What is a "dangerous" low?

weren't there a number of high profile insulin shock murders, of course someone can die from it and have, they can go into insulin shock and/or a coma and don't recover. They used to use insulin shock therapy as a form of psychiatric treatments. Of course, they were banned and deemed too unsafe as people died, simply didn't come out of the insulin induced coma. there's also, as mentioned, the damage that can happen if passing out or unable to function, not only to one's self but to someone else. it also messes up the brain, kills brain cells, and makes us prone to hypo-unawareness.

were there? I don't know about high profile insulin shock murders - sounds more like a movie or something. I think diabetes with or without lows messes up folks' brain cells. As swisschocolate said above, the body corrects with adrenaline eventually. I always test before I drive, I hope the code 101 is not adopted here. I don't want the DOT deciding what my bg should be!

Sunny Von Bulow, but I think he got off. "Oh, diabetes is the person's own fault"

You all with these 10s and 20s... Get outta here! :-)

I get scared in the 40s. And feel pretty awful. I expect I'm one of those that might be unconscious at 10mg/dl. Or maybe dead.

I'm jealous :-)

no, the body does not always correct with adrenaline at all, many people have insulin induced seizures. many have needed emergency treatment, 911, needed a shot of glucagon and yes, have died in their sleep due to dropping too low and brain not getting enough glucose. my endo had to put a patient in the hospital (many probably) as his BG's dropped too low, 20's I think, and he just would not come out of it, he was inpatient for a few days. it's nothing to take lightly and just assume the body will respond accordingly. if one drops too low from too much insulin there's no guarantee at all it will respond well enough to recover.

I agree it's nothing to take lightly but I have looked a few times, when these sort of threads pop up, to see if I can find any solid info about how many people don't come out of it and I haven't found any hard numbers. Admittedly, my searching is very cursory but I think that the general medical terror at hypos is somewhat misplaced, despite the very real danger involved.

If you were belgianchocolate (rather than swiss) you might also be a bit less willing to discuss your hypos with your endo. The regulations about licence suspension following two hypos requiring assistance were only recently introduced and I understand apply across the EU. When they replaced the old medical forms, which were basically check some boxes to say that you could tell when you were having a hypo, there was a big fuss but the Goverment said that these were European directives and therefore couldn't be altered.

Once my BG drops below about 2.2 (40) I usually try to put down the chain-saw for a few minutes, at least until it goes up a bit...

Exactly! It's so very different for each of us. I make sure my bg is in chain saw range before I even start, and take a break to test, certainly with very vigorous activity. Dangerous low is another one of those YMMV numbers. 40 for some folks might require assistance, so there is that. For others it's just another PITA and easily fixed. I keep a tube of glucose in my pocket when I am in cutting down trees.

I’m unaware now until I hit 50 then I feel like a cartoon character that got hit over the head, goofy and spacey. I used to get the hungries and shakes by low 70s and 60s and I have been able to get that response back at times by avoiding lows. I am aware enough to know something is wrong and to check my BG, although once I thought since I didn’t feel that bad I didn’t need to eat, my husband was there and gave me a juice box.

I agree with most of the people on here that say if you can't treat it yourself or need some major assistance, then it's dangerous. I personally have never had a low that was too low for me to treat myself, and I have been as low as 26 mg/dL before. I would also say a low is extreme if you wake up and it is below like 50. It gets really dangerous when you have that low of a BG when you're sleeping.

I agree with the under 50 at night. I wake up in the middle of the night every night and I always test. One time it took me several tries before I figured out how to use the meter which finally read 37. Not pretty.

I was at 27 last night and talking...everyone is way different.

60's - not a problem
50's - a little shaking, a little sweating
40's - a lot of shaking, a lot of sweating, illogical words coming from my mouth, stay away from me!
30's - never been there; don't want to go there!

Your symptoms for a low will vary based on your average BS for the last month, I have been tested by paramedics and read LOW on their machines before then gotten it tested 20 mins after being pumped full of dextrose and only read 24, but was fully conscious and having a conversation with the paramedics, also, have been passed out covered in sweat at 41. I struggle with hypoglycemia unawareness and will go from walking around acting fine to passing out within 30 seconds, I was diagnosed when I was 5 (1992) and all the doctors then where just warning about constantly being high and losing your vision or even worse limbs. However constant lows are just as if not more dangerous, I consider myself extremely lucky considering these sudden drops will happen while I was driving, fortunately I was with friends that where able to react properly extremely quickly. Just an example of what can happen if you don’t keep your BS average around 80-120 (Personally I liked the 90’s when 80-180 is what docs told you to keep it at) if you start having a lot of hypoglycemic reactions and can not get to your doctor soon enough, at most lower you insulin dosage by 10%.


I concur lows certainly can be dangerous.

For me a dangerous low is one that you cannot treat yourself and leaves you at risk of losing consciousness.

My mother was a type 1 died in her sleep at the age of 46, following a protracted night time low.

I was unfortunately away from home and not there to administer glucogon. She was unconscious for approximately five hours before she was found. She had also consumed alcohol, injected insulin before bed and not eaten! (Gah!) So I don't believe her liver was able to produce enough glucogon to save her, furthermore I believe her frequent lows had damaged her bodies ability to produce it.

Spent three days in ICU, scans showed zero brain activity and that she had suffered serious brain damage/strokes.

Life support was switched off and she died slowly over several hours.

She was forever going low and found managing her diabetes next to impossible.

I also noticed over the last 15 years of her life that her constant lows and daily running low had affected her memory, speech patterns and personality.

So for all those chasing that magical 5% HbA1c I think lows have a greater impact than many realise and can be just as risky than running a little high sometimes.

I've been type 1 for 17 years now and have never lost consciousness, been very close and got down to about 0.2mmol, but have always been well enough to treat myself.

Keep my HbA1c about 6-6.5%, have been able to go lower down to the 5s, but I was going low alot, four five times a week, I was restricting carbs and couldn't exercise with the intensity, vigor I could upping carbs and not having such a tight standard deviation.

No complications yet, so fingers crossed!