How To Deal With Insulin Overdose and Low Blood Glucose

By jigsaw Latest Reply 2014-03-12 13:36:34 -0500
Started 2014-03-09 09:21:55 -0500

A few members have had the experience of an insulin overdose. It can happen very easily, and to anyone that takes insulin. Even if you don't take insulin, you can experience a hypo, or very low blood glucose. It's a good idea to be as informed as possible, and know how to deal with a blood glucose low.

Here is a link that is both helpful and informative. Best to be safe then sorry!

39 replies

Fairlawngirl 2014-03-11 21:35:27 -0500 Report

I have dextrotabs and a glucometer on me pretty much all the time. And check sugars at least 4 times a day. Up to 6 or 7 times on a day with exercise and major highs and lows. Hang in there everyone.

Fairlawngirl 2014-03-11 21:33:39 -0500 Report

I just low (or high) no matter what. This PM, I ate my typical dinner, and was at 50 this PM. In the 30's the PM before. But then, was 300 once in the last few days. Stress level, emotions have a major impact! My pump placement has effects too. Some areas on my abdomen perform better than others. In light of the infusion of the insulin

jigsaw 2014-03-12 07:53:24 -0500 Report

It appears that your blood glucose is highly erratic! That would definitely concern me! Have you discussed it with your doctor?

I know it can be difficult at times to gain control of ones blood glucose, and more so for some then for others. On the other hand, I believe that most of us can gain control of our bg with determination, information, and proper medical care.

old biker
old biker 2014-03-10 09:52:27 -0500 Report

Good link jigsaw..I just had a talk with my HCP last week about the lows I have been experiencing lately.
I have been a T2 for 11 years and in the past when my BS got down in the 70's my body would warn me.
Two years ago I came off oral meds and went on a nightly shot of lantus insulin and 1000mg metformin twice daily. What I have noticed is that now when I go hypo there alot more severe and come on very fast. I always make sure my BS is above 90 before I take a shot and that was never a problem. In the last month when I test at night I had numbers in the 70's and 60's and still felt fine. I had to eat some glucose tabs and when my numbers got above 100 I would give my self a shot.
Last week I had a bad one. One minute I was fine and the next thing I knew I was in trouble. My BS level dropped to 35. I was one minute away from dialing 911. Very scary, I don't know how many glucose tabs I ate, but it was a bunch
I am now the proud owner of a glucagon emergency kit and I will not hesitate to use if i get below 50 again
With the results of my blood showing my A1c being 6.0 last week my HCP agreed with me it might be a time to cut back on my insulin dosage

jigsaw 2014-03-10 13:28:47 -0500 Report

It's good that your staying on top of the situation! I've only experienced one low that shook me up a bit. I described it below to valentine lady. It's definitely a bad feeling, and one to be avoided. Not to sound to extreme, but I knew two individuals that died in their sleep as a result of bg lows, and they slipped into diabetic coma's. You can't be to careful, especially when taking insulin.
It's good to hear from you, and it sounds like your doing well! Congratulations on your A1c.

old biker
old biker 2014-03-10 15:26:18 -0500 Report

Thanks jigsaw. Yeah I have been off the grid for awhile..I have done a lot of reading on hypoglycemia unawareness seems that 17% of insulin users go through this. It's when your body no longer warns you that your BS level is going low. One minute you feel fine and the next minute your BS is at an extremely low dangerous level with no warning..But I'm dealing with it and it keeps me on my toes

valentine lady
valentine lady 2014-03-09 20:24:17 -0500 Report

One time I took my BS and found it was over 500. So I looked on my sliding scale and administered the proper amount of insulin from my flexpen. Within what seemed to be just a few minutes my blood sugar dropped to 45. The last thing I remember is calling the EMTs. They told me I dropped to 22 by the time they got me to the hospital. To this day I don't know what went wrong. The Dr. said I O.D. myself, I don't see how, but I guess I did. It's that easy. Knowing what to do is what's important and having OJ, peanut butter and stuff like that on hand are important as well. My Dr. had me buy a tube of the cake frosting in a tube and keep where I can get to it quick. It's fast and works fast. It's pure sugar. I used to drop often but never to 22 before or since. Great topic, thanks for thinking of it.

camerashy 2014-03-10 16:14:41 -0500 Report

One night I was eating pancakes - yes, I said pancakes - for dinner, and in the middle of them started shaking and went blind. Scrambled to the refrigerator and sucked on a bottle of Hershey's syrup that I had there for a friend. On the way to the fridge, I auto-dialed my friend and said "I'm in big trouble." He was there in just a few and took my bg reading - it was 33. He freaked and got me some more of the syrup.

