"Don't hold me accountable to what I said when I was low!" said every diabetic that ever existed. Us diabetics usually combat evey single episode of hypo/hyperglycemia with humor, but no matter how fun or easygoing we try to make of our day to day diabetic life, it actually is far more complicated.
I can not tell you how many times a handy juice box that I keep in my purse has saved my life. So as a diabetic myself, I will share a few tips on how to better manage hypos on the go.
1) and most importantly, keep your life support tools near and accessible at all times
Yes, I call my juice boxes and glucose tablets life support tools because they have proved to be just as important as insulin or a CGM in time of need. My purse is always heavier than my friends' because you know, I got to keep my treats close- I don't even know how it feels like to carry a small purse any more.
You can definitely find treats all over my car, in my office drawers, in my night stand, my husband's car- literally EVERYWHERE!
2) Understand your own Symptoms
Each person's reaction to low glucose is different. They might range from mild and common symptoms to very severe ones. Some feel it at 70 mg/dl, others feel nothing till they are very low and just crack, and in other cases like myself, I feel a hypo coming from across the street, even before it actually occurs, and while my glucose meter at that moment states that
my glucose is a 100 mg/dl. But I know better than my meter, every single time.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Feeling shaky
- Being nervous and anxious
- Irritability or impatience
- Blurred or impaired vision
- irregular heart rhythm
- tingling sensation around the mouth
- crying out during sleep
- nightmares during sleep
And the list goes on; I personally get a weird sense of humor when I get a hypo and people around me just go like “Check your blood sugar, you’re low again!”
3) Educate and raise awareness!
Trust me,when you're low, you sometimes will need a hand getting that juice box!
As diabetics, it is very important to have a support system cradling us, be it at home with our parents or spouse, in the workplace, or at school. I believe that it is very important to raise awareness and share as much information as possible about all there is to being diabetic. Honestly, thats the first think I do when I go anywhere new, I share the 101 basic symptoms of hyper and hypo glycemia and what to do in case of emergency. And PLEASE, to whomever is reading this, if someone collapses DO NOT ADMINISTER insulin or glucose. Check their blood glucose levels first and then act accordingly - it is best to call emergency services in such a case.
Treatment – The 15 by 15 Rule
It is a rule that I have adopted and has proven to be very efficient: The 15-15 rule. Have 15 grams of carbohydrate to raise your blood glucose and check it after 15 minutes. If it’s still below 70 mg/dl, have another serving. Repeat these steps until your blood glucose is at least 70 mg/dl. Once your blood
glucose is back to normal, eat a meal or snack to make sure it doesn’t lower again.
This may be:
- Glucose tablets (see instructions on label)
- 150 ml (1/2 cup) of juice or regular soda (not diet)
- 1 tablespoon of sugar, honey, or corn syrup
- 250 ml of nonfat or 1% milk
- Hard candies, jellybeans, or gumdrops—see food label for how many to consume
Many people, myself included, tend to want to eat as much as they can until they feel better. This can cause blood glucose levels to shoot way up. Using the step-wise approach of the "15-15 rule" can help you avoid this, preventing high blood glucose levels. I also tend to keep juice boxes that include up to 18 grams of carbs max so I limit my intake. It is up to ever person’s preferences here. I believe trial and error is best to identify with what works and what doesn’t.
Everyone usually tells me how strong I am to poke myself with a needle multiple times a day, be it insulin injections or glucose monitoring; however, I must highlight that the hardest things that come along with being diabetic is the unseen daily hysteria we experience.
It really is a full time job of continuously calculating exchanges, looking out for indicators of highs and lows, figuring out the right bundle of insulin dosages, and physical activity. Sometimes, things go out of range and I just want to reach out to everyone and tell them that it is okay! It is all trial and error most of the days. It will never always be perfect, but rather manageable. It should impaired your function and definitely not be an
excuse that disallows you to excel. Diabetics are super heroes and should act as such!