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Doris' Blog

Are you really hypo unaware?

Doris' Blog
By: dorisjdickson

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Posted: Oct 29, 2008 10:55
  • Are you really hypo unaware?


    Many people are under the impression they are unaware of their bouts with low blood sugar aka “hypo unaware.”  I am not so sure everyone is.  I believe most people experience symptoms but they do not necessarily associate them with low blood sugar. 


    For instance, a poster recently wrote they are “hypo unaware” yet they noticed they are thirsty when their blood sugar is low.  So … they are not actually unaware, they are just experiencing less acknowledged symptoms. 


    How do you associate less widely discussed symptoms with low blood sugar?  I recommend testing more often than “recommended.”  It is nearly impossible to observe “strange” feelings or new symptoms by testing just 4-6 times a day.  I sure did not make a correlation between the symptoms and low blood sugar when I was testing the recommended number of times per day. 


    I test before I treat a suspected low or just when I feel “weird.”  I have added such symptoms as:  yawning, feeling cold, excessive thirst, short-duration shooting pain to the temple, hives, seeing white spots and unprovoked sexual stimulation to my list of warning signs.  There are others.


    On the other hand, I am rarely shaky anymore – the most widely published symptom of low blood sugar.  That works for me.  Shaking for 15 or 20 minutes is highly annoying.  Adrenalin causes the shaking, so apparently I am releasing a little less adrenalin than in the early years of my diagnosis.


    So, if you think you are unaware of low blood sugar, step back.  Pay very close attention to weird sensations that, at the moment, seem mundane.  Check your blood sugar.  Do not wait.  If your blood sugar is 70 or 80 but you know you have insulin peaking, check again in 15 minutes.  You may be feeling the peak of the insulin or the start of a drop.  You do not know unless you test.  If you were high when you started, you may be feeling the sudden more dramatic drop but may not be low yet.  In any case, these are all symptoms that are helpful to correlate to your body.  They are all a warning for you to pay attention and note the “oddity” for future reference. 


    Of equal importance, try not to be lulled into the complacency of “I’ve got this down pat.  I know how I feel.”  Think of it as the weather.  If you do not like it now, it is likely to change in 15 minutes.  So be prepared.

    Doris J. Dickson

    Comments (3):
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  • By: FatCatAnna: Jan, 31, 2011 22:40 PM
    Hey Jimmy9333 - curious - do you notice hypos more in the winter - since you sweat?  In the warmer weather it's harder to notice - especially if it's a hot / humid day (and I tend to need buckets under me for how much I perspire <lol>).  Cell phones are VERY handy aren't they?

    Psst - congrats on the many years with diabetes!  Hope you post a blog one day so we can learn from you!

    By: : Jan, 28, 2011 22:23 PM
    I am unaware of my lows.  I have been on insulin since September 1956.  I agree that testing is very important.  My latest trick is to have a cell phone and set the alarm for 2 hours after eating to make sure I test.  So far so good and winter seems to be easier for hypo unawareness.  

    By: FatCatAnna: Oct, 29, 2008 14:32 PM

    Very good post Doris.  I handle my hypos the same way as you do.  I was sharing a housecleaning job with a woman a few years ago - who was Type 2.  When it came to break time - she was saying she needed something sweet to eat as she was having a hypo.  She was feeling abit shaky and weak.  I told her to check her BG's first - and she tested with my meter (do Type 2's carry a meter with them 24/7 like we Type 1's do?).  Her BG was 13!  She was very surprised that it was that high.  I told her little things can make a person feel like they are in a hypo state, stress being one of them.  I am hoping from that experience that afterwards when experiencing the same feelings - she would test her BG to make sure she was alright. 

    symptom (1) sugar (1) blood (1) low (1) (1) low blood sugar (1) hypoglycemia (1)

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