Do we become more sensitive to changes in blood sugar?


#1

I’m curious for those of you who have had diabetes since you were younger (or if you are parents as well), do you think you’ve become more or less sensitive to highs and lows as you got older?

I woke up really high this morning and have spend the better part of the day trying to get it down, and all day I’ve been feeling high (thirsty, having to use the washroom, blurry vision, tired, etc.). I don’t remember feeling this way when I was younger, even though I know there were days when my mom did as I’m doing and it took all day to get my blood sugar down. Maybe I did feel this way and just don’t remember, though.

I also used to be able to go extremely low when I was younger and feel perfectly fine, which unfortunately caused some bad reactions on a few occasions, but now I feel low at much higher levels (although it still doesn’t put me out of commission until I’m really , really low). This does depend somewhat on control, though, if I go low more than a few times a week it’s easy to get to where I can’t feel them very well.

I wonder if it’s just me or if others have had this happen (or maybe the opposite). I theorize that it’s partly because I’ve had to become more aware of how my body is feeling as I took over diabetes management during my teens.


#2

I have had db for 33 years and ran around totally uncontrolled until about the last 7. I could go on an all-day bike trip with a bg of 300 and still have tons of energy. Now, if I’m over 200 I have no energy and feel just awful. And yes, the symptoms persist after I’ve gotten back down to target range - like a hangover that the body’s trying to clear.
I don’t know how I felt when low in my early days because there was no bg monitoring. And, because I was high most of the time I rarely had lows.
I think the better your day to day control gets, the worse you feel when you deviate from it.
This was a great question.


#3

I have had diabetes for 45 years. During my childhood,my bg was often high. We could only check the glucose in urine! I also had hyps. I did NOT feel bad when my sugar was high. I think as you get older you do feel worse when the bg is high. In 2004 I got a insulin pump and at last was able to really achieve excellent numbers. Now I feel terrible when my bg is high. Why? I think it is a combination of two things. The first is that I do think you feel it more the older you get. Secondly I think that if your body gets use to correct bg values it you feel a high value more quickly. I think it is good that I feel terrible when my bg is too high - it motivates me to get it back into range! Hypo are a bit different. If you keep your bg level low, you definitely increease your hypo unawareness. However if my bg is dropping quickly, at any level, I usually feel like I am having a hypo; even if I am not having one. This is kind of good b/c it warns you to pay attention - you might soon have a hypo. Unless my bg is dropping very quickly I only feel a hypo when my bg is below 45mg/dl. This means I have to test a lot when I think it might be low b/c I often will not feel it. Yesterday I had 41mg/dl and I felt just fine. Then it is easy to tell yourself you do not need to treat it - and THAT is dangerous!


#4

I agree with Kathy and Chrissie. I think it has to do with the numbers you are used to. I’ve had tighter control lately. I used to feel OK at 200 but now 150 sends me running to the bathroom.


#5

I know that over the years I’ve became way less sensitive to the lows and highs. I’ve had it for 34 years though.


#6

Same here - i used to be able to get by with rarely testing - i have become hypo and hyper unaware for about 5 years

Dexcom has helped me tremendously - and also has helped me note how i feel when i hit 70 or 250 -


#7

I’ve had Type 1 for 20 years and for the first 11 I had no insurance, no control, no MDI. I know my BG was sky high all the time and sometimes I’d feel awful but I got used to feeling like that and didn’t think much about it. Now I don’t really feel much with a high BG. I do get very annoyed once I see the number on my meter, but that’s more mental than physical. I test my BG a lot now so I can catch highs before they get out of control. I no longer feel lows unless I get down to the 30’s. The pump has helped me regain a few symptoms when I get very low like that but just 2 years ago I would have continued doing whatever I was doing until I passed out.


#8

I’m a 49 yo male and a 45 year survivor, with all my toes and fingers still intact. I’m much less sensitive to lows and highs now. I used to joke that I could tell my glucose level within 10 pts. by feel alone. I think neuropothy is the culprit. I don’t feel a lot of things as severely now as I used to.
I’m interested in finding other 45+ year survivors. If there’s a support group, I’d love to hear about it.
Larry


#9

I think it has a lot more to do with glycemic control than age. If your body’s used to being in the 200s, those levels feel normal. Same thing happens if you get low too often. When I was not in great control I used to feel fine at 250 and ok at 350, and I would start to feel low at around 100 - but over the past year I’ve tightened things up considerably and I now start feeling sluggish at 160 and feel my lows at around 65. I think using a CGM has been really helpful, because I’ve learned to recognize what it feels like when my BG first starts rising/falling.


#10

YES.

And I’m talking about ability to function, not awareness. I used to be able to “handle” 40s and 300s better than I can now “handle” 60s and 220s.

I think that parts of my body are simply becoming worn out from too many highs and lows (over dozens of years), and just can’t deal with the stresses as well as they used to. There’s a “you’re just getting old” factor, too, but I think my problems are worse than that-- reflecting a real problem handling abnormal bG levels as well as I used to.