Low blood sugar with no warning signs

Debbie Keen
By Debbie Keen Latest Reply 2009-12-21 23:39:34 -0600
Started 2009-11-21 23:19:15 -0600

What can a person do when you don't get warning signs until blood sugar is below 40?

42 replies

Deb-G 2009-12-21 19:01:33 -0600 Report

My first sign is very occasionally a Grand Mal seizure…dont take those lows lightly…protect your brain :)

Re-arrange what ever you have to whether its food/meds/equip to limit them…

Thankfully most of the time I have time to react…but if the right factors are involved…not good at all…

Be well everyone :)

Pat Roth
Pat Roth 2009-12-21 23:39:34 -0600 Report

I didn't have trouble with lows while I was on Metformin—it stayed above 120 or so—-then after my kidney removal, they tried Glipizide and it DROPPED me like a rock!!! The first time I felt so weak and sweaty, just checked my BS as I had no idea what was happening——it was 41—I about croaked—-it happened a few more times even when I cut the pill in half or fourths—-TOO FAST and TOO MUCH of a drop—-was going to report it to my Dr but on my own I still check several times a day, have NOT taken any for a week or so, checks today were 102- 139, and I had some peanut brittle! I still eat peanut butter here and there—just to play it safe, my fasting was 114 this morn! So I don't fear a low during the night——in fact I think that I can quit my med, but will check with my Dr in Jan and still try to adhere to a balanced diet——am used to it now—-still going to the Wellness Center too. PR

BLC 2009-12-21 16:37:34 -0600 Report

I had that problem a while back. I made sure to keep my sugar above 120 for about 3 months. Sometimes I let it get to high though because I was not controlling it as tightly as I should have but I was so terrified of the lows. Anyway now I can feel the low coming on again. I don't know if it was because I let my sugars run a little high or if it was because it was because I went a while without a low or just sheer luck…anyway that's my experience, Best of Luck

Dougb7 2009-12-21 15:53:00 -0600 Report

I have the same problem that I can't tell when My sugar drops. I used to be able to but not any more. What I an using is a sensor from Medtronics along with a medtronic pump. The sensor measures my blood sugar every 5 min. Than it tells my pump through bluetooth and my pump is set up that if my sugar drops below 90 the pump will signal me every 20 min to let me know. I can set the time myself but I set it to 20 min. Also if my sugar goes to high I set it at 200 it will signal me every 1 hour to let me know. This has worked out for me very well since I can't feel my sugar levels anymore. You still have to prick your fingers to keep the sensor calibrated but it's a lot better. Has kept me out of reactions since I live by myself.

Pat Roth
Pat Roth 2009-12-20 17:48:33 -0600 Report

A comment on the fighting help when in a low, at the hospital, it was common for someone dying to FIGHT, be very restless—-fighting dying, but not really knowing the why—it was just human instinct of survival.

When they were "out" we started a GLucose drip, then orange juice with sugar, then crackers and cheese/ peanut butter. We worked the night shift and ALWAYS made sure that we had these things handy!!! It was on our check list for the frig and snack cabinet every day!

When I experienced a few lows, in the 40's I SWEAT, got WEAK, and I just kNEW, but mostly I stay at least at 110 and up, but doing better. Good Luck! Pat R

Florian 2009-12-14 20:53:12 -0600 Report

Back in the 80's after I got my first Glucometer,I started to experiment with intensive care and MDI using NPH and Regular insulin. I got a full blown introduction to HYPOGLYCEMIA when both insulins peaked at the same time and my blood sugar went down quickly. I had the fix it yourself kind and the call 911 kind of HYPOS. From that time on I have made sure that I ALWAYS have with me fast acting glucose tablets, liquid, or gel and an ID that says that I have diabetes. Today I have hypoglycemia unawareness and my only symptom of low blood sugar is a tired feeling so when I feel tired I take a glucose tablet and TEST and I am usually in the 40's to 50's
range. When I started using a pump the first benefit I noticed is that my lows were higher and fewer and my highs were lower and fewer.
My next device will be a CGM and with Hypo Unawareness and 42 years of experience practicing Type 1 management and blood glucose control I am a perfect candidate for continuous glucose monitoring according to my health insurance company.

judy makowski
judy makowski 2009-12-13 12:26:25 -0600 Report

Hi, I'm sorry to hear you are having problems with low sugar. I do to at times. This may be strange but sometimes I get this spurt of energy and go like a mad woman for a few minutes. Then the feelings start with my eyes and getting foggy in the brain if you now what I mean.

