Low blood sugar

When my blood sugar is low (45-60). Does this mean, I have not taken in enough carbs?

There are many reasons someone has a low sugar. If you just had a meal, it could be because you didn’t eat enough. Exercise can make a low. Too much insulin can also make a low. Most of the time, though, it is because not enough carbs were consumed.

Dear DeAndre.

This is one possibility when you get that low quickly eat something really sugary like a slice of bread. The starch turns into 100% blood sugar rapidly. Some people go low exercising but not me we just did 1 1/2 hours of somewhat strenous X-country skiing and the blood sugar is higher. This seems to violate the first law of thermodynamics but as my friend Dr. Cox said exercise is stressful and will raise the adreneline and cortisol levels in the body and in some people that really raise the blood sugar. The fight or flight mechanism.

First and foremost treat your LO with fast acting carbs ; my preference DEX-4 glucose pills, 15 grams ; other choices apple juice , acts faster than o.jc. Check BG again after 15-20 minutes, repeat if needed.
You may still have had " insulin on board" from your previous bolus dose ; People may have the fast acting insulin last 3, 4 or even 5 hours …this is where is gets trickey and one needs to finger poke regularly .
Have you had a chance to see a dietitian , CDE and has the person discussed " glycemic index and glycemic load " ? Not all cabs are digested at the same speed, for instance pasta takes much longer to increase blood sugar, than white bread, mashed potatoes ( I stay away from the last 2 items ) .Higher fat contents items , such as pizza play real havoc with my BG and I choose to stay away from them , except in Italy …quite a different crust with less fat and yet yummy .
Welcome to TuDiabetes and wish you well !!

I see you’re a Type 1 on shots. There are a couple of factors to take into consideration when you have low blood sugar:

  1. Matching your insulin and carb intake. You could either have taken in too much insulin, or eaten too few carbs.

  2. Exercise. It can cause lows, particularly if you have insulin working through your system.

  3. Stress can cause both lows and highs.

How often do you have lows? Do they happen at a regular time? What have you done in the previous couple of hours before a low?

Dear DeAndre and nel peach.

Glycemic index and glycemic load may be un-American concepts since these were invented by the University of Toronto so Deandre’s CDE may not have heard yet. But they are very helpful in giving you some insight as how to match you insulin injections with the food you eat which is the quintessential art of successful diabetes treatment. Nel peach is right basically all carbs are not created equal some turn into blood sugar very fast and should be avoided since natural insulin from the pancreas in healthy people can match this but us diabetics cant. The so called fast insulin last up to 4 or 5 hours and so should be carb. The lower the glycemic index of a food the longer it takes to turn into blood sugar. The glycemic load is just the index multiplied by the amount that you eat. So a teaspoon of mashed patato or sugar is ok.

Sometimes you are lucky and I find I can eat 100 grams (at lot) of undercooked pasta the thicker the better like fettucini and compensate with 10 to 15 units of fast acting insulin and keep the BG below 160 at 1hour, 2 hours 150 and the also the BG will not go below 100 at longer times. If I eat the same amount of mashed patatoes that are not too greasy the BG will probably go over 250 at some point and later on may even crash below 70 which becomes very unpleasant.

The way you cook things affects the glycemic index: under cooked pasta will turn into blood sugar slower than mushy pasta and so will raw carrots compared to cooked ones. Greasing thinks makes them less water soluble so that will also reduce the glycemic index.

Some doctors like Richard Bernstein and Atkins say that it is impossible for diabetics to match the insulin with the food and therefore we should limit the amount of carbs per meal to avoid mismatch between insulin and food. There is some truth to this argument. However then you have to eat much more fat and the liver will store that and spew out a lot of sugar at some inappropriate moment. This is why American (and Canadian) pizza is so toxic, not only does it spike the blood sugar immediately but also many hours later. Never have been to Italy.

The road to heaven is complicated and unbelievably so for diabetics. Like one diabetic with a sense of humour here in Calgary told me: “I guess the only thing left to eat is cardboard.”

As you’re learning to match carbs with insulin, try to space your meals sufficiently apart so that you’re not taking bolus insulin too close to the previous dose. For many people, meals/insulin 4 hours apart seems to work. Unless you’ve got digestive problems, most food will be digested within 4 hours (unless it’s something with a lot of fat &/or a ton of protein) & most rapid acting insulin is pretty much used up by then also.

Something I learned the hard way is to start by treating a low carefully until you know how many carbs will raise your BG how many points. For me, & everyone’s different, 1 gram will raise my BG 10 points. My doctor recommended Dextro Tabs because they have 1 gram of sugar per tablet. Most glucose tabs have 5 grams, so it’s harder to get a dose exactly right. And when you’re low, easy is best.

Whatever you take to treat a low, keep testing so you’ll know how a particular thing effects your BG. I’ve over-treated a low & ended up high.

You said it well Anthony and very easy to understand , but let’s not forget,even if glycemic index and load are Canadian inventions …the concepts have been around since 1981 and easy to research via the web.
The road to Italy less complicated from Calgary than where I live in BC , ha, ha .

Dear nel peach. Where do you live in B.C.?

Anthony ,I probably exaggerated about the road to Italy from here…Salmon Arm is about 1 1/2 hour drive north from Kelowna airport . Most people from AB have holidayed here or else moved here .
Please check out my profile , OK ?.