Bloodsugar Lows

I know the damage that high bloodsugars cause us, but what kind of damage do bloodsugar lows cause to our bodies?

I used to hear that too Hannah - but these days people are saying that’s a load of cough

Apparently there was even a study that says we’re fine. There’s short term stuff going on - the discomfort, the annoyances, the disruption… but supposedly no need to worry about long term damage.

This does of course depend on how low you go! If you’re seriously low, passed out for hours, and take a long time to recover that may be a different story. But for your average low - even if you do pass out but recover quickly - it’s no big deal. Or so I’m told… and I tend to believe it. Unless the brain is truly starved I doubt any damage could be done.

There was some study published in the past year that seemed to show that the idea that lows cause brain damage was wrong. I’d go to and search their newsletter to find the report. They cover all the diabetes news.

Unfortunately, my CDE is so afraid that my lows will cause me to have… umm… brain… ummm… (sorry, couldn’t resist).

I don’t think the occasional low will cause brain damage. My CDE wants me to run high for 3 (or more) weeks because of my Hypoglycemic Unawareness, but I test so often that I catch a low as soon as I get into the sixties. Now when my blood sugar hits 120, I feel like I am running high (fatigue, muscle pain, thirst, etc.)

I have been running in the 70 to 90 range (and dropping to 60 something) on a fairly regular basis, and my CDE keeps going on about the brain damage stuff. My last 6 A1c’s have been in the 5.something range and I feel great, but she wants me to run higher and I am against it. Thank you soooo much Jenny for pointing me to that study. I sent my CDE the link, and hopefully it will quiet her down (because I am not going to change how I am keeping my blood sugars).

Karen, I met a a gentleman in his early eighties, who told me he was diagnosed type 1 when he was 7. He said he had no complications from his diabetes. I asked him how he did it, and he said he worked most of his life doing very physical work (State Department of Transportation, and continues to stay active now) and had frequent lows, but doubted he hardly ran high at all (“doubted” because there was hardly a way he could tell when he was young).

Now, I have had some pretty bad things happen to me when I went low (before my frequent testing that I do now). I have several scars from bad lows, have lost some friends over bad lows (when I said something I really shouldn’t have), and destroyed property (mostly my own). I guess the scars are the only thing I can think of that would answer the what can happen to our bodies question.

It’s a tough balancing act… constant highs almost guarantee complications, and lows can cause immediate bad problems as well. My present choice is to keep a constant watch on what the scale (my blood sugar) says.


I had asked my endocronologist this when I was pregnant, as I was worried about the harm to the fetus. He said other than the immediate possible harm to myself, there were no complications to the fetus. I would assume if it wouldn’t harm a babies brain, it wouldn’t harm mine!

I found this article


I’m not a rat Richard! (that was supposed to come off humorously)

This article is about an extreme low, where a coma is involved. If the symptoms apply to humans (which hasn’t been proven in the article), then giving glucose to reverse a hypoglycemic induced coma might be bad. Thanks for pointing that out… although I’m not sure how I could put it to use if I was the one coming out of a low blood sugar coma.



I do hear about type 1s who died in their sleep after a bad low. That scares me. Bad low -> heart attack?

A legal case I found on the net: California - a type 1 diabetic on his way to an early morning dialysis. He did not eat before the appt (to help avoid the nausea that can occur with dialysis) He was killed when he had a low and ran head-on into another car. Several in the other car were killed and/or injured; I don’t remember. The relatives and/or survivors sued the deep pockets (the kidney doc who treated the man…
The suit maintained that the doctor was negligent by failing to report the type 1 to the state for being a potentially dangerous driver. The relatives and/or survivors’ won in the law suit against the doctor.

No winners here, sad for everyone. Stuff like that does potentially hurt the whole type 1 population… I found that case googling about 4 years ago, but haven’t been able to find it again.

I always thought so, my memory has gotten so horrific…I sometimes can remember complete conversations, and I have noticed, starting about 5years ago, that my brain is slower, it just like a delay, it takes me longer to process information, My daughter even made me ask the Dr. to test for early Alzeihmers. I failed the office quick test, he sent me for a CAT scan, and he said it showed nothing wrong. I did have some serious lows the first 10 years of my Diabetes. Two or 3 times couldn’t be woken up and 991 was called. The worst one I had to have been out for hours, because of the rug burns on my legs (fell on the floor going to get orange juice) were so bad and noone knew I was there til my daughter got up for school. Also have become a little dylexic around 40 years old. I have always thought it was from the lows, but I don’t know how that would show on a CAT scan. Like to hear if anyone else has similar experiences.

My endo told me that diabetics, as a general rule, have very poor short term memories. Can’t find it now, but I did read some studies about this. If I’m remembering this correctly (who me–memory loss!), it didn’t have to do with lows, but with highs.

interesting about the highs, I’ve had a lot of them too. I’ll have to do some research. It just seems if you are unconscious for a few hours your brain is not getting enough oxygen. Is there anything we don’t have to worry about being diabetic?

I was diagnosed in 1945 when I was 6. I did not know I was supposed to use a low carb diet until the mid 1980’s. So I ate a very high carb diet for 40 years. The only thing my doctors told us during those early years was to not eat sugar. I never ate any sugary food for 40 years but I had hundreds of carbs every day. I used insulin from animals and had many highs and lows as my carb intake varied throughout the day. I could not test my blood sugar. I tested my urine instead. There were times I was unconscious for as much as 30 minutes while my parents, and later on my wife, fed me water with sugar. Now, after 63 years of diabetes, I am 69 and I have some minor nerve damage but no other complications. My short term memory is not so good but I think that is due to my age, not my diabetes. My memory of my childhood is very sharp but don’t ask me what I had for breakfast yesterday. Lol! I doubt that the highs and lows we experience affect our memories. I have researched this and found that prolonged lows with unconsciousness can cause brain damage. Sleeping when there isn’t anyone present to look after us can be dangerous.

I am having good control now and I do not have dangerous highs and lows because I am pumping insulin. The pump is definitely offers the best possible control. Good luck to all of you!


What day is it ? What am i doin’ here ?

Richard, that’s a long time to have D, you are very lucky to be in such good health, I know my grandmother died early from complications due to the D, she tried her best to manage with what they had at the time. I also would like to know if hypos cause any permanent damage. I understand that if we go into a coma, some brain damage can occur, not always of course.

I do have brain damage from to many severe lows. I used to get them on MDI.
My speech gets stuck
My hand coordination is off mostly in my fingers, typing and things like that are hard.
My memory is gone the for days at a time before the really bad lows hit.

This happened the first 2 years of DM when I did not know any better and would have lows everyday as well as pass out many times a week. The damage got worse with every major low I had. Thankfully it has not stopped since I have been on a pump. But I can say for a couple years I let my sugar run high terrified I would become a mental vegetable.

I don’t think a general low once in a while would cause this though.
Be well and be loved

No! No! Do not tell me this. Shoot. Now I don’t have a reason anymore to stop giving myself massive amounts of insulin. (I mean, except for the massive headaches and the bruises I give myself…and the broken bones…and the near drowning…you know, I should really give myself less insulin.)

But, seriously? I’ve always been sure that, because of all the lows I’ve had, I was going to get alzheimers when I was about 35.

Thanks for much for your respones and this website. I am finally glad to speak to people who live the same life, and have similar problems, that noone else really understands, you can’t properly explain it to people, they don’t understand, they just think u eat right, u have no problems, appreciate the company!

silly me I meant to say it has stopped since being on a pump no “has not stopped”
be loved
looking around for Dave to come tease me since I make these errors so often

not your fault Laura, probably the brain damage, right? Have you experienced any dyslexia that you didn’t have before?