The effects of fear (of lows)

Last night I had a mild low BG, but simultaneously I also felt terrible - lightheaded, weak, heart rate weirdness. I had six units of insulin on board to cover food I’d recently eaten (which I actually think is what caused my symptoms!), and I freaked out about not wanting to go low overnight and basically ate six units worth of carbs (without insulin) before going to bed

Predictable results. Huge spike overnight. I did give a measles two unit correction a few hours later when I realized my mistake and no longer felt like I might pass out.

I think for most average people fear of hypoglycaemia affects control a lot. It’s taken a lot of learning and a CGM for me not to freak out and over correct every low. But even for us so-called experts who have been at this for decades, lows and future lows can still be scary. Hopefully I won’t over treat another low for a while! (In hindsight, I’m not even totally sure my symptoms were caused by the mild low as opposed to some sort of reaction to what I ate!)


I appreciate your post and your thoughts on this. I can certainly relate to it.

If I’ve been in a relatively stable few days, I have much more confidence in treating lows with patience and moderation.

If I’ve been wrestling my bg in shifting sands with M’s all over my Dexcom, all bets are off. This is bc (1) my bg is clearly being unpredictable so I cannot treat an unexpected low as if I know what it’s going to do…bc clearly I don’t and (2) my confidence in being able to recover the situation is shot from the rollercoaster I’ve been on, so my patience is understandably overrun by panic and (3) if I am the adult in charge or just flat out by myself, I have to be safe, even if it’s not the ideal outcome (a rebound high).

At least that’s my experience. It would be much easier for me to be “brave” if I had the safety net of standing of solid footing more of the time and always had a support person there. But that’s just not what I’m working with.


I feel completely ravenous when I’m low. It’s a very different type of “hungry” that seems impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it. I don’t get a “hunger” with every low, but when I get it, it’s really, really hard to not over-correct.

Drinking Gatorade or a sugary drink to treat lows can help me not over-correct. A drink doesn’t satisfy the hunger I guess, so I don’t feel the need to continue drinking.


I have phases on a fairly regular basis where I feel like I literally have no idea what my blood sugar is going to do next, how it’s going to respond to any inputs I make, and those are the worst. And I can literally go from feeling stable and in full control to these completely unconrolled days without warning. I used to think it was something I was doing until I wore a CGM that showed I really could spend 95% in range one day and 23% in range the next with no changes to anything. This is why I’m always amazed at people who say they never go significantly high or never go significantly low, because it means they must always be in some control of their blood sugar and not have these crazy Russian roulette days where it’s a spin of the wheel as to how blood sugar will respond.

But on this particular occasion, the over-treatment was my own fault. My trigger for over-treating lows seems to be symptoms. The worse I feel, the more I’ll eat as a safeguard against passing out or whatever. I’ve had much lower lows with basically no symptoms where treating it is a mere annoyance.


Probably because it’s our body literally saying EAT NOW OR YOU’LL DIE. I don’t think many other people get that, because not many people without diabetes, even if they’ve been low, haven’t had a low blood sugar that is also continuing to be driven down lower by insulin.

I think most of my drive to over-treat lows comes not from hunger, per se (though sometimes I do get that), but by symptoms. The worse I feel, the more I’ll over treat the low to make sure that I come up and won’t drop again.

I have never used protein in follow-up to a low treatment since the NPH days. I wonder if that’s something I should incorporate into treatment for lows where I feel at risk of dropping again.


When I was in hospital recovering from DKA, I was told to correct the low and then eat 1/2 a sandwich. No insulin to cover the bread in the sandwich so of course I then went high. But looking back I feel like I was basically taught to fear lows as if that “eat now or die” feeling wasn’t already in play. Gah!

My yoga practice has really helped me a lot to stay calmer during lows and (mostly) not give in to that eat anything in sight feeling quite so readily. :pray:


I know you and others have discussed CGM Followers, and that many have argued against them for adults.

Is it possible that this fear would be less pronounced with a couple of followers—even if they are remote followers?

I know that, for us, the only time when you are really fearful of hypos is when our son is not in an environment when we can get a hold of him.

