Using mental energy causing sugar levels to fall?

Has anyone noticed this ?

Sometimes if I am doing something that requires a lot of thinking like messing with this computer seems to lead me to a low and it seems related to the intensity of mental energy I am putting into it.

Am I just finding patterns in random noise or am I on to something ??

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Yes, it can. Absolutely. The brain uses the most glucose of any organ.

Ironically, I had a bad low (40) during an appointment with a CDE trying to learn about all the various insulin pumps, and how they work. My brain was swirling and I stood up and started twirling. The CDE said that was very common and one more thing to be careful of if I was concentrating really hard on something. Can also be a cause of lows while driving in heavy traffic or bad road conditions - construction, weather, etc.

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I understand that the brain is the largest user of the body’s energy. I use the word, “energy,” instead of glucose, since there’s some controversy that glucose exclusively defines energy in the body. The body, more specifically the brain, can use ketone bodies in the absence of glucose. My body is fat-adapted and easily converts dietary and body fat to ketones, an excellent energy source for the brain and heart.

The fact remains that the brain uses a lot of energy. Here’s an article that may interest you.

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I’ve not noticed that phenomenon myself.

Happens to me all the time when I am really concentrating on a task at work or at home. I learned to check glucose before a 2 hour meeting and ALWAYS have suger pills in my pocket.

Are you sure it’s the thinking itself that is lowering bg’s, or just that you are so preoccupied with what you are doing, that time slips away from you and you forget to check your bg’s on a meter, for quite a while?

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After 40 years of T1 and the last 20 with a meter of some kind and a fairly consistent brown bag lunch I can assure you that unexpected mid afternoon lows are not due to lack of attention. Thats why I check before I get too involved. And carry Dex4 to deal with the situation.

My routine is well regimented and I figure 8-10 finger pokes a day was enough. I would need to check every 20-30 minutes to detect these lows.

Of course i use the Libre now and one of the HUGE benifits is quick trend snapshots. Day and night without the dissruptive distracting finger pokes.

Libre seems to read lower than it should but the trend line seems 100% reliable.

I know many people loose touch with reality in front of the TV or when concentrating BUT I am not one of them!

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Got it. I used to check 17x a day until I got my G5. Now it’s hard to remember to check at all. :slight_smile:

It often happens playing computer when I get in a debate on these online forums quickly trying to find and post the best links to back my side of the argument.

That’s what made me think of the topic.

I am not a doctor or medically trained. I am just reporting my conclusions after many unexpected mid afternoon lows. With most other possible reasons being ruled out. But I gotta add that there could be a physiological explanation that better explains. For example that level of concentration could be driven by an adrenalin response. Etc. Etc.

Shhhhh. Don’ tell the boss. Seems to me that the same high level of concentration is when we are most productive.

I’ve often seen the opposite: adrenaline makes my blood glucose go UP in those situations (driving, working hard on something on the computer), apparently more than the sugar burning pushing it down.

HI Pat–welcome to the Forum. And yes, it is certainly true that adrenalin output can be triggered by various kinds of stress and drive your BG up. Exercise is one of those triggers, depending on the type. The usual story is that intense bursts of exercise drive BG up, where steady-intensity cardio exercise (walking, jogging, biking) should lower it. For me that holds true, except I find that riding my bike in the cold weather, like temps in the 30s F, will have the opposite effect and I’ll end my ride up 30 points from when I started. Guess my body concludes that if it’s that cold out, there must be some kind of emergency driving me to be out there exerting myself.


It can contribute. Strange, eh?

It seems like anything that’s really emotionally stressful can cause this type of low, IMHO.

A lot of T1’s say their BG’s shoot up under stress, mine has a tendency to drop like a rock.

I have been under stress once again as I undergo tests for cancer. I am anemic, losing blood, and have SIADH which can be caused by cancer, so things are a bit tense.

My glucose levels have been climbing. So, it is either from emotional stress, a hidden health problem, FIASP no longer working,lack of sleep or whatever. My diet was exactly the same as was my exercise.

On a good note, I called Dexcom yesterday because of a couple of problems. I waited about 1/2 hr, but the woman I talked with couldn’t have been nicer. She was very patient and helpful and will be sending me more sensors.

@Marilyn6 I am sorry to hear you still have health issues that are so scary. I hope you are okay. This last injury I had some trouble with my Bg’s wanting to go up too. It’s very frustrating that for reasons our bodies only know that they respond like that. Hugs.