jigsaw 2014-03-11 16:12:07 -0500 Report

That must have frightened the daylights out of you! It's a good thing that you had someone available to help. I guess it's safe to assume that your vision loss was temporary?

valentine lady
valentine lady 2014-03-11 09:43:42 -0500 Report

camerashy. HI: I admit I have eaten pancakes before but with sugar free syrup. I only eat them on rare occasion though and I couldn't keep Hershey's syrup anywhere in my house, I'd be into it. I'm a strong woman, but I do have some limits LOL…I'm sorry you dropped so low on syrup no less, but atleast you had someone to help you. Take care of yourself and maybe try a better diabetic diet. Also keep supplies on hand just in case you drop again.

camerashy 2014-03-11 19:27:00 -0500 Report

I learned a lesson that day. I was using sugar-free pancake syrup. I have only have pancakes twice since then, but have no idea why it dropped so. My doctor said "it's the nature of the disease". I have a new doctor since then, and my control is a whole lot better.

valentine lady
valentine lady 2014-03-11 19:48:39 -0500 Report

It might be "the nature of the disease" but it sure don't feel like that when it's happening, or should I say that;s the last thing we think about when we're dropping.
Glad you changed Dr.'s. A big hug to you…

jigsaw 2014-03-09 22:00:30 -0500 Report

That does seem unusual. Did you wash your hands before testing? Are you sure your meter, or strips didn't malfunction? Any of these mentioned, could cause an inaccurate reading. 500 is so high, you must have felt some symptoms.
I had an experience where I suspect that I took my routine dose, and forgot. As a result I double dosed, and my bg dropped like a rock down to 45. I ate crackers, peanut butter, and a hard candy, and eventually got my bg back to normal. Very scary feeling, but luckily I never lost conciousness. I have taken measures to make sure tha it doesn't happen again.

valentine lady
valentine lady 2014-03-10 09:44:14 -0500 Report

I didn't have the normal symptoms that one gets when your blood sugar gets that high. It was a routine BG testing that I take on time each and every stick. I always wash my hands then swab the finger with an alcohol pad. But, I didn't think my meter may have malfunctioned or possibly the strip had malfunctioned. I did, however, know as I dropped. I just didn't think I would drop so low so quick…once it started happening, nothing would stop it. It slowed down some what, but still dropped. Upon reading your response to me I did go ahead and checked my meter. It came out correct. I honestly don't know what went wrong. Thanks for replying to me. Those are good tips or everyone, especially to the new diabetics.

robertoj 2014-03-09 13:49:29 -0500 Report

I have had lows a few times. Only one time was serious. It happened as I slept. My wife was out of town and I was alone except for my cats. They jumped on me which they never do. I got up too feed them. I felt awful and tested my BG. It was super low.I drank some OJ, ate breakfast and went back to sleep with the cats watching over me.

Chairmaker 2014-03-10 10:36:07 -0500 Report

It is amazing at how a lot of pets can tell something is about to happen to you even before you can sense it?

jigsaw 2014-03-10 12:44:06 -0500 Report

That's very true! If not for our dog, I might have been a bachelor by today. As it is, I'm a happily married man, with a feisty wife!

camerashy 2014-03-09 18:34:53 -0500 Report

I've got a dog like that. He not only gets concerned about lows, but highs, too. Any time it gets over 200 he goes nuts.

jigsaw 2014-03-09 21:50:03 -0500 Report

That's a great dog to have around. Is he trained, or is it strictly instinct?

camerashy 2014-03-10 09:27:17 -0500 Report

Strictly instinct. I had him registered as a service dog, and last week while we were in the grocery store he indicated (by standing in front of my legs so I couldn't walk) that I should check my sugar. It wasn't low yet, but it was falling fast. It was 152 when we left home, and at that time (15 min. later) it was 105. Good dog!

camerashy 2014-03-10 16:28:25 -0500 Report

a 100-pound German Shepard is sort of hard to handle. I have 3, and he's the only one with that sense.

jigsaw 2014-03-09 15:12:57 -0500 Report

Animals can be especially amazing when it comes to these types of circumstances. My dog saved my wifes life by frantically clawing at her abdomen while she was asleep. My wife woke up, and couldn't speak properly. Turned out she was having a potentially devastating stroke. I realized what was happening and got her to the hospital immediately! If not for the dog, she may have never awakened. As it is, 14 years later, my wife is doing well, and the dog is almost 16 years old.

Good thing you had the cats, and glad you pulled through that episode ok.
It appears you made the right decision with orange juice and breakfast.

Type1Lou 2014-03-09 11:29:39 -0500 Report

Great link! Thanks! Prior to pumping, I was experiencing many serious low BG's. One happened while in a restaurant, waiting for service. My physician cousin who was with me, mixed regular sugar packets in the glass of water and made me drink it. We keep a glucagon kit handy and always travel with one, just in case. If you do get an RX for glucagon, make sure to get a new one after it passes its expiration date…it does lose its potency and effectiveness. Since beginning pumping in 2011, I haven't experienced any more really severe lows. Like Chairmaker, many of my prior lows were due to improper dosing of insulin which had been recommended by my PCP. After a particularly harrowing low BG episode, I decided to seek out an endo and the endo reduced my Lantus dosage by 25% and re-educated me about meal-time boluses and sliding scales. It was a lifesaver for me.

jigsaw 2014-03-09 12:40:21 -0500 Report

More great info that includes excellent advice to take heed to!
Lows can be so dangerous and destructive to ones health. It's not worth taking chances, especially when there is information that can cut down and even eliminate the hypo experience.

I'm glad you found some helpful answers! I'm sure your experience wil be a positive influence to others.

ICDA250 2014-03-09 10:14:22 -0500 Report

Great link and thanks for sharing. The other day while shopping I had walked around a lot and then became hypoglycemic… but even after drinking a regular coke I still was woozy. I used to use the glucose tabs and need to buy some more and keep them in the car and in the house. Around 20 years ago I became hypoglycemic and was arrested for erratic driving. Fortunately the urine tests they imposed upon me in the jail proved it was low blood sugar and not drugs!!!! However, The jail episode almost killed me.

jigsaw 2014-03-09 12:30:03 -0500 Report

Your circumstances were an amazing experience and worthwhile warning for others!
There was a video on the news not to far back that involved some similar circumstances. A woman was driving erratically, and consequently pulled over by the police. They noticed that she was acting strange, and thought she was drunk. They treated her roughly, and threw her to the ground. She was bruised and scratched up after the incident. Turned out that she was having a low blood glucose reaction, and could have died. Fortunately everything turned out ok in the end, and the police are now more aware, and are being trained for these type of situations.

I think that sharing your experience will definitely impact others in a positive way. Glad it turned out ok for you!

Chairmaker 2014-03-09 10:32:49 -0500 Report

Back then, when I was in Law Enforcement, LEO's were not properly trained for detecting diabetics and what to look for when they had an episode such as yours. Thankfully, today's training does cover what to look for when making a stop for a possible DWI, only to find out a person is having a low blood sugar reaction.

It is also a good idea to have a medical alert bracelet or necklace just in case you are unable to respond to the person who comes into contact with you at the time. I have a set of Military style dog-tags that I ordered off of e-Bay and they list my medical info in case I am unable to respond to someone asking questions. One is attached to my key ring and the other is attached to my leather jacket when I am riding my motorcycle.

Chairmaker 2014-03-09 10:10:04 -0500 Report

When I was recently admitted to the hospital last month due to falling on ice and breaking my hip and pelvis bones, the doctors were some what surprised to find out how much Insulin my diabetic doctor had me taking.

During my hospital stay, not only did they lower my Insulin intake of Levimer, 60mg in the morning and 40 mg at bed time, they switched my Humolog Insulin I was taking according to a sliding scale, depending on how high or low my blood sugars were before a meal. Even when my blood sugars happen to be in what would be considered a normal range, I was still taking a large does of the Humolog according to the range of the reading at the time. Humalin-R is what they have me now taking. They also changed the dosage I am to take according to the new range of levels.

I really believe that was causing my lows and the spiking of my blood sugar levels because since getting out of the hospital 2 weeks ago, my blood sugars are in a normal range now. The new sliding scale adjustment levels they have me take my Humalin-R for now is really helping since I now feel better and not tired and or shaky. Not to mention, with the new range levels of having to take the Humalin-R, I have only had to inject 5 mg's of the Humalin-R twice since my blood sugar levels was over the new adjusted levels. Hope that made some sense !

I have also learn to eat the right foods and most importantly, the amount of my food portions I eat. I weighed in at 335 pounds going into the hospital and have since lost approx. 40 pounds now that I am home.

valentine lady
valentine lady 2014-03-11 10:22:17 -0500 Report

HI, chairmaker; I'm so sorry about your accident and hope your healing with little to no pain. I used to go to a Dr. who flat refused to give me a referral to an Endocrynologist. I changed Dr.'s and got my referral.
Some Dr"s just aren't worth their weight in salt. There's times you just have to make a change. Sounds like you've reached that point. CONGRADULATIONS on the weight loss. Keep up the good work.

jigsaw 2014-03-09 12:53:35 -0500 Report

I hope you have healed well since your fall. That really sounded like a painful experience!

My experience with doctors, has been two fold. I found that not all doctors that I saw, were well informed about diabetes. Others were excellent in offering advice and help in managing my blood glucose.

your experience is another excellent example for others to take heed to! Thanks for sharing!