The Dangers of Low Blood Sugars


#1

I am coming back from a 55 BG I woke up to in the middle of the night. Ironically, the last few times I’ve been low in my sleep, my son has been putting up a fist. I wonder if I would have realized I was low had I not heard him.

What methods do you guys have to “sense” you are low in the middle of the night?


#2

It may seem funny, since I posted on the pump forum that I just hit 500 the other day, but last night I woke up at 50, dazed, drenched in sweat, and dying of thirst. I got a little shot-happy on my pump vacation and overdid the bolus with dinner. I think I get so overheated that I toss and turn myself awake.


#3

WOA. Gotta be careful, girl.

I guess we do have means to make ourselves aware of the fact that we’re going low in our sleep.


#4

I used to just wake up, shaking & sweating. I’d drink or eat something and fall back in bed, totally drained. Eventually I lost my hypo symptoms and had some very serious lows, including some at home alone. With the pump I don’t have those really awful lows anymore and my lows are usually easily treated now. Sometimes I even get classic symptoms when I’m low but it’s usually when I’m really low, 30s - 40s.

A few nights ago I woke up totally drenched in sweat and shaky. I thought I was going to fall down getting to the kitchen. I ate a handful of glucose tablets (maybe 5) and went to the couch to lay down. After laying there for awhile I tested my BG and it was 31, and that was after eating a bunch of glucose tabs. That was the worst low I’ve had on the pump and I know it was because I had a bunch of late night snacks and kept bolusing for small amounts of various things over a 1.5 -2 hour period.

I am glad that I woke up for that one. 2 years ago I would have slept right through it and wouldn’t wake up until my body went into a sort of seizure, where I have no control of my limbs.

I had forgotten just how awful a low felt. It’s not fun but it beats the alternative.


#5

Lowest I ever have been (that was actually my first low ever) was 41 and it felt horrible. I cannot fathom how 31 must feel.

Actually, the story of that low is almost funny. My wife was recently pregnant at the time and we were in bed reading “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” about how sometimes husbands also get some of the symptoms of pregnancy, etc. I told her: “I don’t feel good…” and she thought it was funny (ironic) because of the topic we were reading about, until it dawned on her that I may be low and ran for my meter. Good that she had an idea at the time that that was possible because I pretty much couldn’t think straight at that point.


#6

Sometimes when my bloodsugar is too low at night I’ll dream about having low bloodsugar. Otherwise, I think it’s the little noises that I don’t normally hear that wake me up. I think my dog can sense my low bloodsugars and she wakes me up (moving around more than normal, or just getting her nose in my face). I actually had a Dr write a letter stating this so I could keep the dog with me when I was in college and moved into an apartment that didn’t normally allow dogs.

Getting my first insulin pump in March 1998 significantly reduced my nighttime lows, and getting married has made them even less of a problem. My hubby works 2nd shift, so he doesn’t get home until 11:30 and then doesn’t go to bed until around 2 AM. He checks my bloodsugar every night sometime between 11:30 PM and 2 AM and he knows when to wake me up to either eat something or take a correction bolus.


#7

I rarely experience middle-of-the-night hypos, but I agree they are pretty scary when they do happen. What I try to do, to prevent this from happening, is to keep my blood sugars very stable at night. I typically go to sleep around 12-12:30, so I make sure I don’t eat anything after 11 p.m. Right before turning in, I test myself. If I’m in the desired range, I do nothing. If I’m high, I give myself a correction; if I’m low, I eat a few pieces of candy or a cookie. I try to be around 90 when I go to sleep so that I’ll wake up at 95 or lower. I also inject my basal dose of Lantus right before going to sleep. I’m a Type 1.5/LADA diabetic so I think I still produce some of my own insulin; this (I think) helps keep me steady through the night. On the rare occasion I do get a low while sleeping I always wake up feeling sweaty, hot and weak – I keep my test kit on my nightstand so I can test myself right away, and I have jelly beans nearby to eat quickly if I’m really low.


#8

I generally wake up sweating when I am low at night. Or I will wake up and will be really restless and can’t go back to sleep. Then I know I better check my blood sugar. I have a tendency to go high in the morning hours, so I usually check my blood sugar once or twice during the night, too.


#9

Lows always force me awake. I had a particularly bad one last night - it started before I went to sleep, and I treated it, but that didn’t help and I ended up waking up a couple of hours later with a 49.

I’m glad to have an automatic “wake up” response to a low. Better than going to sleep and slipping into a coma…


#10

My best indicator is my husband. At night he is always the first to wake up if I start to sweat. He can also always tell when I am awake–usually before me! The other day he begged me to test and I kept saying that no, I was sure I wasn’t going low. I was 28!! I am gradually learning to believe him. He claims there is something different in my eyes and in my voice. Lately I am getting more and more unaware of my lows. I am hoping that changes when I get my pump started. The most recent indicator I have been having is being REALLY, REALLY sleepy.
My worst low came shortly after starting on Lantus. One night I loaded up with Humalog instead of Lantus and then went to bed. Nothing my husband could do would bring me up, and he kept bending needles trying to mix the glucagon! That was when the paramedics were invited over!!


#11

I’ve just woekn up out of nowhere and realized I felt low. I also test myself once in the middle of the night (to catch a low on its way or whatever), so maybe I’ve gotten myself used to being a bit more aware around that time of the night. However, once I had a real bad low before the normal time I’d wake up (not really a bad low, more like a quick drop), and I was so out of it I couldn’t think “Oh, a low, lemme check.” Thank goodness my obnoxious alarm clock (that will literally keep going till you stop it) went of and my parents came to see what was wrong.


#12

Right there with you Manny. Had a 61 last night around midnight. Went to the kitchen to take care of the situation. Next thing I know, I had the sudden urge to clean. Funny how a hypo can make you feel like you have so much energy.


#13

I always have nightmares when my blood sugar is low. I had a dream once that Christopher Walken said “Sharon, wake up! Your blood sugar is low!”

But I’ve always had dreams that woke me up, thankfully.

Funny enough, my blood sugar went low as I was typing this. :slight_smile:


#14

LOL Tim - I get that often. I can feel really bouncy & buzzy when I’m under 5 and dropping - feels great! It’s a shame I have to spoil it by stopping to test and then eating. If it wasn’t for that I’d probably end up with the entire house spic & span (and I’d be passed out in the corner…)


#15

I wake up in the middle of the night when my BG is low and, at first, wonder why I am up since I typically sleep soundly through the night. When this happens, I usually toss and turn and after a few restless minutes realize that there must be a reason I cannot fall back to sleep. I will check my BG, and more often than not, realize that the reason is that I am low. I am also usually hot and sweaty when this occurs, but I do not always notice this prior to the BG check. I never realized that this happens to others, too. I wonder what it is that sets the alarm in our brains to wake us up when we experience these symptoms?


#16

Wow!! I have never been low in my sleep but I have been as low as 37 while going about my day. Fortunately each time I had my wife next to me and I never passed out. She was able to get me some sugar quickly.


#17

i have no idea how to sense lows at night. and it freaks me out coz i did manage to wake up one morning with a hypo! maybe its because i’m new to all this and i’m still trying to figure things out!


#18

I haven’t gone low in my sleep yet. But in my first two and a half weeks of having type 1 i have gone low a number of times. I’ve been told this will settle down once i get all my doses figured out and stable. Going low is so scary, the shaking and the sweating! All in a days work for a diabetic I guess!

The lowest I’ve been is 2.1. I’m not sure what that is in your numbers, but i tell ya, it was a shock the first time it happened, at college and all, how convenient! :slight_smile: