Help: what are your symptoms when low [prep for wiki]?

What do you feel in a shallow or deep low:

  • What alerts you first?

  • What does it devolve itself into when it deepens?

We have had several threads discussing lows in the past. Recently, @mike_g suggested putting together a wiki on the topic. When reading PWDs’ descriptions of low events, many of us note that many such signs are not what conventional wisdom typically assumes. If you have not discussed your symptoms yet in the thread mentioned below—or even if you have, really—do you want to share what you feel?

In the wiki, if possible we will try to separate early warning signs from fully developed low symptoms. We will likely turn the present post in the wiki head when consolidating responses.


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It’s not always easy to describe what exactly I feel and sometimes symptoms may differ. Shallow lows are in general accompanied by a shaky feeling and frequently also by some kind of hungry feeling that may differ from actual hunger, though not always easily distinguishable. Deep lows (i.e. < 3 mmol/l or 55 mg/dl) make the symptoms more intense and heavy sweating occurs.


Mild lows: anxious feeling, a feeling that something isn’t quite right
Deep lows: shakiness, visual distortions, muddy thinking, sweating, panicky feeling (tho’ some of that may be due to watching the CGM and wondering why my BG isn’t going up)
Steep drops: increase in heart rate and/or “thumping” heartbeat, non-specific “off” feeling in my stomach, some mental confusion


Mild lows it’s generally some form of hunger, a general “off” feeling, anxious feeling. Deeper lows I typically get a numb tongue, upper or lower lip, sometimes shakiness, confusion. I only get the sweaty lows if I’m asleep, and I have gotten tunnel vision or other visual distortions (like circles in vision) but I’ve only seen them prior to loss of consciousness events which I’m assuming were very deep lows.


When I start to get low, I am breathing normally but I feel I don’t get enough oxygen. Then I start sweating a bit, and my mind starts wandering. When I get lower, my hands start shaking and I get mood swings. I am irritable or angry.

When I am very low, I can’t focus, my mind is all over the place, my hands shake hard, and I feel like fight-or-flee, I may get panicky. I have no vision problems, even when I get really low. I have been in the low 30s, once at 28 (although meter error is high when you are low so who knows), and I don’t seem to get more severe symptoms. I may just go unconscious without more warning, I am not sure: I have never been low enough.


Sometimes I get a headache after a low, but occasionally also during a hypo.

  1. Milder/ Shallow low that develops slowly I feel:
  • Jittery/ Shakey
  • Cranky/ Irritable
  • Hungry
  1. Deeper low that develops slowly I feel the symptoms above plus:
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Difficultly concentrating
  1. Lows that develop rapidly:
  • Weak legs/ Difficulty walking (especially down a flight of stairs)
  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion
  • Once, during what I think was my fastest/lowest low in public (and definitely the scariest one to date), I noticed my head slightly twitching to the right uncontrollably…until my BG started to increase.

I generally don’t feel mild lows. In the 60s sometimes I hear increased tinnitus in my ears, and sometimes I just feel vaguely off. Sometimes I see a circle or C-shaped partial ring with shimmering edges in my vision that is a reliable indication that I’m between 60 and 62. It looks like a visual migraine but it is not opaque in the center. If walking I feel as if I’ve been on a long hike. In the 50s I sometimes notice that I’m breathing deep and applying back-pressure as I exhale, and sometimes I see stars (numerous 0-radius white points in the periphery of my visual field) and sometimes my lips start to tingle. I also lose the ability to get the right answer to arithmetic questions such as 24 - 7, or to approximate square roots like the square root of 1000; my wife sometimes uses this as a hypo test. In the 40s I sweat and get a stronger heartbeat, and just feel distinctly wrong. Although it hasn’t happened since I started CGM, I recall that waking from a deep low I would be chilly, drenched with sweat, and I would have an odd buzzing sensation, almost like an electric 60 Hz hum deep throughout my body.


This is my most common symptom!
Numb or tingly feeling.

If i ignore it, then may get sweats.


Shallow low

  • Can’t concentrate and I lose my train of thought easily
  • Some memory problems (have a harder time remembering what I was reading or learning while low and also have issues recalling things when I’m low)
  • Anxiety/paranoia
  • “flashbulb vision” - the black circle in my vision
  • Sweatiness starts after ~~~15 minutes if I haven’t treated
  • Numb mouth and tongue if the low persists

Deep low (above symptoms included)

  • Sweatiness, especially deep lows overnight
  • HUNGER - I could eat the world when I’m really low
  • Shaky hands
  • Muscles start to give out. If I’m walking my legs buckle sporadically when I’m lower than 50
  • Not sure what kind of symptom to call this - but time will kind of slow down

Dropping fast

  • Intense anxiety and confusion
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sweatiness

Sometimes I’ll get all of my symptoms, and sometimes it’s different combinations of them


That’s a good one to include! Rapidly dropping BGs can give me hypo symptoms too.


Lows when recovering from DKA after diagnosis felt really extreme. I’d find myself shaking and sweating and weepy and panicky in the normal range (80-120). A lot of confounding factors: no CGM at that point, dosing rates not anywhere properly adjusted yet, and recovering from extreme fatigue and loss of strength.


I get most symptoms that have already been mentioned, plus I get very emotional - I’ll get weepy and just start crying over anything. Also, fast drops make me slightly dizzy, and while my vision isn’t blurry, it’s harder to process what I’m seeing, if that makes sense. I get that sensory overload thing with lows, so I think it’s related to that - sounds are also too loud and make me very cranky.


After 45 years my symptoms have really changed. Over the years I have felt hungry, shaky, sweaty, weak, had tingly lips and tongue, and seen a shimmery ring in my vision. Now I would say that I don’t really feel much with a sustained BG of 3.0-3.8 (54-68). I tend to feel them more if my BG is trending down faster. Then I would say I feel off - only a feeling that I would know (maybe a bit weak and hungry). I get worse symptoms when my BG is on its way back up for some reason. It’s as of my brain kicks in too late. One thing that I always find weird is that when my BG is going down really fast, even when the numbers are nowhere near low, I get horrible stomach pains and feel nauseous. As soon as I eat something I feel better.


I second everything @Lisa says.

I get nausea and a pounding heartbeat when I’m dropping fast, even if I’m well above low numbers.

And I fixate on inconsequential things when I’m in the 60’s…sometimes.


Oh, yes, I get very nauseated with fast drops, too! And sometimes not quite nausea, but just this feeling like I need to throw up right this minute.


ME TOO! So frustrating in serious and professional settings

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Early signs:

  • “flashbulb vision” (that’s perfect, @LarissaW!) – black dots and white sparks and generally trouble focusing visually
  • trouble concentrating or completing a task, therefore easily frustrated
  • not hunger exactly but a feeling of physical hollowness

Later signs (before the usual shaking/sweating)

  • numb and/or tingling lips
  • can’t taste sweet – everything has a mineral flavour
  • can’t talk louder than a whisper and can’t talk quickly
  • mutter to myself, telling myself things like “Eat something”
  • according to others: slow-thinking and “spacy-looking”
  • stubborn determination to finish what I’m doing, whether a mental or physical task, before I treat

Good catch! I forgot to mention that one. For me, with BG around 40 glucose tablets don’t taste sweet, they taste metallic.


Yeah, me, too, glad you mentioned that! :pray: