How long does low blood sugar usually last?

So ive been told when my blood sugar is low, have 15g of some sort of carb and/or protein along with it. Thats like 2-5 mins of eating but i still have symptoms of low blood sugar for the next 30-45 mins, is that amount of time to long to be feeling like that or is that normal? are there other ways to bring it up alot faster?

I just had a low Bg reaction so my memories are fresh. I took my Bg but had problems focusing and I was seeing spots. Bg was 34.

2 pieces of cake and an orange juice and half an hour and I was feeling better but not out of the woods. Bg 40.

Another o.j. and small piece of cake and an hour from first symptoms and Bg is 97 and steady. Probably take a correction before bed.

So I guess I would say it lasted for about 45 minutes, with a half hour being out of it.

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There are glucose sources that don’t have other types of sugar in them, and will theoretically bring your bg back faster, like glucose tabs or smarties. Are you new to the Type 1 game, or just getting lows more frequently?

More carbs will bring it up faster, but the problem is that you will come up too much.

The “some sort of carbs” is not really the best approach for speed. Yes, you can bring up BG with any carb, but something like potato chips won’t be as fast as a simple sugar.

Liquids are faster because they don’t need to be churned up by the stomach like solid foods. Absorption of glucose happens in the small intestine, so it has to get past your stomach first. Liquids will get there sooner than solids.

How long have you been T1?

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I think it depends on what you eat to treat the low. This morning I went low from waiting too long after bolusing to eat (kids…), so I didn’t feel my symptoms until I was almost done eating, and I’d eaten plenty of fat, which slowed down the carbs hitting. It took a good 30 mins (and a glucose tablet) to stop feeling shaky, and a full hour to get back to normal.

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It also depends on your IOB. If you have a lot of IOB you’ll need more to correct a low than you would of you have little or no IOB.

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With glucose tabs and water on an empty stomach I’d expect that a fingerstick BG measurement after 15 or 20 minutes would show a big rise, but maybe not quite all the way back to normal. Pure glucose works faster than other sugars and much faster than complex carbs. Adding protein to carbs slows down the digestion, so if you want to bring up your BG quickly, avoid the protein until you’re back in the normal range.

If you have lots of insulin in your body (from a relatively recent meal bolus or correction, for instance) a fast carb will bring your BG up, but the insulin is still working so it can pull the BG back down again. That’s the reason the old advice was for carbs + protein: so the digestion would continue for longer, and thus keep the BG from falling again. I prefer to take glucose to bring the BG up promptly, and then to take more carbs later as needed. This technique is easy for me because I’m using a continuous glucose monitor rather than fingerstick measurements.

As for the amount of carb to take, 15g is just a general recommendation for a starting point. For myself, I adjust the amount of glucose I take depending on circumstances. I know that in my body, a 4g glucose tab will raise my BG by about 10 mg/dL. So I eat glucose tabs and count by tens based on my BG. (So if I’m at 54 I’ll go 64, 74, 84, 94, 104 as I eat 5 glucose tabs.) But the right amount for me might send someone else up to 250 mg/dL rather than up to 104, so you would have to run a couple tests with glucose tabs to see how they work for you. One circumstance I consider is what my BG is doing when I find I’m low. 54 and dropping fast is completely different from 54 and steady; I’ll take a couple extra glucose in the first case for protection. And if I need to be at my best, either at work or when driving, I’ll err a little bit on the side of too much glucose rather than too little, so I’m less likely to embarrass myself or cause a problem.


Ive had it for 8 years now, i get alot more lows now. Ive tried the liquids… it pretty much goes back to normal just like if i were to have solid foods…

Im getting lows more frequently

What do you use to treat lows?

That is really no fun, I have learned to hate when my son’s diabetes changes, it almost never seems to be a change for the better. The only exception is he can eat extra carbs when he runs over 5 miles a day.

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Usually orange juice, honey, some hard candy glucose tablets…all of them still bring my levels up around the same time. For sure i will talk to my doc about this, I see my endo in june thought i would try another solution before going to see her.

Im usingthe freesyle libre, so when im low i know what my BG is in seconds

9 years

There are several types of hypo.

  1. the emergency type, sudden drop for whatever reason, you feel nauseous, light patches show up in my vision. Check blood sugar to confirm, check how bad. This is the bad one that requires quick action. I wake up my wife at night (usually happens at 3 AM for me) so she can help if I pass out. I eat chocolate bite pieces, snickers, drink a juice box. sit down and wait for the effect, usually takes 5 - 15 minutes to take effect. I sit down and wait for the effect to come. Check blood sugar. When feeling better, it will be good to eat long lasting carbs, with long lasting protein bar or peanut butter. Fat bomb if you have it.
  2. The non emergency hypo. Just treat it gently with drink, then some carbs, protein, fat. But bolus for the carbs CONSERVATIVELY.

Here’s my diabetes BFF