Tag Archives: type 1 diabetes and hypoglycemia

Teaching My Kid How to Recognize Low Blood Sugar Symptoms

If a minute passes while I can’t locate my type 1 daughter, I kind of freak out. She doesn’t know what a real low blood sugar feels like and that makes me nervous. In the few months since she’s been diagnosed, her lowest blood sugar has been 58 mg/dl and at the time I tried to get her to describe how she was feeling but she said she felt perfectly fine.
She doesn’t like me panicking, and I don’t either, but lows are serious and one can’t ignore that. It’s only been four months so I think as we get into more activities this Spring and Summer, we’ll have more opportunities to learn how to cope.
Once she does get a reading in the low 50s or below I hope to get her to pay attention to the symptoms so she can start recognizing lows the way I do.

About My Typical Low Blood Sugar Episodes

I have about one low blood sugar a day. These are usually not below 60 though and they’re very slow moving so they’re very rarely a bother. (Slow moving because I follow a low-carb diet which removes almost all threat of fast-moving, scary lows).
However, I think it’s valuable that I can sense them physically because it helps keep me safe and I want that for her, too.
Here’s what my low blood sugars feel like:
As I slowly drop (fast drops feel different), I’ll first start to feel better–like super healthy, good energy, and this is when my blood sugar is in the 70s. I don’t know why but I feel like superwoman in the 70s. Then I’ll start feeling a bit weak and hungry and feel a sense of urgency thanks to an elevated heart rate from an adrenaline surge–that’s when I’ve typically hit the mid-to-low 60s. If it continues to the 50s, every symptom will increase in severity and I might start trembling. Since I was a kid I’ve grabbed a piece of paper with my thumb and forefinger to check for trembling–makes it clearer. I may now also get a numb tongue, which is weird. The 40s feel awful, with tightness in the chest and impaired cognitive abilities. The 20s and 30s are rare but I have experienced them all while conscious. They feel like I’m disassociated from my body, slightly drunk, and heading towards the impending emergency shutdown of the body–on the way to unconsciousness to try and conserve energy for necessary organ function and to preserve life as long as possible (my drama-filled guess anyway). 
I tell my daughter what my symptoms are but have let her know that hers could be different.

Confirm With Meter or CGM to Be Sure

I’m teaching my daughter that while recognizing the symptoms is useful, checking blood sugar is still important because symptoms can overlap. For example, being nervous or even very excited produces a rise in certain hormones and the symptoms of jitteriness, fast heart rate, sweating, weakness, and anxiety can all feel very much like low blood sugar.
Sometimes a high can be confused for a low, too. So, it’s just best to confirm.
Not to mention, you can’t figure out if you’re on point with your observations unless you confirm with a meter. But, it’s helpful to first feel symptoms, take a second to describe how you feel to yourself, and then check to see if you’re close.
Over the years, I have become pretty good at guessing my blood sugar within 10 points. But sometimes I’m way off and so obviously, it’s still necessary to not solely rely on feeling.
This is what I’m teaching her. I am enjoying the fact that she hasn’t had a low that makes her feel awful, yet, but it’s only a matter of time before she does and when that happens, I want her to remember what it feels like so she can recognize it the next time around.

Natural Glucose Tablets! The Glucolift Review


You probably already know I’m into “natural”, “healthy”, blah blah blah.  You may be, too.  If you’re not and wondering why a natural glucose tablet may be worthwhile, this here is especially for you.

First of all, I know many of you treat lows with candy and fruit juice.  Sometimes I have no choice but to use something like that, as well.  However, when we’re low the fastest thing we can use to bring up our sugar is glucose and that’s why glucose tablets are a smart choice.  The problem is they contain artificial flavors, colors, and genetically modified ingredients which over the course of time is not going to support our health.

Glucolift glucose tablets are created by a fellow diabetic.  They don’t have anything artificial and they don’t have a yucky chalky taste to them.  We received some bottles to try out and Ana and I really loved them.  What struck me though, was just how much I missed them when I ran out and went back to my old glucose tablets.  I almost gagged.  So perhaps at first taste Glucolift tablets don’t taste very different-after all they still have the same 4 grams of glucose per tablet, but once you go from these to the regular artificially flavored tablets, oh you’ll know the difference.

Let’s face it, when we’re low, we sometimes want to make the experience a little less crappy so we dig into ice cream or candy.  The truth is that we do best by relying on what our body is in immediate need of and that is glucose.  We also do best to enjoy the way our glucose tablets taste so the experience isn’t a complete drag.

So we love the taste:  I love the cherry the most, Ana loves the wildberry flavor the most, and others have reported that they are head over heels for the orange cream flavor.  We love the easy flip lid that allows easy access while trembly and low.  And we love that someone acted to fill a diabetic consumer void.

We’re happy to give this product a big thumbs up.

If you’re interested, you can order at Amazon!  I’m going to get my cherry tablets right now.

Locked Out

November 2011 189

My kid’s are almost two and a half now.  They’re more mischievous every day.  For the most part I like that fact because since we stay home all day, most days, well, we need some entertainment.  That’s why we dance around to this and this, move the mattresses from their beds to the living room to do “gymnastics”, and have messy tea parties will real milk and cookies.  Sometimes though, things happen and I’m once again reminded of how people with diabetes really need to be extra prepared than the rest of the population.

Saturday, I was changing Aurora in the kid’s bedroom while Henri was busy in the living room with a Lego tower.  I finish up and head out when I realize the door is locked.  Henri has pushed the lock on the other side of the door and locked his sister and I in their bedroom.  I have just given insulin for breakfast, am in a nightgown, the apartment maintenance crew is out for the day, and Alex is at work.  I don’t have my phone or usual glucose tablets on me, either.

I start knocking on the door, praying Henri hasn’t gotten into trouble when I hear him giggling on the other side.  “Henriii…unlock this door please!  Push the button, baby, please!”  More giggling.  He knocks on the door playfully and runs away.  Then he comes back and knocks again, giggles, and runs away.  I hear him jumping on the couch, having all kinds of fun.  Aurora figures out what’s going on and the drama queen falls on the floor crying, her hand over her forehead like a damsel in distress.  Oh no, she’s like her mom.  “Aurora, it’s ok, your brother is going to open the door-Henriiii open the door! Push the button, Henri, push the button!”

This goes on for thirty minutes and finally, Henri unlocks the door.  I rush out and chug 16 ounces of apple juice.  Aurora and Henri embrace.  They don’t like to be separated.  I don’t like that I was so vulnerable.  The lock has been switched out and Alex has shown me how to pick it.  Next time, I’ll be prepared.  Because I’m sure there will be a next time.


November 2011 272

CGM Study and Why a CGM?

Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono

Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono


The CGM study that endocrinology offices do all over the country is a blind-to-the-patient, study.  I started yesterday.  I signed a form agreeing that if I broke or damaged the sensor I’d immediately pay $900 to replace it (striking me as a bit harsh considering accidents can happen).  Then the woman in charge of fixing me up, a dietitian, inserted the sensor and told me that I would not know what my graph looks like but they will.  She said they might call me if something needs to be changed.  She handed me papers to fill out.  I need to write down when I test and what my sugar is, when I eat and how many carbs I eat, how much insulin I take and detailed exercise info.  I hate writing down all this stuff-perhaps because I’ve been told to, but it won’t be too bad considering it’s only a three day study. 

I will return the sensor along with the paperwork on Thursday and in several weeks I meet with the doctor to go over the results.  I don’t know if my insurance will cover this yet.  I know they pre-approved the study so hopefully they will approve and cover my permanently using it.  Someone at the Diabetes Sisters Conference told me I needed to have two lows under 50 per day while on the study for insurances to justify covering the CGM.  I would rather go without it than have to lie to get it.  For reasons of justice and pride I will not lie.  However, I’ve already had two low readings in the 50’s and 60’s which I don’t consider problematic since I feel my lows at 60 and I am comfortably at home all day and can easily enough treat when needed.  If I was out I’d make sure I ran my numbers closer to 120 than 80.

I feel strange that someone might know what my blood sugars are right now and I don’t.  It’s an uncomfortable feeling and I look forward to experiencing the CGM along with the receiver (is that what it’s called?).  Of course, this is If some unknowing party decides I should have it.  (rolls eyes)

I cried earlier today reading a post at The Princess and the Pump written by a parent of a child with type 1 diabetes.  This young girl has a CGM and her parents heard the alarm in the middle of the night, testing their daughter and finding her dangerously low.  The little girl eventually had two low blood sugar induced seizures and ended up in the hospital.  The parents are wondering if a faulty pump cartridge is to blame.  The point is, the CGM saved this girl’s life.  And just because I haven’t experienced ever needing help from a low blood sugar doesn’t mean I won’t one day.  This story alone is enough motivation for me to want one if I can get access to it.  If it isn’t covered by insurance I cannot afford it.  So fingers crossed. 

For those non-diabetics reading out there I ask you this; If you had type 1 diabetes and a simple device could alert you to dangerously high or low blood sugars (both of which could quickly lead to death) would you want it?  If this was your child, would you want to know that a device was looking after their blood sugars while you and your child tried to do something normal like sleeping safely at night?  Do you think it sounds reasonable that diabetics out there ask for their insurance to help cover the costs of a potentially life-saving device?  I do.  I mean, death is permanent.  Technology like this can make all the difference. 

Here is the best explanation I’ve ever heard of why insulin isn’t a cure that I hope everyone will take a minute to read:  Not Even Close