What is a "dangerous" low?

Last time I went with my endo, he asked me if I was having any dangerous lows. At the time, the lowest I ever got was 60 and I figured that's alright, so I said I wasn't. But then my dexcom broke and without it, I fairly regularly (like every other day? every three days?) would have a low down to 43-45 before even noticing.

So, what's a dangerous low? I still have been able to treat myself, though am usually too lazy to with a husband around.

Also, at what level do people die at? I don't know why I ask - morbid curiosity?

I have tested as low as 10. I was conscious and talking, but loopy. I think that a low is dangerous TO ME only when I am unable to treat it OR unwilling when my husband tries to help me. The real danger comes from the way a lot of low BGs over time can affect your brain.

I always wondered about your last question. Wouldn't your liver kick in some glucagon before you would die? Mostly "complications of diabetes" is the cause of death I see in obits. Does that mean a low or something else?

In high school I once tested at 0.6 (11 mg/dl), still fully functional. (I didn't believe it, but years later I checked and turns out the Dex meter really does read that low.) I also had other tests that were too low for even that meter, but they were all when I was too incapacitated to help myself.

I think the level at which someone dies at depends a lot on their individual situation. Lows can cause arrhythmias in some people (the cause of so-called "Dead in Bed Syndrome"), which means they can die at much "higher" levels than others. Of course, it's also possible to die in a car accident caused by a low even if the low itself didn't kill you ...

I personally consider a low to be dangerous when it affects my functioning, which doesn't happen very often, and usually only does when I hit 2.1 or 2.0 or lower (in the 30s mg/dl). This is especially true for me because I live alone and don't yet have a CGM, so if my functioning were ever affected to the point where I couldn't treat myself, I'd be in big trouble.

I agree with what the other have said- if you can't treat it or become combative when someone else attempts to treat it, that's a dangerous low. There's definitely a fine line. My worse personal low was 23. I feel asleep on the couch & thankfully woke up (probably because my heart was pounding and I was drenched in sweat). I fell a few times while walking from the couch to the kitchen to get my supplies. That was a dangerous low for me.

I think also that any low you are not aware of can become dangerous very quickly, especially when sleeping. Are you getting a replacement Dexcom?

I would trust my liver, but my pancreas has made me skeptical of all my other organs doing their job properly.

“Dangerous” implies that there is danger to either you or someone else. I have been 30 mg/dL and completely fine (the only reason I found out I was 30 was that it was meal time). I’ve been 60 mg/dL and combative, shaking, sweating, and refusing to eat.

I geneally interpret the question as “have you been clinically hypoglycemic (at or below 55 mg/dL)”.

.... judging from your Avatar....

.. a dangerous low might be having David Moyes managing your team for tonight's match LOL

I'd personally say any low is a dangerous one. I haven't gone lower than 56 but that was the scariest one thus far and I don't want that ever again. I'd say I get heavy effects from mine though still conscious and talking and able to do things. My mind gets weird and I feel like I'm walking on something not flat usually, I shake really bad and uncontrollably, my legs get wobbly and it's uncontrollable and I've nearly fallen while hanging onto something, and I sweat a ton and get anxiety really bad and usually have to sit there telling myself it'll be okay as long as I take my glucose tablets. So I think any low can be scary especially when you get your lowest one so far as a surprise. I also think when they're scary like that they can be a danger to either you or others it just depends on your symptoms more than the numbers.

My doc always asks me if i had degree-2 lows.
a low of degree 2 is when i need help of someone else, if i cannot treat my low by myself anymore. has happened a few times in my past 10 yrs, but not often.
those degree-2-hypos are also one condition that your insurance needs to pay a cgm if you want one.

In the UK, if you have T1D you have to renew your driving licence every three years. The medical questionnaire asks about episodes of hypoglycaemia that have required assistance from a third party (i.e. that you could not treat yourself). If you have had two (or more) of these over the past year, you automatically lose your driving licence for at least 18 months. This applies even if the hypos occurred overnight whilst you were asleep.

It is therefore "inadvisable" to inform your endo about any "severe" or "degree-2" hypos since he/she is likely to have to fill in a medical form for your
licence application.


HAHAHA! I love you.

We are the only top 4 team that could possibly get beaten by Utd. Because we're City and you know how that is.

