More lows when sick....normal?

hi all, type1 and new.
This is the first time I’ve had an infection since being diagnosed. I have strep throat and feel horrid, but my bs hasn’t really given me any trouble as far as highs go.The problem is more hypos. Before I was sick I was on a pretty even roll, very slight highs and no lows. so what’s the deal? note: Despite the throat pain I’ve been eating and drinking normally. I’ve tried adjusting my insulin, but it hasn’t helped. I can’t find any pattern that would explain why it’s happening. it’s completely random.
Before this, I had a bad cold and dealt with more lows during that as well. I told my endo (he’s a major jerk by the way) he told me that isn’t possible, that I should be high if I “really” am sick. and if I am hypo then I must be dehydrated. I’m definitely not dehydrated now, so what’s the deal?

Has this happened to anyone else?

Yes, it’s definately is possible to go low while sick. Doesn’t your endo know about diabetes sick day plans?

Once while in Mexico, I got really sick for a couple of days. I had already taken my long-acting insulin the night before. Throughout the day, I continually went low. I was unable to eat solid food and barely able to keep liquids down. My other half kept me supplied with chocolate pudding cups, non-diet gingerale, and hard candies. It was one of the scariest times I’ve ever had with illness.

If you are a woman, realise that the hormonal changes your body naturally goes through during the month can create insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity. For some women, the range can be quite dramatic, leading to highs or lows.

When I’m sick, I also deal with trying to keep my BG’s up! I thought I was the “weird” one or something, because most every one else seems to deal with trying to keep thier BG’s down!

Now I know I’m not the only one! :0)

I don’t know what the deal is with it though! I just keep a watch on my BG and TRY to more carbs than usual! Which is really tough when you feel like crap and really aren’t hungry! I’ll cut back on my Long Acting, too, if necessary. Usually by 1/4 or 1/2, depending on how low I’m going.

Sorry to hear you’ve got a jerk (and a clueless one at that), for an Endo! I’m really lucky! I LOVE my Endo! He’s awesome! :0)

Hope you are feeling better soon! Strep SUX!

I normally have the opposite problem. I go high when I am sick unless I am throwing up. If I am throwing up then I go to low. Try to drink gatorade if you can to help with the lows. It will also help your electrolyte balance if you are dehydrated. And sorry to hear you have a jerk for an endo. Whenever my blood sugar runs high my doctors first question is are you sick because for the most part I am under tight control.

If you are newly diagnosed, could it be that you still have some insulin production and just as illness can be a precursor for diabetes, it could effect the insulin production of your remaining functioning islets?

Hi Ish! Hope that you are feeling better by now!! I just came across this discussion and just wanted to add my 2 cents…

Elaine’s point is interesting— and sounds plausible to me, though I don’t know the science behind it. Perhaps your body is producing more natural insulin while you are sick. As a new diabetic you have an unknown variable that you have to factor in, namely: how much insulin your body is producing. It’s great if your body is still producing insulin, but it is a variable that’s hard to account for!

Another possibility which was mentioned by Maureen is your menstrual cycle. Many woman are really insulin resistant while having their period and require more insulin. Others (myself included) actually need less insulin while having their period. The day before I start menstruating and the following two days, I have tons of lows. I decrease my insulin then, but there seems to be no stopping them!

Hope that you are feeling back to yourself soon! Another question: do you feel your lows?

I don’t think he knows about a lot of things. he’s the worst!

wow, that sounds bad. Especially on a trip, that’s the worst. I’m sorry you were so sick.

I did notice that, and the only unexpected highs I’ve had were due to hormones. but the lows seem to come most when I’m under the weather, everyone has been telling me it’s not possible. I’m glad to hear it is possible, I’m not doing something wrong, and I can try to account for it next time.

thanks for the help!

thank you so much for this, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. i’ve been fighting with everyone (my doctor and nurses) about it, they all think I’m fudging my numbers or something. I can’t imagine. they’re nutters.

I tried cutting my insulin back and it didn’t seem to be enough. I was eating normally even a little more than usual, it was still all I could do to keep it up for more than an hour or two.

Congrats on the awesome endo! I hope to find a better one and get rid of the dud I have now.

I’m feeling much better, thanks again!

oh ok, that’s good to know. I knew the the opposite problem was more the norm but I wondered if there was a small group out there that responds the same way I have.
Gatorade is a very good idea, thanks!

wow, I didn’t even think of that. I’m still learning about all this, no one’s mentioned that to me before but it makes sense to me. it’s all been explained to me as “your pancreas doesn’t produce insulin period.” so i never thought it might still be pluggin along when it can. very interesting. thanks!

Hi! Yes, I’m feeling much better. I saw a very nice gp doc and she got me all sorted out with proper medications and such. (yay for the nice ones!)

