-22 19:37:07 -0600 Report

Gotta watch that stress, Sherrie.. Just driving in L.A. traffic would send mine up from 97 to 159..!

SCLWKR 2011-12-22 21:20:18 -0600 Report

Oh, yeah! The 710 near San Pedro and Long Beach used to get my pulse going! All those trucks and the raggedy freeway.

kdroberts 2011-12-07 21:45:39 -0600 Report

If you are under stress then chances are you will be dealing with more high blood sugar than low.

SCLWKR 2011-12-07 21:56:41 -0600 Report

"Stress" is my job's middle name!! I'm a child protective services social worker for a large California county.

SCLWKR 2011-12-08 00:11:25 -0600 Report

Been doing it for 14 years. Seven of those years in Los Angeles County. Boy, you see it all there.

Fyremarshal 2011-12-22 19:42:32 -0600 Report

Wonder if we ever crossed paths..lol. I did inspections for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) about that long ago. I inspected Skilled Nursing Facilities, ICF-DDH, Intermediate Care Facilities, and did some stuff for JCAHO. I was also the Fire Chief at the State Hospital in Norwalk..:-)

SCLWKR 2011-12-22 21:25:32 -0600 Report

I know the hospital. I had a client I was trying to get placed there. Trippy place. I worked at the Lakewood office from 1997 to 2005. Compton, Wilmington, Watts, Carson, South Central, Lakewood, Imperial Gardens, North Long Beach. Did child protective services. Whew!

lifedriver 2011-12-07 18:07:55 -0600 Report

Yes Sherrie, I use to experience LOWS and orange juice, grape or apple juice does the trick with quick results. Carry some hard candy (HIGH IN SUGAR) around with you so you can maintain your BS at levels that are more on the normal levels when you experience lows …GOOD LUCK…live

SCLWKR 2011-12-07 18:38:29 -0600 Report

Thank you Charles. Very good suggestions. How are ya?

lifedriver 2011-12-08 00:32:37 -0600 Report

I am doing better thank you. Hope you are better. I see you do have a sence of humor, like that made me laugh Have a good one Sherrie

SCLWKR 2011-12-08 12:46:15 -0600 Report

Hello Charles, oh, yes, humor is my strong point. I can find humor in most any situation. My alert to being depressed or burned out is when, as I say, "I can't see the funny." Keep on keeping on, Babe! Sherrie

Type1Lou 2011-12-07 13:09:20 -0600 Report

Dear Sherrie, The apple juice and raisins are good. They are both fast-acting carbs and that's what you need to get the BG back up. Also, they are not totally empty calories like a can of regular Coke. Eating things like candy bars, granola bars or cookies and cakes are not so good because the fat in them impede the glucose absorption…it'll go up eventually but just not as fast as with a fast-acting carb. Glucose tablets and glucose gels are also good (but I hate the taste…probably a good thing because I'm not tempted to gobble them when I don't have the need.) I always carry some in my purse. In a pinch, canned frosting or frosting in the tubes will also do the trick or just stirring/dissolving sugar packets in water. Low BG's are a bummer and I tend to overtreat them resulting in a high rebound. I've dealt with lows all the way down to 29 and that is truly scary. I'm having fewer now with my insulin pump. Wishing you fewer lows overall! Hugs,

SCLWKR 2011-12-07 13:20:59 -0600 Report

Hello Lou~ Thank you for your insight. I didn't know the fact that the fat in food is a barrier to glucose absorbtion. I must have been talking to my neighbor at the diabetes class when they covered that. LOL. My mouth waters when I think of a can of icing!! One on my pre-compliance favorites. But the whole can. I, like you, tend to overtreat as well and get a high reading. I think I use the low BG as a reason to have a very sweet treat. My doc adjusted my meds last week and I am already seeing a leveling off and fewer lows in the afternoon, unless I eat lunch too late, which is a concern when I return to work. Thank you again, and I have seen your beautiful quilts! I wish I had the talent to create something so marvelous. Best regards, Sherrie

Type1Lou 2011-12-07 13:30:43 -0600 Report

Thank you for your kind words. I'm fortunate to have a great group of sewing friends and we get together several times a month to work on projects. I'm working on my quilt guild challenge now which is due in mid-January…so far, pretty happy with the results! It keeps me sane and busy and I forget about food when I'm in my sewing room!

