Individual "low" and "high" ranges?

Hi everyone,
I’m new (to both the forum and diabetes). I have a question about to what extent people can differ in their personal ranges for lows and highs.

I know from browsing this forum, etc. that, for example, some people might start to feel shaky at 80, while others might not feel “low” until 55.

So, this is where the question gets a little complicated. I know that some of this what level of glucose one has been exposed to over the past few weeks, etc, but does anyone know if people can have a kind of “innate” or “natural” glucose level that their body feels good at? If so, would this just be a difference in perception or actually in what levels one’s body can best function at?

Why I ask: immediately after I was diagnosed and came down of the unknown high I’d been riding I’ve felt crappy any time I go over about 130, dizzy at 160, but feel my best (mentally and physically) at 70 or so. I don’t have any low symptoms until I’m at 40. Can this be hypoglycemic unawareness, even though I was just diagnosed?

Also, thanks, everyone, for being out there as a resource. I need all the help I can get–I’ve been so depressed since being diagnosed, developed such bad associations with my identity now and my future, that I hate the very sound of my own name. Seeing all you guys smiling in your profile pictures helps some.

Welcome! Love the pic of your kitty.

Hope you’ll ask whatever you need to know. You can also use the search feature to find past discussions on every topic imaginable.

Feeling angry, depressed & overwhelmed are normal reactions. Impossible not to be. Your future is in your hands, as it’s always been. Diabetes won’t limit what you can do. We’ve got members here who are mountain climbers, marathon runners, sky divers, long distance cyclists, doctors & more.

What helped me was learning everything I could. Armed with knowledge made me feel more in control & certainly less scared. Take it one step at a time.

What do you mean "bad associations with your indentity? It’s not your fault! There’s nothing to be ashamed of, if that’s how you feel. Yep, it sucks, but, there’s nothing you could have done to prevented diabetes. Know how it feels that your body has let you down. Know how it feels to be broken. Understand the “why me?” & the utter unfairness you feel. You’re not alone there. Hating this disease is normal, but please try not to hate yourself for having it.

Technically, lows are considered below 70. You could have hypoglycemic unawareness, even though you were just diagnosed. It seems that there are quite a few of us who were hypogylcemic for years before being diagnosed. I was one. I was hypo for many years. I’d get cranky, feel out of it & starving. Soon as I ate, I was fine.

Hypo awareness is also variable, though I have no idea why… Sometimes I’ll feel fine at 45 & awful at 60.

I regard 60-70 as a hypo, but a very very minor hypo. That’s not to be confused with much more severe hypos that have landed me in the ER with 911 calls and ambulance trips over the past 30 years. Numbers like 150-180 I don’t feel optimal but I know they can be corrected easily; numbers above 240 are harder to correct and they really start to make me feel sluggish.

Thinking back on my 30 years with T1 and hypos:

Just as bg begins dipping below 80, into the 70-60 region, one of the body’s first hypo symptoms in many (including me) is to release adrenaline. True mental confusion comes for me in the low 60’s or below. But just as the adrenaline comes on in the 60’s or 70’s there’s a very curious phenomenon:

This adrenaline’s first effects is to get our bodies ready for action, get our minds ready for speedy decisions, etc. It’s something like a caffeine buzz.

I don’t want to sound like I ever “abused insulin” to get this effect (in fact 60 or 70 is very minor hypo territory) but I noticed this hyper-alertness at that particular bg range long long ago.

Just like a caffeine junkie I probably yelled most at people or sent off rude E-mails at that stage too :-).

If you ever read a newspaper article about a T1 who was having a hypo while driving, and they didn’t stop and correct their blood sugar but kept on driving until their bg got lower and resulted in a crash, I blame this buzz on it. When that adrenaline starts flowing, it’s really hard to stop. The adrenaline makes you GO. And you want to GO FASTER. You can’t go FAST ENOUGH. It is very easy for logic to get overruled by the adrenaline urge. And it gets overruled because all of a sudden the most important thing is to GO, GO FAST, KEEP GOING.

But really what we have to do is make a very minor correction to bring our bg up just a little bit.

I can range from 42 to 400+. When I am running higher as an average - like around 250 I wold start having reaction feelings when I was about 100. Now that my average is lower I am having hypoglycemia unawareness - my first indication I might be low (in the 40’s to 60’s) will be my eyesight going dark. Which I immediately go for the glucose tabs, then test.

Please remember that you are not a diabetic - but a person who happens to have diabetes. It makes a difference. Diabetes is like any other chronic condition - like high blood pressure. You have to go to the classes, learn how to address the issues, and take whatever type of medicine is required. It does encroach alot into your life, but it will become second nature.

There will be good days, and not so good day. But tomorrow is always another day - another day to set the goal to eat, etc along your diabetic goals - which really are healthy goals. Everyone seems to want healthy goals and those of us with diabetes are no different.

I am very open with my diabetes - I hopoe you will learn to be also. Have a blessed day!

I think, as I understand it, our ‘range’ is the one our bodies have gotten used to being in… Where we won’t have bad feelings of being high, or being low… The problem is that if we spend too much time high, or too much time low, we get used to being at those levels and then it becomes harder and harder to tell if we are too high, or too low… So it becomes harder to know when to correct, or when to treat. Anything lower than a 70 probably ought to be treated in order for us to avoid becoming hypo unaware because it can be very dangerous to be dropping like crazy, and not be able to catch it on time, especially if we are in public, or driving, etc…

Thanks for the reply Gerri,

I guess what I’m confused about is how could I have already been used to the low ranges when I was must have been running in the 300s everyday for months? My A1C was 12.8.

And fortunately, not my kitty. Happens to be a monster cat that lives with my parents and attacks me on sight.

Hi there! And Welcome - I am relatively new too so I know where you are at! :slight_smile:

To answer your question about lows and highs, I think it might vary day by day too depending on other factors too on how you feel at certain numbers. For me, my numbers are mostly within “non-diabetic” ranges since I started on Metformin and low carb diet. I feel “normal” at numbers below 100. If I go in like the 105 to 120 - my tongue gets dry and I hate that - but other than that I feel OK over a 100 - but haven’t been over 120 since 2 months ago. My tongue was dry right before I was diagnosed and it took several weeks of below 100 numbers for it to go away and now I notice that if my tongue starts feeling dry after I eat - I know my 2 hour number might be close or over 100 (athough this really only seems to happen at breakfast - but it can take a bit for my tongue to feel better again).

But I like anything between 70 and 90 - I feel “safe” at those numbers - maybe it is psychological but I think because I know those are “normal” (non-diabetic) people numbers and in my mind I like to think of myself (if even for just a moment) and a normal healthy person without D. Makes me feel better. I am lucky that my numbers do stay like that alot.

Havent’ had any lows after I was diagnosed and on meds and testing that I know of that made me feel like crap (I did BEFORE though but wasn’t testing than so don’t know how low the numbers were - but I felt crappy) but some of those might have been high numbers too but I think they were lows based on the symptoms. My lowest now was 64 on waking but I felt fine at that.

I felt exactly how you felt when I first found out (about two months ago actually! although honestly it seems like longer!) and I was so angry and depressed - I had panic attacks.One second I would feel ok and the next I couldn’t stop crying. (maybe those were lows or highs causing some of that too). I felt like a sick person had entered my body and the old me went away to find a fresh healthy body to live it and it didn’t want to have anything to do with me anymore. I was especially upset because I always thought of myself as a healthy person (being a veg for 20 years) and I am skinny - I never took into account bad genes. I kept saying to myself “No, no - NOT me. This can’t happen to me. This is for unhealthy people.” I still feel mad and cheated in a way but I don’t think about it as much as I did 2 months ago. I still hate the fact that this is something “I cant get out of” - if you know what I mean.

But after a while, you will start to adjust and make the best of it. It seems hard to believe now I know but you will.I thought I would never feel better never again - but I do now. I mean, what else can you do right? You are sort of stuck with this thing. Once you have some “control” of it, you will find it easier to deal. For myself, I have figured out a low carb diet for myself that works and the Metformin is like a miracle worker with my numbers. I dont know if you have gone to a diabetes class yet or are having trouble with the diet but it really helped me understand how to control my diet. I was happy to learn I can still stay veg on this - which is very important to me. This forum helped me ALOT. So many people here with so much experience and they are willing to tirelessly answer all your newbie questions. I felt like a big dumb dork because I knew nothing about carbs or sugars (never had to worry about that stuff before!). But I know EXACTLY where you are at just experiencing it myself not to long along.

But don’t let it ruin your life is what I learned. There is definatley an adjustment period so don’t beat yourself up - because most people have it in some form (even those in denial) - with time, knowledge you will get the hang of it. :slight_smile: