Overtreating Lows

By CMeli1027 Latest Reply 2008-10-04 22:38:17 -0500
Started 2008-09-24 04:19:04 -0500


I know this issue is totally "Diabetes 101," and that after 18 years of being T1 I really should have figured it out, but my #1 problem with my diabetes management is treating low BGs.

My strategy for treating lows is rediculous: As soon as I feel low, I start eating (whatever is around-crackers, candy, juice, sanwiches, ice cream-whatever!) and don't stop till I feel better. This of course sets my BG swinging up and down for hours afterwards.

Rationally, I know that this is not the way to do it, but I don't even think- I just panic and start eating. I just have so much fear about hypoglycemia.

I read one post on another site where this woman said that she gave herself insulin while she was treating the low to balance the effects of her overtreating- I'd be scared to DEATH to do that!

How do you all treat lows? Any advice?

9 replies

Jlynn 2008-10-04 22:38:17 -0500 Report

… Good question, I have been type 1 3yrs and half that was pregnancy, so im new here..But I freak out and before ya know it Im looking like a freaked out sugar monster,with the drool n all..But there are better ways like the glucose tabs, tell what one tab will bring down,,there pretty cheap to my surprise under 1.50 a tube.
I used to use the low as a in for my love; reeses p butter cups! But found that the type of sugar slowly raises sugars and was really BAD. DARN IT!!
hard candy is easy and ok to keep on hand, I started this awhile back w/glucose tabs..
Let me know what else you all come up with…

momoftype1 2008-10-03 17:03:18 -0500 Report

My daughet gets lows in the 40-50's usually after shopping or helping with housework/yardwork. We have specific snacks for that like kdroberts said they are all 15 carbs- We have been using the 50-70 bs gets one 15 carb snack and retest in 15-30 minutes to insure that she is rising. This is with no insulin to cover the carbs. If she is below 50 we have 15 carb juice boxes, and she gets 2 of those and follows the 15-30 minute rule again to insure it is rising with a test an hour later to insure it stays up. We also were told to follow up with a regular snack to hold over to the next meal if it is more than 2 hours away. Double check with your dr to insure that is a practice you can use since everyone responds differently.

Leigh Marsden
Leigh Marsden 2008-09-29 10:36:58 -0500 Report

I carry a kit with me whereever I go. I have healthy snacks, glucose tablets,get, and crackers. If you have a kit that agrees with your system that is also healthy and you've learned what to expect from the foods and how they effect your bs. you can learn how to manage your bs levels. Good luck my dear, Leigh

2008-09-29 10:27:17 -0500 Report

Just keep a small bottle of orange juice or a couple of oranges in your fridge, and train yourself just to keep something like that on hand, a couple at a time, or even a pack of 1-2 cookies if you have to have something. But oranges are much better for when your sugar gets low. I know, I am a caregiver for a type 2 diabetic, but have dealt with low blood sugar the last 10 years, and that is what I was taught. It won't throw everything out of wack drastically, either.

Melissa Dawn
Melissa Dawn 2008-09-29 09:31:58 -0500 Report

If you have a definite plan of a attack for when you start feeling low, you're less likely to panic. Always start by testing your blood sugar. Then, have some sort of treatment plan — for example, 1 gram of simple carbs for every unit you are below your goal. (So, if I'm 60, I'd get a small glass of orange juice out — approximately 20 carbs worth). Then wait for 10-15 minutes. Test again and reevaluate.

Its not always easy to wait, and you might help yourself by getting on the phone with someone who understands the situation to keep you company while you work through the process. Then you also know that someone is aware that you're having a problem. It helps take off some of the anxiety.

I'm not perfect at following my plan, and lately it hasn't worked as well (my lows are a lot slower to come up as of late), but when I use it it helps. The key is, by deciding when you are in a reasonable state of mind what you'll do, you don't have to try to think rationally. Just follow the plan you've set for yourself.

Good luck!

Richard157 2008-09-29 07:08:07 -0500 Report

If I am below 60 I eat an appropriate number of glucose tabs and wait 20 minutes and test again. If my BG is increasing I sit quietly and have something going that will keep me awake. If I am below 40 I make sure my wife knows so she can sit with me. I can take care of myself if I am not below 40. The number of tabs I eat depends on how far below 90 I am. My target is 90. If I am 50 then I need to raise my BG 40 points to reach my target. One glucose tab (4 carbs) will raise my BG 12 points. If I want to raise my BG 40 points then I need 3 tabs which would raise me to about 84. If my BG was 30 my wife would give me 5 tabs and that should raise my BG to 90. I always test 20 minutes after eating the tabs to make sure the BG is rising. If it is not rising I might need more tabs.

Glucose tabs work faster than sugar and they do not contain fat carbs. Candy contains fat carbs. I need to lose 31 pounds so I don't use candy. If I am 60-80 though I eat skittles. Each skittle has 1 carb. 4 skittles will raise my BG the same as a glucose tab, 12 points.

The above procedure works well for me. Can you tell I use very tight control? Lol! I test every time I begin feeling low. I can feel a low if I am below 75.

Now that I am pumping I rarely have a low below 50 so I do not need assistance from my wife.

Good luck with your lows!!

morris.js 2008-09-24 07:03:09 -0500 Report

I have lows quite often in the high 30's and low 40's. I do not use any insulin anymore, so I can't comment on if you should take some or not with your carbs.
I try to eat something relatively small and fast acting, then wait for about 15 or 20 minutes to see where my levels wind up. Like already suggested, a regular can of soda, or an orange, or some orange juice, or a piece of bread with some jam or jelly.
If your dangerously low, go for some glucose tablets or gel. These will let you know exactly how many fast acting carbs you are taking.
I know it is scary and hard to wait, but you have to be patient and see the results before you continue to eat more.

Frustrated mom
Frustrated mom 2008-09-24 06:47:58 -0500 Report

My son somtimes has false lows, so I have him check before he treats…I keep a small bag of candy (15carbs) to bring it up, or 1/2c orange juice or 1/2 c reg pop…He use to eat, eat, eat when he was low, then he would be high when he checked his BS next time…I think that must be really hard on your body..Good luck…Taking insulin when you are already low would scare me to death…WOW!!!

kdroberts 2008-09-24 04:34:46 -0500 Report

First, test. You may not be low, you maybe only slightly low or you may be way low. The "rule" is 15g carb and re-test in 15 minutes. I tend to evaluate how low I am, when my next meal is and any other factors, in your case I would assume the amount of insulin you've taken and when. Then I base what I do from that, either bring up my meal, pop a few glucose tabs or do nothing.

I don't take insulin so I can't comment on what you should do because it does add an extra dimension I know nothing about. Remember that you will feel better way before the carbs you eat are fully digested so eating until you feel better is a bad idea because your blood sugar will continue to rise after you stop, especially if you are eating any kind of carb and not a quick acting one like glucose. Treat lightly to start with and go from there. However, if you are very low then it's a better to go a little strong to make sure.