Like Gerri said you got it exactly right. By the way, “whys” are the driving force of civilization. Without “why” we (diabetics) would still be stuck in some primitive thinking about our condition and we wouldn’t have all the life saving technology we use on a daily basis. If there is one type of question I will never refuse to answer (as long as I can) it’s the one that includes “why.”
As for your question about massive swings: There was a discussion here earlier (a few weeks ago) about low BGs being life threatening or not. I did a quick search to answer the question and found that studies have shown that the constant fluctuation of BG causes more damage to your body than a constant high. I don’t remember the technical aspect of the whole thing, but you can google it if you want. You can also find the info in that book everybody here is calling the “diabetic bible” (I can’t remember the name of it now for some reason but it’s by Walsh).
Also, two days ago I had my last A1C and my doc was telling me the same thing. I still need to drop it, but he warned me not to do it too fast because there is a strong correlation between big drops (and raises) in A1Cs and death.
I love to use examples when explaining myself so here goes my example with regards to your question/observation (the one Gerri and I agree you got exactly right).
Imagine you are on a motorcycle. Driving at 20 mph you still have to think about all the variables on the road (traffic, animals, laws, road signs, bad drivers, weather, your abilities, the bikes capabilities, road conditions etc). Should something go wrong while you are riding at 20 mph you have a greater chance of avoiding it or even surviving it. You don’t have to be as alert when driving slow because your natural reactions are adequate. Increase your speed to 120 mph and it’s a different story. Suddenly that car that pulls out in front of you without looking is life threatening. At high speeds you don’t see him fast enough, you can’t react fast enough, and the consequences are more severe.
I think that example kind of went down hill, but I hope you get what I’m saying.