Is there a "typical" BG range where you lose consciousness?

Hey all. Just wondering, how low does your sugar go when you are likely to lose consciousness? I know a low is anything below 70, but what range could I expect a black out? The reason I ask is my husband is uber paranoid about me going low during the night and he’s worried he’ll just think I’m sleeping when in fact I could be dying. So I’m looking to put him at ease a bit. He’s been waking me up every night when he comes to bed just to be sure and frankly, I’d like a COMPLETE night sleep for once. I’ve always kinda thought 30’s would be when I’d run the risk. What do you all think?

I’ve been as low as 32 and able to test and treat myself… I had a 38 a couple of weeks ago, and I can say from that, it reminds me very much of being drunk. Everything almost seems to slow down… it takes longer to think, and to do anything, which makes sense, as the brain is quite literally being starved of the very fuel it runs on… I think the exact level where you will “pass out” is different for everyone. I hope I never find out where that point is for me.

My husband worries too, but less so now that I wear a CGM… he’s learned what the various alarms mean, and he even knows that the high alarm makes a different sound than the low alarm. Is a CGM an option for you? It’s completely changed my D management, and it’s very reassuring for both of us… prior to getting mine I would go low at night at least a couple of times a week, and have at least one or two fairly severe nighttime lows a month. Now I won’t way that it’s completely eliminated all lows (as evidenced by the 38) but it has greatly reduced them… and it definitely doesn’t let me sleep through any :slight_smile:

It depends on the person. Some people pass out if they fall far below 50. I can be in the low 20s and still think just fine. For the most part, i’d say below 40 is the place where most people start having troubles with staying concious.

There’s this one girl at my school that was 585, having seizures and they had to get an ambulance. I’ve been over 600 before and had no problems (besides a headache). Every person is different on what they can take high and low wise. I can go extremely low or high, and not feel bad at all… other people might go into a coma above 500 or go unconscious below below 40.

All in all, it depends on the person. I’d say that below 40 would be a good range to give him since that’s where most people start getting fuzzy.

Not sure, but here’s my two cents. LOL my lowest was 43, could still do things just slow. My highest was at dx. and it was 672 (at age 52), the Dr.'s and nurses said it was kind of a minor miracle to them!!! All the nurses called me Sweetie!!!

I would say it depends on the person… Im not sure if it has something to do with physical endurance, strength or psychological will power. Coming from a long history of family relatives with diabetes… I have an aunt (T1) that was able to drive home with a bg of 40…and a cousin who passed out in a mall with a bg of 60. I passed out with a blood sugar of 399!

Because you are a sweetie!

I was hospitalized at 809 & one of my nurses said they’d had someone the week before at over 1000!

Good question. The lowest I’ve been was 28. I felt horrid, but I didn’t pass out. Never told my husband about it because he’s a worrier & used to get up in the middle of the night to make sure I was breathing.

Hope you get a good night’s sleep undisturbed.

I live alone and worry my bg–maybe to much but, today I felt a little odd on the drive home from work. when I got home my bg was 71 it dropped fast from a bg of 127 forthy-five minutes earlier. What meter do you use? I’ve checked mine against meters at hospital and fire departments and the bg numbers are always different from 9 to 50 points either way. I’d like to find a good meter I can count on.

It does depend on the person but below 40 there are no guarantees. Being that low the brain is running out of fuel. This is a condition that can only happen when healthy people are starving. Actually I think that Insulin is the mechanism for the body to control the priority of carb consumption. Muscles and Brain are independent from insulin. If the blood glucose is below 70 the insulin secretion of the body will be marginal. Thus the brain and muscles will always have high priority access to blood glucose. Their needs are covered first and the rest is for the body. The brain for example consumes 25% of our carb intake.

With external insulin we can overfeed our body. As a result the body can consume all carbs and then muscles and brain are running out of fuel. This basically means that high level operations of the brain will be impacted. One sign are the visual effects we all know. The high level operations have a high need in carbs and thus they are the first to get disturbed. The problem is that the brain has only a simple concept of important and less important areas. It can not decide to shutdown the visual system to save some carbs. You can lose consciousness and this means that the basic inner core of the brain is still doing its job. The state before loosing consciousness is very critical. The brain function is normally a harmonic concert of nerve pulses fueled by glucose. The less glucose the more erratic and disharmonic this concert will become. This disharmony can build up and this can trigger a seizure. If this actually happens depends on the person and its mental state. The seizure is dangerous because it can harm the brain and its lower life functions. I think most people will loose consciousness to prevent the seizure. I think it is this emergency shutdown that makes it less likely that insulin dependend diabetics will be killed by the seizure. I have heard that Insulin was used in the sixties to cause seizures in patients with mental illnesses (shown for example in the movie “a beautiful mind”). Some deaths later this “method” was considered a bad idea. It would be interesting how high the death rate per 100 “treatments” was. This could be a good indicator for the likelyhood of being killed by a insulin triggered seizure.

My bg meter has read as low as 14 (yes, 14!) and I’ve still been conscious.

The one time I’ve had a 911 call for a hypo where my wife found me unresponsive, the paramedics read my bg as 42 before giving me the glucagon.