SCLWKR 2011-12-07 13:38:58 -0600 Report

My Mom, age 86, used to make beautiful afgans and found that they kept her from killing my dad (Haha) who was (and still is, at age 88) a pill. They are beautiful works of art and I treasure the many I have in my home. Additionally, I am a children's social worker in child protective services, and my sweet Mom used to make smaller afgans for me to give to the children on my caseload who were in foster care. I look forward to seeing mor of your art on your profile page. Keep on posting! Hugs, Sherrie

Type1Lou 2011-12-08 17:18:28 -0600 Report

Dear Sherrie, I learned my sewing skills (and knitting and crocheting) from my Mom who died 5 years ago at nearly 98 years of age. I was blessed to have her in my life that long; she was the hardest working, most tolerant, loving person I think I will ever know. My quilt guild makes and donates "Cruiser Quilts" to the county sheriff's department twice a year. We make from 70 to 80 for each donation. They carry them in their cruisers and give them out as needed…many to children who have been removed from very poor and unhealthy environments (e.g. parents arrested for drugs) or to people who have lost their homes to fire or who have been in an accident. Unfortunately, in these tough economic times, there are more and more people who need the bare necessities. I'm sure you see it in your line of work. Bless you and thanks for the encouragement!

SCLWKR 2011-12-08 17:31:06 -0600 Report

Lou, thank you for sharing your sotry. Arn't we lucky to have been blessed with great mothers? And what a wonderful you and your sewing sisters do for the community!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2011-12-06 18:22:11 -0600 Report

I rarely have lows, I carry a tube of icing or real hard candy. I once made the mistake of drinking an ounce of Orange Juice. That raised my B/S too fast. I also keep the tiny snack size candy bars in my freezer year round just in case. I am allergic to nuts and fruits with pits do I can't do raisins. You can also grab a small bag of chips, drink a half can of real soda, eat a a couple cookies or use juice. The juice boxes are a good idea also. You can also buy a small container or ask a friend with a baby for an empty baby food container with a lid and put peanut butter in it and carry it with a spoon.

berrykins0 2011-12-06 08:12:44 -0600 Report

i never have lows but i do have snacks planned between meals seems to help prevent this from happening. i usally use dried fruits that have no sugar added to them cheese sticks,meat sticks, nuts mixed with them ,crackers,rice cakes,bagel chips snack size,apples,grapes,theres different kinds of bars on the market besides glucerna ones too. i thought i give you other options snacks besides carbs if you needed any other ones to. i like gluerna bars for breakfast, cause there expensive to eat often.

valentine lady
valentine lady 2011-12-05 19:13:47 -0600 Report

SCLWKR (Sherrie); Boy did I fall into your thread by accident but this is one subject that I am a pro on. When I first joined DC it was my first question, what do I do when my BG drops? I had some wonderful answers and I know from trial and error. First of all carry nuts, almonds are the best, if you like them. Those Glucerna Bars are great but won't bring your BG back up quick. Let's face it you drop low…just like me. Carry peanutbutter with you too and a plastic spoon. Just get a small container and it works well in your purse. You need atleast 4 Tbsp. Last but certinately not least is orange juice and sugar packets. Apple juice isn't that good for you, to bring up your BG quick, that is. You pour the sugar packets into the juice shake it up and down it. I've passed out many a time at 44. I know, and the best advice of all, get yourself a medical alert bracelet. If you don't have one already let me know. I would love to pass some wonderful information on to you that I got from a friend. Have your best interest at heart…Valentine Lady…hope this doesn't sound to pushy, I just know…

SCLWKR 2011-12-05 19:41:03 -0600 Report

OMG, not pushy at all!! I have been at 44 once but at home and preparing a booster. I would appreciate any info on nice Med I.D bracelettes. I am kind of fussy about my outfits, purses and accessories and I have been looking online, but haven't found anything that I would like wearing with my wardrobe. So any suggestions would be helpful. Hugs, Sherrie

valentine lady
valentine lady 2011-12-06 19:49:03 -0600 Report

Sherrie: The bracelet I ordered comes in several colors. You can buy them at some Walgreens, but they don't have the colors. The link is: http://medicalhistorybracelet.com it's called a flash drive bracelet. Well worth the money. Another lady with your frame of mind went to Kay's Jewelry Store and bought a real bracelet type. Very small and very stylish. That's another option. Just get one for your own sake…Hugs…Valentine Lady

jayabee52 2011-12-06 20:32:34 -0600 Report


I have one of those USB flash drive bracelets that I have ordered from the website Peggy shared with you. I have worn it 24/7 since I got it in June 2011.

Mine is grey with a logo/symbol in red for EMTs to identify it as something that is for them.

I understand the need to feel accessorized and stylish, but for me it is MORE important to be utilitarian. If it is too stylish it may be easily overlooked by EMTs as just another piece of fancy jewelery when they're looking for information about the patient. That is why I prefer the grey / red. It doen't unnecessarily clash with most of what I wear, but it is something which is easily identified as something which has information the first responders need.

You may not need it ( I haven't really needed mine —- yet —-) but having something like this may well be extremely useful if there is a need. And if you don't have a problem with lows, you never know when there's a mishap which renders you unable to respond. That's why I got mine. I was going out of my area, flying to my boyhood home. If I had collapsed on the way there, I would be alone. No one would know anything about me. This way the first responders would have my diagnoses, my medications, my contact information, most everything that would be needed in case of an emergency with me.

It does need to be updated when things change with me, but that is relatively simple to do.



Mickey/CCHT 2011-12-05 18:16:24 -0600 Report

Hello friend! I wish I could help you with this one. I've yet to have my drop low, I usually go the other way! YIKES

But I did discover something that helped fill me up and steady my numbers. It is the Glucerna Hunger Bars! I did not have time for a lunch right when I needed it, so I ate one of those in between patients coming off and I tell you what, it worked good! Filled me up, and steadied my bs! Did not spike me at all and kept me going for the next hour and a half til I could get my break in.

So I know that's not what your post was, but when you said your job is hectic and you run around, it made me think of those. Just a thought!
Good luck friend!
Love, Mickey

SCLWKR 2011-12-05 18:20:56 -0600 Report

Mickey, you are right, I will try the bars. I am always open to things I can keep in my purse or at my desk that I can eat quickly if I am on the run. How is the falvor?

Mickey/CCHT 2011-12-05 18:25:13 -0600 Report

I bought the peanut butter one and was surprised that they were not bad at all! Good flavor and texture. If you try them, you will have to let me know what you think!!

jayabee52 2011-12-05 19:04:39 -0600 Report

one thing to know, however, is those bars are NOT intended to bring you up fast, so if one is a LITTLE low they may be OK. but if seriously low go the quick acting carb route and then add the bar after the BG starts to come up.

Mickey/CCHT 2011-12-07 20:34:55 -0600 Report

Was just making a suggestion as to something she could take around with her if she needs something to tide her over. As I said, I've not had my #'s drop, mine like to go in the other direction!!!

Mickey/CCHT 2011-12-09 22:08:33 -0600 Report

No problem here. I hope I didn't come off snotty! When I just re-read the last post I made on this, I thought it kind-of sounded that way.
Well, I didn't mean it, and I hope you didn't take it that way! Friends?

jayabee52 2011-12-05 17:51:32 -0600 Report

Howdy Sherrie.
From a man who had married a social worker (LCSW) for about 28 months ("Jem" passed on June 23 2010) I have a lot of respect for what you (and they) do.

Yes those little juice boxes ARE a good idea. They're not a lot of carbs, and they are quick acting. But you might want to consider eating something with protein a few minutes after the juice box. You don't want to spike and then crash again. The protein lowers the spike and then smoothes it out giving you longer lasting BG levels. Peanut butter crackers can be purchased or made ahead of time, and eaten easily without a lot of bother. If someone gives you a puzzled look you may explain briefly that it is needed to help you through a metabolic condition (or some such explanation) You may also wish to dp a preemptory explanation. You may also then in 15 min after you took your juice box, test your BG levels to see what effect your little snack has had. (Oh and the small raisin boxes are good too.)

But it would be better to avoid the need to do that altogether. When you eat your lunch you might wish to somehow increase your intake of protein, as protein takes a long time to digest and turn into carbs slowly. That would tend to keep your BG levels steadier and less prone to drop precipiteously.

I pray that you can get this solved for yourself before you go back to work.

Kindest regards


SCLWKR 2011-12-05 18:01:08 -0600 Report

Thank you James, for your kind words (about social workers) and your insightful suggestions. I agree that the best solution is to aviod the dips. My Doc just adjusted my meds and I am noticing a lessening of the dips. You are very smart and your suggestion to follow the carb with a protein is brilliant. Of course, this makes perfect sense and I love the idea of peanut butter crackers. Peanut butter is my go to protein in a pinch and the crackers and P-butter is very portable and can be tucked in my purse while I'm out and about. Best regards, and as is my motto "Keep on Keeping on!" Sherrie