Was it low, was it not?

Hi everyone -

I know that recently diagnosed diabetics can feel low at much higher numbers because they’re used to their blood glucose being higher. My lows go like this: first nausea, then the shakes, then fuzzy headed feeling, then the rest of it that we all experience. So not long ago, I start feeling very nauseated, then get a bit shaky (although not too bad). It was lunch time so i assumed i was low. I quickly heated up my lunch (I’m at work) and check my blood sugar…87. Hmmm…so I thought maybe it’s something else. So I start eating anyway and withing 10 min start to feel better.

So my question is this…my blood sugar is in control (unless it’s high every other time I’m not checking) so is it normal for a diabetic to feel “low” on occasion at a number that wouldn’t otherwise make them feel low? I start feeling kinda of funky in the mid-70’s typically, not at 87.

Just curious - thanks!

If your body is used to being ‘high’, a bg in the normal range of 87 can feel low. It’s the corollary to hypoglycemic unawareness.

The only way to know for sure is to test.


Hi EsMom,

I have experienced the same thing, and have narrowed it down to two causes: 1) A sudden and quick drop, for example from 150 to 87 will cause that feeling or 2) Rebound effect from an uncorrected low in which your liver has started producing glucose to get your levels back up. For some reason once I am in normal range again I still don´t feel great.

Since I am only on Metformin, I try to only correct lows under 60. Otherwise, I let my liver take care of it and try to eat some protein once I am back to normal. However, my previous meds, Glucovance, caused such severe lows that I had to stop taking it.

As Terry said, testing is the only way to know.

Well, my first thought is to mention that you shouldn’t get too hung up on the number for any individual test. The meters just aren’t that accurate, so what shows up as an 87 could easily be a 77 in reality, and if you start to experience symptoms at that level, that may be all that’s going on.

But I’ve also experienced this feeling of being low when I’m not. What seems to trip it for me is a rapid decline, even if the start point isn’t that high and the low point not that low. I was hypoglycemic before I was diabetic, and it sometimes seems like my pancreas can really slam into gear once it decides to do something (you know how sometimes if you’re behind someone at a light, and they don’t notice it’s turned green, and you honk at them, then they take off like their tail’s on fire? yeah, that’s my pancreas), so I can really come down off a peak in a hurry, and a drop from around 160 to around 100 that occurs over 30 minutes will have me feeling worse than an actual low in the 60 range.

It’s possible that you were on your way to a low and your blood sugar was dropping fast. This can make you feel low at higher levels than usual.


I sometime feel low around 90 but I think its because I’m going down so fast, then at other times I only feel low at 50-60. It changes depending on what I’m doing, maybe after exercise I’ll get really shaky lows which come on fast, while other times I could sit on 54 for ages. I know from past experience that when ones blds’ are high the body does get used to being like that, it’s kinda horrible re-adjusting but as Terry says you need to test to find out.

Sarah and Sara -

Thanks for the replies! Sounds like you both made a great suggestion that perhaps it was a quick drop - I didn’t think about that.

And Sarah - great analogy! I know exactly what you mean, that is the perfect description for my pancreas as well!


The new modern meters are extremely NON accurate so 87 can easily be 70. Go by what you feel not by what the meter says when the reading is below 100. But the new meters look sexy and have lots of bells and whistles.

I’m a T 2 and get the same feeling. When I test sometimes I might be 94 or sometimes I might be 125. I never know if I should eat or just wait it out. I know sometimes if I go for 4 hours without eating cortisol causes my bg to go as high as 200. If I eat protein or dairy my bg will come down.

This is a REALLY important point! I actually can feel worse when I’m 100 mg/dl and dropping fast than when I am 60 mg/dl!!

Add me to the group of quick dropping making me feel lower than I am. I usually re-test to be sure, but the number still shows a normal that shouldn’t feel low.

I struggle with the eat or not to eat never knowing if a high is on the way. Most times I eat because I can’t stand that low feeling.

Boy can I relate to these posts. I've been diagnosed about 2 years ago, and my doc and I have been trying since then to get it all to the numbers HE wants. Sometimes I get so frustrated with him because I feel like crap when my numbers are CLOSE to where they should be. I feel like why should I WANT to be at or below 120 when I feel so awful as I get close to it. All of the symptoms you guys mentioned: extreme nausea, shakes, light-headed, and sometimes weakness and blurry vision. I, too, am inclined to grab something to eat just to kill that feeling. Unfortunately, the thing that alleviates the nausea best is a quick drink of 7-up or Pepsi. Now THAT defeats the purpose!

I agree with the quick drop theory. In cases like this, I trust my gut, and not always the machine. If I'm feeling low, but my meter doesn't agree, I usually treat it anyway. My nurse told me that one time. I'd rather need a little correction than an ambulance!

this is kind of related, dont mean to butt in on your question here. sometimes i have a low and its like, oh, im low. and i have some sugar and just keep on going. other times, i have a hypo and it makes me feel really bad and i even have a nap, ust feel complete crap. is that because it was a fast drop too? they are treated the same way but the after effects are completely dfferent. what is that all about?