Now, I regard both 14 and 42 as way too low, but maybe how my bg had gotten to that point had something to do with my remaining mental ability. I think the drop to 14 had been very fast, and the drop to 42 had been much more gradual and overnight.

I don’t think there’s a single magic number, below which I am unconscious and above which I am conscious.

I have an uber uber husband who can’t remember what I tell him.
Three things I used to calm him down & literally move him away from trying to control the big D. at night.

  1. I tested and took glucose tabs in front of him when I said goodnight. I said to him that these two halves would put me at 105 (anything above 100).
  2. I ensured the amount of Lantus I was on would NEVER put me below 70. (I happen to wake up at 70 I told him.)
  3. I told him how AWFUL it is to wake up at 70 and have to take more glucose tabs to fall asleep. Led him to believe I was likely to go high.

I also had a Dexcom for a year. There is no question I got better with #2 during that year.
I also have been fastidious about eating early enough in the evening that any compensation that has to be done is done early. No surprises.
Losing consciousness is an individual thing and it can be in the 40s.

I think it is actually kinda romantic that your husband worries about you. If you want him to stop worrying, then give him greater confidence that everything will be ok. Take special action to actually work with him to wake up and test and have greater confidence that you are ok. Are you hypo aware? Do you ever wake up low? Anytime you wake up low, wake your husband up and have him see you test and treat. If he knows you are waking up, he will be more comfortable. Can you borrrow a CGM? If you do, you can monitor your overnight levels and show him.

And finally, let me make three key observations:

  1. Despite rumors to the contrary, you don’t check to see if someone is passed out by checking to see if they are breathing.

  2. If you are bothered by getting up at night, you better not get a dog.

  3. If you have a baby, getting up at all hours of the night is “nothing,” you will also be horribly sleep deprived.

Lowest I’ve been is 52 and I never want to feel like that again. Now I rarely even hit the 70s. 70s make me feel like crap now. I always take my lantus in the morning, at night would make me go too low.

I have been as low as 40 and never passed out. Do you feel you hypos? Because I do, and I wake up when I have them all the time. BTW, my cat has frequently woken me up when I am going too low. Not sure of that is just coinicidence though.

Jeez, I doubt I’ll be able to sleep for days. Yes, hypos can be very serious and having them when you asleep can be doubly troublesome. But, Devon is a type 2, with a basal that is but a small fraction of her TDD. I think she (and her husband) certainly should be careful and prudent and take appropriate care to avoid and treat hypos overnight. But one must keep everything in context. If her husband reads your post, he may well stand over her bed refusing to let her go to sleep.

I think you are very right, you should be very diligent with your regime so that, with great confidence, your blood sugar stays within safe bounds overnight. Don’t manage by reaction, make sure that you, go to bed with proper blood sugar levels, avoid excess insulin on board, etc.

And I’m sorry about your friend.

I am sometimes a bit assertive. But, you made me wet my pants first.

Hi All! Thank you for your responses. Yes, I am Hypo Aware. I’m pretty lucky that way I guess. I myself have never gone extremely low, with the exception of a 47 once, and I was really, really sleepy. I was just looking for a “magic number” to tell my husband to kinda ease his mind. All your stories really helped. I think he’s starting to understand a little more. I think the difficulty lies in the fact that I have been running in the high 300 for YEARS, and now that I’m having BG readings of 80 and 90, he’s worried that it is too low. He hasn’t quite accepted yet, that it is normal to be in that range. He’s coming around though. I love that he worries, but I hate that he is worried, you know?!

I second the get a dog part. Dogs have this REALLY annoying tendency to randomly wake up and start barking IN YOUR EAR…

I’ve never lost consciousness from a low BG, although I have lost my memory of the event quite a few times.

The lowest I’ve been is “LO” (below 10) and I was shaking but able to take glucose gel. Second lowest was 23, in math class, and I could still do math, but I felt close to passing out. Third lowest was 29, during the night, and I felt like I would pass out but I was okay.

I pass out frequently, so I might have built up some tolerance. However, I’d say I almost always get them if I go below 20. I sometimes get them below 30. Above 30, I’m slightly loopy but able to take care of myself.

However, if you get that low while you’re sleeping, a person’s going to know you’re that low. (I probably shouldn’t say that; symptoms of lows vary from person to person, but, in almost all cases, you’re going to have symptoms.) I always have a seizure. I have no idea what it looks like, but people who see it know something’s happening.

Some side notes: if you’re sleeping and you get low, you’re more likely to pass out, because you’re not conscious to treat it while it drops. However, if you have someone with you, they can take care of you. My roommates can tell when I got to 30 or so, because I start talking to myself and thrashing around. They’ll wake me up and give me something.

Anyway, basically, I’d tell him not to worry. Even if you have a seizure and pass out, tell him you’ll survive. It’s not the horrific incident he thinks it is. (Someone’s going to come on and tell me that it is. It’s true, lows are bad, but right now we’re trying to calm your husband down. Even in the worst case scenario, it’s probably not going to kill you. It’s just going to make you feel really awful.)