I Have always been told to eat something with sugar or juice etc but it must be followed by a protein or my sugar will drop again. I carry peanutbutter or cheese crackers (like nabs) with me to cover the protein end of it.

I was also told not to go to bed until I had eaten both a carb and protein because bs could drop so low it could cause death if not caught in time. Hope this helped a little.

Good luck

nece 2009-12-13 11:06:31 -0600 Report

I have been a type 1 diabetic for 40 yrs. My sugar drops in the night usually after being more active in the afternoon and evening hours. ON days when i am more active I take less insulin and usually eat about the same amount of food. I have found the quickest way to raise a low bs during the night is a half a can of reg pepsi and a few pieces of bottlecap candy and then about 15 min later I eat a piece of cheese. This holds me steady till morning. I also have a blacklab dog who sleeps next to me and when my sugar is dropping she pokes me with her nose and whines until I wake up enough to eat and drink something. I also keep a soda and my bloodtest meter on my headboard at night for easy access.

Deb-G 2009-12-12 19:31:29 -0600 Report

Someone mentioned napping when they feel hypoglycemic…this isn't a good idea…its a better idea to treat it…and not with straight sugar (OJ, soda, etc)..sure those items raise your blood sugar quickly if you are feeling symptoms…but..you must must must follow that up with a protein snack to balance out the quick carb you just took for the quick fix…otherwise you spike and come right back down…

Low blood sugar is nothing to sneeze at..its very serious…any significant lows are doing damage to your brain…you just cant afford them long term and this is when eating small amounts often becomes something we all must learn to do…You want your carbs to always be balanced with proteins…even if you are sneaking in something you know is a bad carb…we all cheat a bit…but follow that up with a good protein to prevent spikes and valleys…its just offsetting with protein…protein slows the digestion of the carb to avoid a quick spike which can later mean a dive down…

I know its all a pain in the bum…but it saves your brain :) xox

Elrond 2009-12-12 19:50:46 -0600 Report

Deb is absolutely correct. It's something most of us tend to forget. Our cells need a certain amount of sugar to function; it's their necessary food. Insulin allows the sugar into the cells. When the cells don't get the proper amount of sugar, either because we didn't eat enough or we took too much insulin and used up the available glucose, the cells begin to starve. The most sensitive cells are the nerve cells, particurlary brain cells. And brain cells don't regenerate. If you kill them, you don't get them back. Caring for diabetes is a delicate balance.

Anonymous 2009-12-13 02:48:15 -0600 Report

hi iam diabetic and two months ago my husband was tested and found out he is diabetic but his levels are to hi every time he test reads 370 o 429 and sometimes when he drives he tell's me that he can't see and some times he is shaky when he walk,and he forgets thing what can i do or give him beside the metformin

Deb-G 2009-12-13 09:13:02 -0600 Report

With reading that high consistantly he really needs to see his doctor to decide on what medications/how much insulin are needed…He should monitor more often and really watch what he is eating…First step honestly is seeing the doctor for prescription meds…I dont think Metformin alone is what he needs if he's always that high…but you need a doctors guidance to get what is appropriate :) Hope he makes out well

Scooter8209 2009-12-12 16:31:14 -0600 Report

The same thing happens to me and the only way to really beat it is really frequent blood sugar checks. I test 8-10 times a day adn to make sure you have your regular meals and also planned snacks with protein as well as carbohydrates. The protein will keep your blood sugar up. Talk to your doctor, you may qualify for a continuous glucose moniter which will alarm when you start to go down. You are not alone in this.

Elrond 2009-12-12 15:08:14 -0600 Report

Perhaps it's unique to me but my first warning is a ringing in my ears. The next time your sugar gets low, check to see if your ears are ringing. It's been a very reliable indicator for me ever since I started on insulin. I only need to pay attention. Ringing ears = need for sugar.

Mizzou 2009-12-12 16:19:19 -0600 Report

I haven't had ringing in my ears or maybe it got overlooked in all the other symptoms. I'll pay attention for that next time.

I'm type 2 and my lows come with absolutely no warning. I bought a bag of hard candy pieces that can withstand the temperature changes in my car. They are always within reach and if I feel at all strange, I grab one in a hurry. Because I go from fine to really bad within seconds, I don't risk going out unless I know my sugar has been recently raised. It's not worth the risk. Also, I've never heard of having problems getting a drivers license or having it restricted because of diabetes. That scares me too.

CAP3 2009-12-12 15:07:19 -0600 Report

I have the same problem. What I do when I'm out and I get ready to drive home I always eat something before I get behind the wheel. Because you never realize your blood sugar is low until it's too late. When you are driving and your blood sugar gets low, you are confused and have no idea what's going on. And you never think about eating the candy you have just for that. I've had that happen to me twice. Both times I called my wife and she came and got me. But I was very lucky. I was lost and had to tell my wife what I was looking at so she could find me. Let me warn you, you do not want to go through that. It's not a good feeling. If you are just going to the store and coming back home you don't need to do that. But if you are out exercising, playing some kind of sport then you need to eat something before you get behind the wheel. If you are a type 1 diabetic you should always have something to eat with you, because you never know when you might need it. I always have m&m's with me. They are a winner, no type of weather bothers them.

Cobra - 90132
Cobra - 90132 2009-12-12 12:32:14 -0600 Report


susan cartwright
susan cartwright 2009-12-12 11:35:33 -0600 Report

hi my name is susan and i have been diabetic since i was 7yrs old. im now 33 and my doc suspended my license bcuz of low blood sugars.i have gone so low that my husband couldn't get a reading on my meter it just said low! i have broken my foot twice because of being so low!! it is very scary bcuz i have 3 kids and they have had to call the squad. i am what they call a brittle diabetic whatever that means. but i keep mt.dew on me at all times!

Deb-G 2009-12-12 12:19:52 -0600 Report

I've had 2 seizure due to this…You will need stricter control and lots more testing…and a controlled diet of meals and snacks…Protein to carb ratio as close as possible (to being equal) at all times…and make sure your meds and doses are correct for you…they may not be or you may not be fueling your body enough…Less, more often :)

HPei 2009-12-01 02:28:08 -0600 Report

I'm new to this site, and have enjoyed reading what others have to say. It's nice knowing I'm not the only one going crazy, not feeling like putting up with this disease or wanting to just lay in bed and not do anything.
While looking through some of the discussions, I stumbled upon this one.
I have type 1 diabetes for almost my entire life (25 of my 26 years). I'm still able to tell when my blood sugars drop, even if it's just to 70. Sometimes, however, I get a sudden drop. No blurry vision, no irritability, no hunger pangs, nothing. They don't happen often, but when they do, it does worry me.
I find that the really bad ones are when my BG levels drop while I'm asleep. There's no real way for me to monitor it, and if it drops low enough, I'll most likely not feel like moving at all (if I'm even aware of it). The scariest one was when my BG dropped to 19. I remember walking around, trying to yell for help, but only hearing mumbles. While walking, I kept stomping the ground to check if my footing was secure, but also to make noise hoping someone would wake up. Somehow, I made it down my stairs, took my reading and downed a can of Coke. To this day, I have no idea how I managed to do all of that, but I'm thankful that I did.

Mizzou 2009-12-12 10:39:00 -0600 Report

When I saw this topic, I felt as if I'd written it.

I was on Metformin for 5 years. It worked great until about a year ago and my doctor added Glyburide. That's when the trouble began.

A couple weeks ago, I was in my bathroom getting ready for bed. I felt fine and had eaten a granola bar about 15 minutes earlier. Suddenly, my head felt strange and it seemed heavy. I felt I could have curled up and gone right to sleep. My body began to feel very tired and I actually thought I might be getting the flu. I never even thought about my sugar until I began to feel shaky. Still felt it couldn't be sugar since I'd just eaten the snack, but checked it anyway and it was 52. I immediately grabbed some hard candy that I've always kept for emergencies, but have never had to use before. I waited until I could see the sugar going back up, then plopped onto my bed and woke up my husband. It scared the heck out of both of us. The most unsettling part of all is that there is literally no warning. One second I'm fine and the next, I'm ready to go to sleep and feel like crap. There's no way to predict this.

Since then, I've tried to be more aware of my sugar levels, but the sudden drops still happen a few times a week. It has hit 41 on two occasions. I was sitting beside my husband one day and the same feeling hit. I had bought orange juice to keep on hand, just in case, and it came in very handy. My husband brought me a glass and by then, I felt so weak that it was all I could do to raise the small glass to my mouth. My husband wanted to take me to the ER, but I felt pretty certain that it was another low sugar incident. A few minutes later, it was back up. These incidents are very scary and I now keep juice and soft drinks in the fridge and hard candy in my purse, under my pillow and in my car. If I feel the slightest bit strange, I get some sugar in me and I always take a couple sips of OJ any time I am headed for a store or some place that will keep me from being able to eat for a couple of hours.

My doctor knows about this and has cut the Glyburide dose in half. That seems to be helping some, but I've still had episodes. I'm supposed to eat something every 2 hours, but I often forget since I'm rarely even hungry that soon. My family practitioner has been treating me, but I now have an appointment with a specialist next week.

Does anyone have any great suggestions for snacks? I eat almonds during the day or celery w/peanut butter. In the evenings I often eat an apple w/peanut butter. A granola bar is also an option, but the first episode happened after just finishing a granola bar. It makes me wonder how low it might have gone if I hadn't eaten that.

grandma52 2009-12-12 11:17:17 -0600 Report

My blood sugar drops alot to.My doctor said to get a little protien before going to bed.Boil egg a slice of turkey.

pmsteve 2009-11-23 16:47:15 -0600 Report

I've had mine drop to 38 before and I was really out of it.

Milk usually brings my BG up fast and I looked in the fridge to get a glass. I saw the milk carton behind something else but I just couldn't figure out how to get to the milk! Like I said, I was totally confused. My wife poured me a couple of glasses, I took glucose tabs while she made me a snack.

The best way to avoid this if you had no symptoms is to test often and snacks periodically between meals.

Sarguillo 2009-11-23 16:05:58 -0600 Report

Or get a dog that is trained to look for this.
He will let you know when the BS are low.


packrat2 2009-11-23 16:35:56 -0600 Report

I am type 1 and am lucky I can tell when low…eye sight
will go fuzzy @ about 70 or lower…

imbennett 2009-12-13 11:58:00 -0600 Report

Hi, I too have problems with low blood sugar & I always have the glucose tablets, in the drawer by my chair & in my nightstand. I am fortunate in that I do not need to get a dog because one of my cats does it for me. Most of mine have been at night & when they go low she gets on the bed, stands on my chest & just yowls her head off. That usually wakes me but I am not always clear headed & she stays with me until I check & take action to get my level back up. This is one cat my sister says I should keep, lol.

Armourer 2009-11-23 14:28:42 -0600 Report

I am dealing with this a lot recently. I'm lucky for the most part I start to get sweaty, at the same time feeling shaky inside. The lower it goes below 70 the worse it gets to the point that now longer can think straight. It does the same thing when sleeping. My best is drinking orange juice, but rarely have that around, usually take 2 glucose tablets.

rankearl 2009-11-23 13:38:15 -0600 Report

ive beeh diabetic for soo long dr have told me it is not uncommon ive dealt with this too along time i carry granola bars in my purse it helps if i caught it i always test my blood sugar befoe i leave home sometimes that doesnt help i heard they are traing dogs to help with this i want to be the first to get one hugs julie

80sgirl71 2009-11-23 14:16:03 -0600 Report

Hey Debbie! It's me Becki. The same thing happened to me Saturday night. My sugar had been running somewhat high during the day and I took my lantus and went to bed. I got up about 10 minutes later because I felt shaky and my heart was pounding and I felt low. Well my bg levels was 32. It dropped from 199 to 32 in 15 minutes. My daughter the LPN said I must have hit a vein when I gave my self a shot. I want to know how to recover from such a low without overdoing it. I hate drinking juice when I am low. It is like being on a roller coaster. The lows scare me more than the highs. A lot of times you can get the high levels down by exercise but it is harder to get the low levels back in the normal range. I guess there are no easy answers. We just need to listen to our bodies and try to catch it before it drops.

kdroberts 2009-11-22 19:55:49 -0600 Report

Not a lot, it's a condition called hypoglycemia unawareness. Really the only thing to do is try to get on a continuous glucose monitor with predictive alarms (not all have that) that will predict when you are going to go low and you will be able to do something about it before it gets too low.

mamaoak 2009-11-22 17:31:14 -0600 Report

boy that is really low i all ways carry some apple juice with me it must be awfull not being able to tell. i just make sure i have had enough carbs with my meals and snackes. eat befor i exersise and go shopping and take snackes with me as well.

TONY101365 2009-11-22 11:12:11 -0600 Report

Hi; Im sorry to hear of your low blood sugar episode. I also suffer from low blood sugar episodes without warning and just like me you have a serious problem. Your nerves have been damaged and I guess at the beginning of your diabetes type 1 you did feel the warning signs. What happens is after many years of high and low blood sugar episodes our nerves are damaged. When no warning signs are felt by the diabetic type 1 the diabetic becomes confused, and just not themselves and if you are in public or driving it can become a very dangerous situation. I suffer form diabetes type 1 and my blood sugars jump from one end to another and I have been told my diabetes is brittle diabetes bad enough that I was retired under disability from the US Govt.You need to always be aware of your blood sugar problem and when in doubt always use diabetic glucose tablets because high for a while is better than low and permanently. GOOD LUCK !

Harlen 2009-11-22 10:47:44 -0600 Report

A CGMS by onetuch will help you if you can get your Doc to give you a scrip for it
Other comps make them too
You will still need to check you BS even on it
Hope this helps
Best wishes

sweething 2009-11-22 07:35:08 -0600 Report

Happens to me sometimes when I am watching tv in the evening—not paying attention to anything except the screen. My husband gets a regular lemon lime soda out of the fridge and I drink that. It works quickly for me. Sometimes my vision will get "splotchy" and I will notice the fall in BS that way.

GiGiB 2009-11-22 10:52:36 -0600 Report

I get the same way, either I get splotchy vision or I start to ramble a bit and have no shakiness or other signs.


pop2 2009-12-12 13:04:42 -0600 Report

Does any one ever wake up with very low b/s ?I do this a lot
some times even with a snack before bed. Just happens
sometimes and I have to be aware of what it is and get right
up and eat something that is the worse time to have a low
sometimes it can be between 40 an 60 but i have to get right
to some fast sugar.

tladybug77 2009-12-12 21:16:40 -0600 Report

Most of the time I have my worst sugar reactions in the night, it has come to the point that my husband (he's awake) comes in and checks on me to see if I am sweating or have the covers thrown off, if I am he makes me get up and test my sugar, there are times where I am in the reaction for awhile and usually by that time the bed is soaked with sweat, so far he has been able to bring me out of it, he has had to use the glucose shot on me 2 or 3 times and that helps when my body and mouth lock up. So far I have been lucky and my endo. doctor changes my settings on my pump.

Ladyhawk317 2009-12-14 17:05:36 -0600 Report

I was experiencing this very often, day and night. I live alone so it was very scary. I would take a glucose tablet and that helped. It went down to 22 once and a friend happened to stop by and called paramedics because at that point I was unable to talk or move. Finally my Dr. took me off of oral medications (I had been on 70/30 insulin as well as Amaryl) and put me on Lantus. My BS has been under control ever since.

Hinboyz3 2009-11-22 06:50:58 -0600 Report

Hi Debbie, Im sorry you had no warning signs, but you've got to communicate with your doctor, any kinda problems your experiencing. No question is a silly question, just ask

hbkunkel 2009-11-22 05:28:28 -0600 Report

Wow that is a tough one. I am not sure but I would talk to your doctor about it. Good luck because I know how dangerous that can be.

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