I think Wigan should be our new arch-nemesis. Agreed? :P

Err... Losing to Wigan could be classified as "minor correction needed"

Successive three-nil home thumpings by our biggest rivals (and against L'pool we were lucky to get nil), seems more like "emergency assistance by a third party required". I am hoping that the paramedics come along and cart Danger Mouse off to A&E ASAP(preferably at Fulham or somewhere similar).


I've gone pretty low, tested as low as 0.9 mmol (not sure what that is in mg/dl), but have always been able to get myself to the fridge for some juice so I don't count it as 'dangerous.'

I think it depends on your own sensitivity and level of hypo awareness.

ok, so note to self:
in switzerland, mention to endo if you have degree-2 lows, bc then you get a cgm paid by insurance.
in UK, better dont, otherwise you lose your license.
strange world…

A dangerous low in my experience is one that requires assistance. I don't personally believe that anyone has ever died from a hypo, though it is possible to have or cause an accident and die from misaction or poor choices. The body will eventually correct the low without killing you. The rebound is a hassle, and so is tending to the sweaty laundry.

Also need to take a blood test before sitting behind a wheel. If less than 5.5 it's automatic license suspension if caught by police (never heard of them actually doing it though) as it's seen as "intent" to drive. If you are in any form of accident and you can't produce these BG's as evidence that you were fit to drive when you set off (further BG tests needed every 45mins ish I think it is) than it's pretty much you are automatically blamed.

Was an accident many years ago locally where a D ignored all tests and (no one really explained why) swerved across a road into a school bus. He was killed along with others, but the blame pretty much landed on him instantly due to no evidence able to support his ability to drive when he set off. Thus invalidating all his insurances. Was other possible reasons but in the end D was blamed...still unsure if that was right or wrong though.

Yikes, 5.5 is 99 which in my book is pretty perfect blood glucose! For that you can have your license suspended? Glad to hear you've not heard of them actually doing it. If you had to wait to be over 99 to drive whole companies would be late for work!

I don't think there's a total standard number for dangerous lows, I've probably had my fair share of them but totally cheat with a CGM and all of that. I am usually pretty confident in my numbers but I suppose there's an artistic element in what I do too. "hmm, let's see 65, is a bit low to calibrate so I'll have a Guinness [9G, it's on the can...] and wait 10 minutes and calibrate to 75 which oughta be where that'll end up with .3UIOB..." I do that sort of thing all the time.

I had an old One Touch Ultra Smart Meter that would read down to the single digits, I saw a few 7,8, 12ish numbers. I used that when I started working out more and was doing it all by the seat of my pants so "accidents happen". I lost it out of my bike somewhere a few years ago and the OneTouch UltraMini I replaced it with doesn't seem to go as low, or maybe I don't go as low? It's hard to say....

A dangerous low for me is one that I cannot treat myself. Anything under 35 for me can be dangerous, as I get sad, sleepy, silly. I just cannot make decisions and get so confused and frightened.. If I am at less than 35, I can have food all around me and do not know where the food is, nor what to do with it,sometimes not even recognizing it as food; i.e. (hallucinogenic Cheerios box with a drooling fang-filled mouth), Sometimes I cannot even recognize anything or anybody.. Fortunately, this is very infrequent: I do not pass out, and I am generally always able to self-treat Hypos in the 40s, 50s, and 60s
God Bless ,

I'm familiar with and signed the petition for the "Strip Safely" campaign and the suggestion that meters should be made more accurate but I've never seen a suggestion that meters can be made that much more accurate, considering they are scientific equipment we lug around in our pockets, purses, Spibelts or whatever.

I agree with Zoe that 99 should be our target not a number that puts us in some sort of legal jeopardy. While I'm inclined to have public health systems, everything I've read about the UK and diabetes there makes me leery of supporting it too avidly.

that stuff with the test before driving is the same here in switzerland. under 5 i need to eat something, they say. when i applied for a drivers license i had to proof that i am able to drive and have my d under good control, etc.
after an accident you need to test immediately, bc usually the adrenalin shoots the bg up, so you can prove that you were able to drive. i think this rule is ok, as you arent allowed to drive with alcohol in blood either, but i agree its a bit annoying testing so much. however, i noticed policemen dont even know what this "code 101" on my license means, they have never asked me what my bg was.