How much time do your lows allow you to react to them?

Hi Everybody,

now that I require quite a bit more insulin then before I m also experiencing many more lows.
I have noticed that they can come on pretty fast,surprisingly fast: my BG sometimes can drop 20-40 points within a few minutes – because I m extra cautious at the moment and testing a lot I usually catch them in their 60s, and treat immediately.
So far so uncomfortable ;)

I m wondering though how much time I would have if I wasn't able to test or treat right away...
Could people maybe share their experiences on how much time on average would go by between their first signs of feeling low to the moment where it becomes hard to treat on their own, because their thinking might get fuzzy or they might even get close to passing out..I m sure this is an individual thing and that it also depends on how much insulin is on board, if physical activity is involved etc..I just would feel a bit more secure if I had a ball park sort of idea of how fast I would have to react if ever in the situation where I couldnt treat or measure right away...(If Im in a pool SWIMMING for example)
And I m definitely too much of a sissy to self-experiment ;-) ..well at least for now...
Your uncomfortable experiences would be very much appreciated ;) Thank you!

I answered a bit more detail in the original thread, but just want to add this. I don't really think anyone can quantify it that exactly. But assuming you are hypo aware and/or test frequently (especially with exercise) I don't think the interval before you are in real danger is going to anywhere near that short (as in getting out of the pool and getting to your glucose tablets in the locker room!). To give you some perspective: You say you usually treat in the 60s. Some of us (like me) don't even treat until below 60. We vary in how low we can go and be able to act, but I've been in the 30s several times and got down to 28 once and was still acting rationally and logically. So keep the glucose tablets nearby (I always have mine in my purse and we all know how close we girls keep our purses!) and you should be just fine.

i had a LOW on my meter one time, which means it was below 20 and it just hit me, when I was still honeymooning, thankfully I was at my doctor's office because I was on the verge of convulsing, couldn't stand up. had a low of 40 last week that hit like a ton of bricks and I wasn't doing anything other then watching TV....I think it was an increase of basal and a correction that did it. But, usually I can catch them. I have a CGM but my CGM didn't even buzz me until 15 minutes later saying I was 43. Since that day, I'm now very nervous about lows.

The short answer is that you’ll always have time to take effective counter-measures. Unfortunately, I’ve found that when I was involved in a project that really engaged my attention, I wouldn’t think about going low and it would sneak up on me.

Other times my body became desensitized to lows and I would not get the rush of adrenaline and a sweaty brow. This is what hypoglycemia unawareness is. When in doubt, always test. I’ve been amazed to test and find out I was at 32 and didn’t feel low at all. I’ve even asked people that were with me if they thought I was acting strangely or different. They couldn’t tell either!

It can be tricky and if you take insulin you should never lose sight of the possibility of going low. Having your emergency glucose handy is the key. If I want to speed up my glucose tabs, I’ll chase them with a glass of water.

You are so new at this. Just pay attention and never go anywhere without your low stuff. It’s kind of like you’ve been given another full-time job!

I start to feel vaguely low when I am around 3.0 (55 mg/dl), and I'll treat right away. My symptoms at that level aren't being shaky and sweaty, more like feeling a bit weak. It's very vague and easy to miss. Sometimes I'll feel low when I'm a bit higher (say at 3.6 or 65 mg/dl) but two minutes later will be 2.8 (50 mg/dl), and I attribute my feeling low sooner to the fast drop.

My awareness of lows depends a lot on my blood sugars. If I go low more than two or three times a week, my awareness really drops off and I don't feel low until I'm really low. I'm in this situation now ... I felt "a bit" low the other day and tested at 1.9 (34 mg/dl). I tested today at 3.1 (56 mg/dl) and felt no hint of symptoms. I'm lucky I tested, because I had a lot of insulin on board still!

During exercise, it's very difficult to tell if I'm low, especially if I'm swimming. Usually if I'm swimming, getting dizzy is my first symptom. I keep glucose tablets on the pool deck, because I personally would be nervous of not making it to the locker room. When I'm exercising on land, I always have glucose tablets in my pocket, even if I'm using the exercise room in my apartment building. I learned that lesson the hard way ... Went one time a few months ago with nothing, suddenly felt like I was going to pass out and almost fell off the treadmill, and managed to make it up to my apartment but found my blood sugar was 2.1 (38 mg/dl).

I should probably note that I have had hypoglycemic unawareness since I was a kid. As a kid I had lows where I needed assistance from others on a fairly regular basis, because I would get extremely low without any symptoms. It's improved as an adult, but I think this may be due to the fact that I test 8-10x a day instead of the 4-5x I did as a kid, as well as improvements in insulin therapy.

I think, for you, as long as you always have glucose tablets or other treatment with you at all times, you should be okay!