How low can you go?

Jeanette Terry
By Jeanette TerryPA Latest Reply 2014-12-11 13:43:26 -0600
Started 2014-12-06 16:18:17 -0600

I was talking with a friend recently about what types of lows experience. Her experiences seem a lot more dangerous than any of mine ever have. I have been fortunate not to have been so low that I needed assistance from anyone to bring my my blood sugar up. That is not to say that it wasn't really low, because I have experienced some pretty low lows but so far I have been able to get to some food in time to bring it up. My friend however has had several times that she has lost consciousness. So I am curious as to how low those of you here can get before getting into a precarious situation?

Now just to clarify, having a low blood sugar can always be potentially dangerous. Here is an article I recently wrote about low blood sugar and the kinds of activities that are the most
dangerous when blood sugar is low.

9 replies

Stuart1966 2014-12-08 21:20:53 -0600 Report

IS always not "can be"…

I was low before the machines to ever measure such things existed.

Been low enough the machine itself started laughing at me. Been low and measured Jules Verne Low eg far below what is considered dangerous, and then have measured numbers so low, that I knew they were dead wrong, and had no basis in actual fact. (Couldn't have stood, spoken, thought anything had I been that freakin low). The machine was dead wrong.

Low whatever the number reads is sufficient. No machine(s) around, and believe we are, treat first, if very lightly THEN if you must, THEN get "proof".

GabbyPA 2014-12-07 07:25:57 -0600 Report

I have not yet crossed that threshold. My lowest was 47 and while I felt crummy, I was still able to function enough to take care of myself. That was scary enough, I would not want to go much lower than that.

Michael_1960 2014-12-06 20:32:38 -0600 Report

I really never let it get that low except one time when I was first diagnosed it got low and a friend of mine ran into the house and made me a peanutbutter and jelly sandwich, which brought it back up pretty quick.

Richard157 2014-12-06 18:16:33 -0600 Report

Hi Jeanette, this is a good topic. I was diagnosed in 1945, when I was 6. There were no meters for my first 40 years. I took only one injection of pork insulin per day…before breakfast. The dosage was based on my urine test. That was a very unstable kind of control, but it was all we had back then, I had terrible highs and lows, which I could judge only by how I felt. The lows were almost always while I was sleeping. There were seizures, but my parents always brought me out of them. We were living in an isolated area and no ambulance was ever called. I suspect my lows were well below 20, but there was no way of measuring them. Sometimes my parents had to work with me a long time before I was conscious, and coherent. It is a wonder that my brain was not damaged. I eventually became a math professor in college, so I guess my brain is still okay. lol

After beginning basal/bolus insulins in the 1990s, counting carbs, and eventually using a pump, I have only a few lows and never any unconsciousness. I have not need assistance since I started pumping.

Jeanette Terry
Jeanette TerryPA 2014-12-11 13:43:26 -0600 Report

wow Richard it is amazing to see how far diabetes care has come. That must have been a scary childhood. Thank you so much for sharing!

Type1Lou 2014-12-06 17:42:47 -0600 Report

Prior to starting on my insulin pump in 2011, I had been experiencing more frequent and severe lows requiring trips to the ER. Most of the time, those readings were in the 20's. My husband became adept at noticing lows and at injecting glucagon to help me get back to safer BG levels. The last serious one occurred in 2010 while we were on vacation in Idaho on our way to visit Yellowstone. My husband was unable to wake me, injected glucagon but, also rushed me to the ER; I was conscious but barely able to walk and speak. After several hours in the ER, they admitted me to do more tests and be certain I hadn't suffered a stroke…I had had difficulty answering some of their questions (I knew the answers but couldn't make my mouth say the words). I was discharged the next day since my condition was "only" due to low BG. This event was what ultimately led me to change doctors and start pumping insulin. I haven't had any really serious low BG's requiring glucagon or trips to the ER since beginning on my pump. I still experience low BG's. I was 54 two hours after breakfast this morning, but I am able to feel it and treat it by not only eating but by suspending my basal insulin delivery. I love the pumping experience!

jayabee52 2014-12-06 17:21:19 -0600 Report

Howdy Jeanette
The lowest I have ever recorded was 40 mg/dl. I know that was not low by a lot of other standards and it happened so long ago I don't remember what alerted me to it.

However my fiancee' Valentine Lady has been having a series of lows within the past month she called "hypoglycemia hell" in a discussion she wrote on it. She said her BG level was 27 mg/dl at one episode and the staff at the nursing home had to shoot her with a glucagon pen and work with her for a while to get her conscious again. She had a couple of 36 mg/dl readings on nights around it. She had no idea that her BG level was getting that low.

She also had a 50 mg/dl reading, but that one was due (I believe) to the bullheadedness of a male nurse who injected insulin into her over her obejctions (but that is beyond the topic here). .

It is not easy being a Person with diabetes in a nursing home as one doesn't have much control over food nor medications given and when they are given.

Praying for improving health for us all

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