I don’t know the science either but when I read it made sense to me, why couldn’t that be part of the reason? I also wonder why no one I’ve seen would take the time to explain the possibility of still producing insulin and having to account for it. seems like something I need to know. jeez!

Yeah, i seem to be in the same group, a couple days beforehand I know I’ll run higher than usual, and then back to the usual lows. trying to find the balance with all of the variables is kind of annoying. hahaah.

You know, I was going to ask you about that. before I could tell I was getting low when I hit 70-75. Shakes, sweating. I always knew right away. Lately, actually since I first started to feel sick, I haven’t been feeling them until I’m down to 40-50. But I haven’t had the symptoms that usually let me know. I’ve just felt off or overwhelmingly nauseous. I think “I feel weird, I better check” and it’ll be low. Just last night I checked my bs before going to sleep like I always do and it was 53. I had no clue. One time I woke up from sleep feeling very nauseous, it was all I could do to walk, it’s like my legs were made of jelly. is that normal or do I have more problems than I thought?(like diabetes and mad cow disease. that would be really really unfair!) that’s the low that scared me because I was sleeping and I’m so careful about going to sleep with a safe number. plus I felt so horrible.

Do you feel your lows?

I feel them, but only when I go below 60. The symptoms vary based on time of day, how tired I am, and who knows what else.

Apart from shakiness and feeling weak, my other main symptoms are numbness in my legs and mouth. SO the jelly legs are likely associated with lows (and not mad cow disease :wink: but feel free to get tested if you want peace of mind!!!). I freaked out when I first felt these things… then my doctor told me that they are completely normal. From this community, I found an ever longer list of symptoms… so everyone is unique.

Some people don’t feel lows at all (hypoglycemia unawareness) and that can be really dangerous and scary.

To some degree, you might be able to teach yourself to recognize lows. You may be having some symptoms when you are in the 60’s, but you don’t recognize them. When you are low, make a mental note of any symptoms-- that will help you recognize them in the future. I actually became better at recognizing lows than I was in the beginning. For example, now, if I noticed worse than usual hand-eye coordination (not being able to open a lid or difficulty typing…), I check and I’m often low, but only in the 60’s… so now I check whenever I noticed this.

Just my long ramblings again :slight_smile:

no that’s brilliant and very good to know. I had my fingers crossed that it wasn’t the mad cow. hahahaha
I didn’t realize time of day could affect symptoms. I knew being asleep could definitely be a problem. heh.

i’ve noticed numbness in the mouth but i never thought that could be connected. that’s crazy!
it was scary to me that I could go from feeling it right on the cusp to not knowing until it was to a really uncomfortable point. and that the symptoms I usually experienced just weren’t there.

yes, i’ve read about the unawareness, that is really scary.

thanks for all the tips! hey, long ramblings are my favorite!

Hi ish…another thing about lows is that as your body gets used to lower average BS #'s, you won’t feel low until you are lower than previously felt. If you are walking around high a lot, you might feel low symptoms in the 70’s, for instance. With better control, you won’t feel them until lower.
As Kristin says, your symptoms will likely vary, as well. I used to get shaky, weak, numbness on my tongue, a craving for carbs, see spots, and I forget what else. Now I seem to mainly just get a headache, and that “feeling,” we all speak of.
Good luck! Just always keep juice or candy or glucose tabs at hand.

From what I understand, it usually takes 1-2 years for your pancreas to completely stop producing insulin. They call the early stage the “honeymoon phase.” Also, has it been warm where you are? Just the fact that it is warmer in the summer causes my insulin needs to be lower, whether or not I am working out.

Lots to think about:) That’s why this site is great, you can learn from others and not just on your own experiences!

Hi Ish,

Glad you’re feeling better & found a nice doctor. I’ve been to two endos & couldn’t stand either of them! Both were arrogant jerks! Right now, I’m seeing an internist who’s great & appears to know more than the two endos combined.

I only feel lows below 60. I think I was hypoglycemic for years before being diagnosed Type 1 recently & my body is used to being low. I actually feel good at 70 & only treat when it drops below 70. When I go really low, my hands shake–really badly. My husband says he can tell right away because I get a glazed look. I feel light headed, hungry, forgetful & it takes forever to do the simplest thing.

I don’t feel the highs unless I’m really soaring. My head pounds & my heart races. Wish I was more attuned to the highs before they’re super high. Thankfully, I haven’t had any bad highs for a while.

Any advice from anyone to recognize high BG better would be appreciated. I test a lot.

Gerri, I felt low BS most of my life, before diagnoses at 50. My father did as well, but he never got the big D. From what I’ve read, that is a common trait of LADA’s. I don’t feel the high’s either, until they are extreme, except for that sleepy feeling I’ve also had all my life! I think we lived many years with borderline highs and lows.