Hypoglycemia --the condition, not the episode

Can anyone help me understand how lows for folks diagnosed as hypoglycemic differ from our lows as far as prevention and treatment? My husband has this dx and because my T1D is my only frame of reference for insulin reactions, I have trouble not freaking out about his lows and reconciling how to advise him on what to carry with him for treatment. Especially when he tells me it happened in the middle of a golf hole and he didn’t have anything with him and had to wait until he got to the snack shack at the turn before he could get anything. I have always seen my insulin reactions as so emergency that that delay really disconcerts me.

I’m pretty sure that, barring rare medical conditions, it’s not likely that someone without diabetes will experience a life-threatening low. Those of us with Type 1 have abnormal insulin levels that drive down our blood glucose and have counterregulatory systems that do not respond to the low blood glucose. Therefore, if we did nothing, our blood glucose could literally hit 0. People without diabetes, even though they may go low, have pancreases that can decrease the amount of insulin being produced and have counterregulatory systems that will respond to a low once it hits a truly dangerous level. Unless there is something else going on, I think it’s pretty much impossible for someone without diabetes to have their blood glucose drop so low that it becomes truly life-threatening. (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.)

I still think it’s important for people with hypoglycemia to always have snacks on them. I’ve heard that people with hypoglycemia should avoid carbohydrates as it causes their pancreas to release insulin that could lead to another low. But there may be someone here who has had hypoglycemia in the past who could speak more to the types of food that would be good to have on hand than I can.

I am a big fan of Elovate. The cool part this can be placed in a pants pocket and it is thinner than a few paper dollars. The product works like a champ for low blood sugar. It works fast, does not taste too bad and best of all it works wonders.


My understanding is the same as Jen’s, but I really want to emphasize this part:

Yes, yes, and yes. Regardless of why a low occurs, whether it stems from diabetes or anything else, it has the potential to create great danger—if, just to mention one possible example, the individual is driving a car.

Before I was diagnosed with T1D, I experienced a few memorable episodes of reactive hypoglycemia. I say “reactive” because they happened a few hours after a carb-heavy breakfast. I do remember driving during one of these incidents but I didn’t think it compromised my safety. I was irritable, sweaty, and a candy bar cured the symptoms.

It would be easy for your husband to carry some glucose tablets to treat his hypoglycemia.

Many, many years before becoming a T1 diabetic, I had frequent episodes of hypoglycemia.

When pregnant with my second child, I developed Lupus and was put on 80mg of prednisone per day to stop a miscarriage. I had two separate glucose tolerance tests and my blood sugar never went over 70, it did drop to 60 and I was shaky.

I never could eat donuts, pancakes with syrup or drink very high carb replacement meals. Thirty minutes after consuming any of those foods I would get shaky, irritable and have “heart palpitations”. I have wondered if the low blood sugars were an indication of a future problem. I was always a very thin, healthy, physically active person.

To your question: My blood sugar never went to such a low reading that I was in danger. I was in the army, working in hospital, so was able to get blood sugar checked whenever I was feeling funny.