That’s smart to use Gatorade. I went through 9 Reese’s cups at work before cutting myself off today when I definitely only needed 1 to treat a low :frowning:


You are not alone in doing this!! I’m trying to get better with consistency … starting to think this is one of those things I might need to write down a plan for to keep myself accountable

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I do that when I use candy too. How can you resist??
If I can’t use liquid, then I’ll get small candies (starburst minis are delicious!) because I’ll feel like I’m having more than I am. I guess a lot of it is psychological for me. 8 little candies feels like a lot more than 1 big candy, even though they might be a similar total volume.

I also like using Gatorade because I can just carry it in my purse and drink small amounts if I need to. It’s not like I have to drink all of it once it’s opened. I think it’s technically supposed to be refrigerated, but I don’t. Cold things don’t raise my bg as quickly anyway.

I’ve tried using healthier things like high-quality granola bars, but they take too long to raise my bg. I end up gorging on them and get a rebound high an hour later.


Definitely going to try Gatorade! That will also be good for my paranoid lows when my mouth is numb and I’m scared of choking. I’m also thinking icing like those little tubes would be easy to carry in my purse. But that’s something I can totally see myself finishing the whole tube because I love icing …


I keep a Gatorade in my backpack and use it similarly. I originally bought it from a vending machine in like a “oops I ran out of low treats” situation, and I still have it because I don’t tend to need much at one time


The funny thing about this is that over-treating lows is not typical for me anymore. I usually eat 4-6 glucose tablets and that’s it (more than most need, I know, but for some reason less often just does not work). The second low in that screen shot is more akin to most of my low treatments: often blood sugar rises to touch the top line then drops again slightly, I assume because whatever caused the original low is still driving blood sugar down even after I’ve treated it.

I do like the idea of a liquid glucose source. Those glucose shots are so expensive. Maybe Gatorade would be a good substitute if it’s just as fast.


I always try to keep Gatorade close by (backpack, desk, car). Great for bringing a low up quick.


I can relate. Sometimes I really feel like shoving it in!
I’m not a zealot but the best way for me to not bounce up and down is to eat fairly low carb, especially at night. I find if I don’t need to cover a pile of carbs I’m much less likely to miscalculate.
I also use glucose tabs, they keep me out of the kitchen and there is no ambiguity about how much I’m shoveling.

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I agree here. I ate fairly low carb (<50 g/day) for over a year. I stopped only because I have multiple food allergies that include dairy and eggs and I travel a fair bit and can’t eat out due to my food allergies. So it just became way too restrictive and stressful for me. But it definitely helped keep things far more stable.

I only use glucose tablets. I can’t keep any other candy or junk food around or I want to eat it when I’m not low. Using glucose tablets helps me not over-treat lows. Problem is that this over-treatment was driven by fear that I’d continue dropping all night from the insulin on board, so I knowingly ate exactly the number of grams I’d need to soak up those six units of insulin. So glucose tablets don’t help those types of situations. :slight_smile:

I’ve mentioned it to my parents, since they already check in with me and freak out if they don’t get a response. But my mom said it would just stress her out seeing my blood sugar go up and down each day without being able to know the circumstances or do much of anything about it. And aside from my parents I would have friends following, which I would just feel strange about. I always have 9-1-1 if I feel I’m really in dire trouble, and I have come close to calling on occasion (not necessarily from diabetes). I think followers would make more sense if there was a feature in the app to alert them only for certain situations, such as your blood sugar has been low for an hour with no rise and no response to the alerts from you (or perhaps the same for a high that lasted more than, say, eight hours with no response or drop, indicating possible DKA). Something that would indicate things might be more serious than just an average low.


I am one of those who is in good control. Around 95% in range. But yesterday. I played pickle ball. CGM said 108. Stopped by mall started feeling a little low, checked and meter said 63 with arrow saying was falling. Ate 2 glucose tabs. Minutes later meter said 149. And rising. Didn’t make much sense but you just deal. All these meters and sensors are fallible and would have checked but I did feel low.

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