Recovering from a low...

By AmyESmith Latest Reply 2009-09-30 15:51:04 -0500
Started 2009-09-11 10:46:54 -0500

I wanted to ask others: how long does it take you to fully recover from a low? I will get low, eat something to bring my sugars back up, but I feel like the entire rest of the day I am off. I feel weak and tired. And if I get low in the middle of the night my whole next day is a challenge. Is it normal to take a full 24 hours to get back on track?

22 replies

Melissa Dawn
Melissa Dawn 2009-09-28 21:38:40 -0500 Report

I don't experience my lows as severely as some seem to — most of the time within 30-45 minutes I'm doing alright. If its a severe enough low, it may take me awhile (couple of hours?) to feel completely steady again. Lows in the middle of the night are another story — but I always figured that's because it affected my actual ability to sleep.

timmer1950 2009-09-21 19:02:24 -0500 Report

After reading all your stories I find it interesting most of you deal with it at night. I'm still trying to learn how much Humalog I should take when my sugar is high. Last week I gave myself to much and the low hit me like a bomb. No warning ..nothing. The worst was I was driving . I managed to pull into a Walgreens staggered to the door sweating, shaking. and felt I could pass out at any minute. I have heard of diabetic coma but don't know at what point I would have gotten to that point. Luckily, the pharmacy knew exactly what was wrong before I said a word. Also, does anyone know what the long term effects of low blood sugar epasodes.??

Sheri S
Sheri S 2009-09-21 20:53:54 -0500 Report

I've been a diabetic for 41 years and unfortunately don't get the early warning symptoms of a low anymore. I have been told that if you are under 25 you should be unconscious. For me I find that soda with sugar is a really fast fix to bring my sugars up. One 12 oz can of sugar soda has approx 1/2 c of sugar! I drink it warm if needed and may not need the whole can/bottle depending on how low I am. If I don't have time to test because I'm dropping too fast I drink the whole can and treat the high if needed. May not be the best tx but if you have ever gotten to a point when you are unable to help yourself you will understand. I also bring a 20 oz bottle of soda in the car everywhere I go. You may want to check with your Dr about getting a glucagon kit just in case you have a repeat of your recent low and are not in a location where you can stop for help.


Crashnot 2009-09-28 06:49:40 -0500 Report

Too many lows will cause brain damage and a higher likely hood of dementia as you get older.

Sheri S
Sheri S 2009-09-28 20:15:22 -0500 Report

how low is low for brain damage to occur…I would think that your body would try to use other resources/reserves before it effects the brain?

Crashnot 2009-09-29 16:56:11 -0500 Report

I don't recall seeing a specific number or how long is has to be. Below the 60-range is usually the danger zone. The lower and longer, the worse. I think it's comparable to alcohol. The more you drink a day, the more damage it can do over time.

Vanessa Wysper
Vanessa Wysper 2009-09-30 10:37:42 -0500 Report

Make sure to keep glucose tablets around you all the time. Have them in your car, work, next to the bed. Each tab is 4g of carb. When bottoming out it can usually take 4 or five tabs to bring you up. The hardest part is waiting for sugar to normalize. Using other things like sodas and such can bring you up too quickly and possibly give you a migraine. It's like brain freeze. The sugar starved brain gets a sudden explosion of sugar and it can screw you up for the rest of the day.
Track symptoms. They can be VERY subtle. Mild headache, feeling just a little more impatient than you should, feeling just a little bit warmer than a minute ago. It's better to test if you're not sure.
There is no actual number that a person feels low or can go unconscious. Every diabetic is different A person whose sugars are consistently high could have hypo sypmtoms at 100. Those in better control may not have symptoms until 20!
Diabetic dementia is another, never mentioned symptom of poorly controlled sugars. Forgetting what you're saying in mid-sentence, can't find the right word, or remember a person's name… Dr.s don't tell you about this. It's not you, it's the diabetes.
It's so easy to make mistakes and over-treat the symptoms, which lead to highs and mess you up the rest of the day.
Try to stay away from any fast acting carbs, know how many carbs you are getting and figure out your carb:insulin ratio, i.e., 1u Humalog:6g of carb. It's different for everyone.
One thing I've learned in my years of being a type 1…treat the diabetes, not the symptoms!

Crashnot 2009-09-30 15:51:04 -0500 Report

Good response. After being diabetic for 42 years and experiencing many versions of lows, I've discovered that if my sugars are generally a little high, I can go lower than if my sugars have been running perfect or a bit below. I guess the liver supply of glucose gets run out if I am running low for several days. This usually happens if the weather is really hot and humid, which runs me low, or if I am doing a lot of really physical work. Combine physical work with hot weather and I'm guaranteed to need an ambulance! When that happens I'm at 20 or 30. But I can easily hit 20 or 30 on any other day, and I feel perfectly normal!

timmer1950 2009-09-20 07:06:28 -0500 Report

Amy, I can only speak for myself. I had 2 low sugar tmes last week. Like You, I feel like I've been beat up and feel exhausted the rest of the day. I keep reading to hopefully find a way to avoid this but no luck so far. The kicker is I have very little time when I realize I'm dropping till I ger the sweats and the shakes.
Good luck

Christine10 2009-09-16 16:01:52 -0500 Report

I'm not happy to hear all these stories. However, I am happy I'm not alone. Sometimes I thought it was all in my head that I felt so bad for so long after a low. If I have one at night, I do not function the next day. My doc told me it's better to be a little higher before bed so I don't drop during sleep time. When you have a low it effects so many parts of the body, including it makes your heart beat so much harder that it's like you've run miles. I feel like I was hit by a truck after a low. One person suggested you wake up different times during the night and test, excellent thing to do and it really helped me adjust my insulin.

MindyA 2009-09-16 18:25:35 -0500 Report

I have been a type 1 diabetic for 47 yrs and until recently suffered from extreme lows (27-30) almost daily. A new doctor and new regime have really helped. I use jelly beans when I drop low, 7-10 jelly beans will bring my blood sugar up almost immediately. Until I discovered them, I tended to overtreat low blood sugar and then would suffer a rebounding high and feel worse. Jelly beans are easy to eat at work without drawing a lot of attention.

Ms Kat
Ms Kat 2009-09-21 22:16:41 -0500 Report

I don't like hearing them either. I was just diagnosed last month as a T2. So working on bringing mine down. Averaging 155 until tonight it is 97. The Dr increased my Metformin to 1000 x 2 and upped my lantus to 26 units. I'm getting there.

Sally Thomas
Sally Thomas 2009-09-15 09:56:09 -0500 Report

For me, I often feel the effects from the low for the next 12-24 hours. Low in the middle of the night definately kicks my butt the next day!

Piper5 2009-09-14 15:48:44 -0500 Report

Hi. I used to have lows in early a.m., like 4-6:00 a.m. What I do now is eat a graham cracker w/peanut butter before I go to bed. I seem to never have low a.m. any more. My lows were like 27-43. I was out of sorts for about six hours after those. I just made sure I ate quick acting carbs or glucose and then follow up with something longer acting.

BLC 2009-09-11 22:21:18 -0500 Report

I actually posted this same question a couple of months ago because I was so concerned that it took me so long to recover from lows. If I have a low when I get up in the morning (which is when mine most often occur) it is pretty much all day before I feel myself again. I am exhausted for hours after a low and I feel depressed for a long time after I recover too.

AmyESmith 2009-09-13 19:21:23 -0500 Report

I'm sorry you take so long to recover! It's no fun. My lows occur most often overnight, so I wake up with the shakes. I feel like I'd almost rather keep my sugars on the high side to avoid a day of misery :/

Crashnot 2009-09-14 09:43:35 -0500 Report

My doctor tells me better a little high than a little low overnight. Too much damage can occur to your brain, and heaven knows I need what I have left! You might try setting your alarm for 3 or 4 AM a few nights to see where you're at, then you can adjust your overnight insulin to a safer level. And yes, getting over a low takes time, even after 40 years of them!

Sally 2009-09-11 12:01:35 -0500 Report

I tend to feel out of sorts for awhile. Usually after a nights sleep, I am pretty much back to normal. I feel drained and lack energy. I am sure we all respond differently to lows and highs, so do mention it to your dr, just to be sure.

hbkunkel 2009-09-11 11:57:58 -0500 Report

I understand the feeling and it only happens to me when I get really low. Most of the time it takes an hour or two before I better. Oh course, then I am higher in the AM so that also sometimes makes me tired. It is something to mention to your dr. and see what he says.

Harlen 2009-09-11 11:55:25 -0500 Report

For me some times its the next day befor I fraal right again.
And it depends on how low I let it get befor doing something for it
hope this helps
good luck

Next Discussion: Question »