Has anyone had a BG of under 20?

I was just curious if anyone has gone under 20 before and what they experienced. I’ve had a lot of very bad lows recently and last night my meter said LOW for the very first time. I was still conscious enough to take my BG and eat an apple. I started feeling very very depressed though and then I laid down and started feeling happier than I’ve ever felt in my life. The whole experience was quite strange and I’m glad I pulled through :slight_smile:

My mother goes below 20 fairly regularly and tends to remain somewhat coherent. She does start to hallucinate if she goes under 30.

Hi Jim,

does your mother’s meter claim to be able to accurately measure such low values.

if so, which brand is it?

No I just know from talking the EMTs and ER staff. My dad uses at least one hypo kit a month.


I use a generic Truetrack meter. I guess it reads between 20 and 600 mg/dl. Supposedly the lower you are the more accurate it is. Anyways.

Glad you’re ok! I’ve never been that low. I also feel depressed from lows & it’s the first symptom that hits. Never had the euphoria, though.

I went this low when i was inpatient, because the nurses on duty had NO IDEA how to treat diabetes, and injected large doses of long acting insulin intramuscularly. It was like hyperventilating at first, and then that feeling x100, and then spotty consciousness. When i came back it almost felt like some kind of drug withdrawal, probably due to abrupt stoppage in adrenaline secretion, but i always feel kind of drained/depressed when recovering from a low.

I have hit below 30 on two occasions. I feel my lows so I definitely felt those. But I remained remarkably coherent and articulate. I knew enough to call for my husband, recognizing I may not be steady on my feet and quickly came back up when he got me food. (I don’t do juice - it elevates me too quickly and I find it hard to control - although skim milk works nicely). But I never had feelings of depression or euphoria with a low. Also, during the period I was misdiagnosed as a T2, 500+ was not uncommon. I was also remarkably coherent at those levels although I did feel like my eyes were bulging out of my skull, Since learning I am T1 and using insulin - I never have highs. I now consider a high 180.

Years ago when I was on NPH, I had BS of 17 & 18 that happened 2 days in a row. I had a normal BS, took insulin & ate breakfast. I was sitting at my table drinking coffee and felt very strange and was surprised when I checked my BS to see how low it was.

This last March, I registered 13 on my Aviva meter. That one happened at night so I really don’t know if I passed out or fell asleep after treating it but I woke up really high the next morning – I think I ate a ton of glucose tablets. In July, I woke up to EMTs over me & they said my BS was 38. I am not sure why sometimes you can go lower than others without passing out.

I am so glad you are around to tell the story. I had a bad crash that required EMTs. The second BG test they took I was 25. That was after two huge syringes of dextrose. I have the feeling that when they wrestled me to the bed and checked I was in the high teens. In that case I don’t remember a thing. Not more than a week ago I woke up with a BG of 27. I was alert and able to treat and carry on a conversation.

I have had the depression with the onset, I’ve also had the extreme happiness feeling as well. What always makes me go “hmmmm” is I can get to 40 and be about as useful as a door knob. I’ve had 30s where I didn’t even know I was low. Usually at work and I’m still able to do my job. This diabetes thing can sure be capricious.

It’s time to lower the basal! Or … time to change the I:C ratio. Or …time to up the target. the only thing worse than a low is lots of 'em.

When I was first diagnosed with type-1 and slapped on Lantus (with very little explanation of how it worked), I had two nighttime lows that registered on a OneTouch at 9 and 11. I’m sure my BG’s were higher in reality. The only way to describe the feeling was a combination of dread, anxiety, and delirium. I honestly felt like I was going to die. Apparently Lantus can have a peak…

Since then I’ve gone on an Omnipod and do commonly experience lows, but I rarely ever drop under forty now.

I am also very surprised about the apple. Senseless like throwing stones on a tank.

Agree with John & Holger about using an apple, or any fruit, to treat a severe low. Fast acting glucose is what’s needed. The fiber in fruit slows the reaction. Tastes awful, but the quckest thing I’ve found is glucose gel. Comes in tubes in different flavors. Cake icing (also in convenient tubes) works quickly also. After you’ve raised BG, eat a small amount of protein to help keep it level.

Hello Cat:

Had a reading of 18 once upon a time. Did not believe it for a second. Had “shadows” keep a strict eye on me, with very precise orders, if they even perceived some difference I was drinking a half gallon of soda (sic. with a funnel -wg-). It was a false reading, in that case.

An apple is a BAD response to a low. Takes too long to breakdown to use the sugars eaten, digested.


Apple Juice

Regular Carbonated Soda


Absorbed very fast…much better plan. Using “food” to treat a low is not a smart idea, unless it is ICING. Normal food takes too long to be useful at a dangerous time.between consciousness and unconsciousness

Btw, don’t sweat the strange emotions, Your brain is deprived of necessary sugars to function and is shutting off higher brain functions, and the ability to express them like a nuclear blast door being slammed shut in an emergency.

Welcome to the club, sorry anybody is a member…


I have had several times my blood sugar was 17 or 18 and had not clue i was that low. I was lucky that i had randomly tested. I was talking with people and they had no idea i had low blood sugar either. Other times its in the 20’s and im not very coherent. I try to use glucose tabs, juice, or honey when im that low. Brings my blood sugars back up pretty quickly.

Hi Cat,
I can recall (vaguely) a couple of time where my BG went below 20. Glucose tablets and juice were my remedy (overdone, as is typical for me, but I tend to keep taking in sugar 'til I’m back to a safe level!). I was a bit spacy, but still conscious and somewhat aware. How you feel depends on a couple of things: (1) how far it is from where your sugars generally run. If you normally run around 80-90, you won’t feel it as bad as if you normally are 140-150. (2) how quickly your blood sugar is dropping, and if you’re still dropping. Fingersticks are suppose to be real-time measurements, whereas forearm or CGM measurements tend to lag, but they are still a snapshot in time and don’t give the full picture. This is why sometimes I feel lousy at a level of 60, but other times feel pretty much fine at 45.

It’s definitely a strange feeling, and a scary feeling (especially if you’re not sure if you took a double-dose of Lantus! been there…), but the happier-than-life feeling seems unusual to me. Was it a feeling of relief, or just an adrenaline high?

I’m very sorry to hear that. My condolences to you and your family.

I agree it wasn’t a very good choice and I have no idea why I went and got an apple when I had apple juice nearby! I’ll just blame it on the fact that my thinking wasn’t completely normal… :-/