Severe BG drops

Does anyone else get/can get SEVERELY fast bg drops when out in the cold, even for <5 mins?

I can have this, where just walking from the car to a building or across a parking lot in the cold, my bg can drop up to almost 50 points/MIN!!! SOO dangerous!! Sometimes it drops 30 pts/min and sometimes 10/min? Either way…all are VERY FAST and this can happen even when I have NOT just taken insulin, and my bg is already high (high 200’s/300’s)…My bg went from 300 to 120 in about 4 minutes maybe less :confused:

Now, any time I go out int he cold, especially this week, I don’t know if/when this will happen! So I have to keep bg high to prevent this!! Soo scary :confused: I know of another diabetic where this happens and his mom said his Dr. said yes, you then must keep bg high and have juice/skittles etc before going out, even with no insulin!! And my dr. wonders why my A1c is high?!..

This cold is keeping me in :confused:


What outdoor temperature is this occurring in? (Cold means very different things depending on where somebody may live.)

What is the manner in which you are seeing / verifying the BG drop? ie - cgm or meter? Is the meter outside with you or inside? Did you confirm the reading with another meter? Do you have physical symptoms of a low as well as meter or cgm?

Have you tried wrapping a scarf around your face so you are not directly breathing in frigid air? Perhaps this would provide some benefit?

Do you have asthma which might be exacerbated with cold air which could be playing into the mix?

We routinely do cold weather exercise in terms of hand shoveling of snow off driveway which can easily take hours. We take routine precautions (ie - check BG, carb up as appropriate before and during excercise) as we would for any exercise but find nothing special required for the cold.

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I’m of the same mindset as @Tim35 on this one. Even when doing an hour or two of snow shoveling out in the current -25 to -35 C weather that we’ve been having the past couple of weeks I don’t see any temperature related drop in blood glucose. I do see the typical spike/drop related to doing exercise though, but that doesn’t happen in a matter of a few minutes.

I can’t say I’ve heard of cold weather having an impact on how a person with Diabetes regulates bg. I’d also be curious as to how you’re measuring this - is it with a glucometer or a CGM? Is it being done while out in the cold? These devices are temperature sensitive only provide accurate results within a very specific range of temperatures. That’s why they don’t suggest you keep a spare glucometer/test strips in your car as the variance in temperature is too much.

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Nope, but I’m not generally in air colder than 25 degrees F.

If anything I’m the opposite where warm weather drops me and cold weather causes me to increase my insulin needs. Did you have this problem before you started the pump? I have read that a minority of people experience what you’re talking about with modern insulins and believe that they are better off using either Regular or the original pork/beef insulins. No idea if this is nonsense or not though.

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Hi all,
Thanks for replies. Yes this has happened before I was on the pump, with both Lantus and humalog. I just started the pump over summer (w/humalog) so still would most likely see these drops. I am in New England where winters are below freezing and this can happen anytime it’s like below about 32 degrees? Currently in single digits around here so I have been staying in. This has happened a number of times, only being out in the cold < 5 mins. It has happened with cgm and meter. But when this has happened, I’d say I wasn’t out long enough for devices to get cold enough to not work? I checked several times on meter and results were same. I could just tell something was off so checked it (before cgm)…and it is so dangerous, b/c if my bg had already been at a good spot…well not good results there…My Dr’s aren’t sure why this happens but I talked to someone who’s son had this happen and he had to drink lots of juice and eat candy before heading out and not take insulin.

Scott_Eric…Thanks for reply! That’s interesting about you with the heat, my dr. mentioned that, but I notice after I take a hot shower, my bg will shoot up! Then it’ll go down quick again! Maybe it’s the CHANGE in temp that makes bg do this? But the cold is just a no for me! I’d rather not have to have it shoot down 50 pts a min and ave to keep it over 300. Am really wanting to move out of New England!!

Happy New Year everyone!! How do you bolus (differently or the same ratios) for holiday sweets???

I think sometimes it drops me but I usually have iob too. I can always drop fast with iob. Extreme weather can affect me either way.

I have some of what I consider a big drop in cold, but not that extreme, maybe 5/min, and have checked it on CGM and meter. I live in Phoenix and in heat need more insulin. I can even run 3 miles in summer at 90-96F degrees with no adjustment and no carbs and maintain or go up a bit. When I visit family in Wisconsin I reduce my basal and in winter or spring or fall with the weather difference go up to 40% lower or I experience repetitive lows or near lows. I figured it out after a couple bad lows when visiting. I have a diabuddy here in Phoenix who feels best in winter and battles highs in the summer so I think it is all how you work it and how it affects you personally.

I live in San Diego so this is never an issue for me. But I was in Chicago for four days and was hating the cold. When we pulled up to the terminal, pilot said it was minus 1, no wind chill but minus 1. How did I do this for half my life? That whining aside, I did not notice that problem at all. If anything, it was higher due to the fact I just couldn’t make myself go outside to walk. Just not going to happen. I hope you can find a reason. But as many of us have discovered, sometimes there just isn’t an answer.

I am very strongly thinking that your bg testing tools all give false low results in cold weather.

The way you say your bg reading drops 50 in a minute, seems a pretty strong clue.

I know I’ve had several meters that give falsely low results in cold weather. Others simply light up a little cold thermometer icon and tell me they can’t be trusted in cold weather.

I have high blood sugars from showers. It spikes quickly, then it drops also quickly, so I don’t do anything for it.

When your sugar drops that fast, can you feel it happening? You said it doesn’t happen every time…

I’ve heard Stephen Ponder refer to this as a “hollow high,” a good description.

“transient high” would also be an apt description.

Happens to me all the time, but I go up. Grocery store, took my car into the shop. Gone 50 minutes. Very cold here. Went from 120 to 224. Weather has a huge impact on my BGs.

Hollow high is a good description. Hollow highs, in my experience should not be treated, as they come down quickly and without intervention.