Hypoglycemia Unawareness: Has It Arrived?


Yesterday I told Jessica that I felt a little like someone with type 2 diabetes. My numbers rarely go over 200 and I haven’t had any episodes of severe hypoglycemia for months. My blood sugar levels are usually between 100-200, and even after my surgery I didn’t spend much time over 200. I attribute this to my low carb diet, which allows me to take small amounts of insulin, exercise, my insulin pump and frequent testing.

I usually check my blood sugar before going to sleep. But last night, after eating what seemed to me like a large dinner, which I started a little high, I decided to check my blood sugar a little earlier than usual, right after I got out of the shower. I was expecting my blood sugar level to be a little high and I didn’t want to take a correction bolus as my eyes were closing (often when I do that I go low while sleeping).

I sat down, took out my glucose meter and tested my blood sugar. The result was totally unexpected – 45! I felt nothing at all and because it’s been months since I’ve seen such a low result I was convinced it was a mistake. Maybe my finger was wet, I thought. I switched fingers and tested again. The result was the same – 46 – hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia Unawareness

I couldn’t believe it. Not only did I have to deal with the fact that I’d just had a serious case of hypoglycemia unawareness, the last thing I wanted to do after my big dinner was to eat more. I went to the kitchen opened the refrigerator and stared at my options. I worked my way down until I got to the fruit drawer. I looked inside and decided to go with a persimmon (31g of carb).

I tested again 15 minutes later. I was up to 53. GoodI don’t need to eat more. I watched some TV and an hour later before going to sleep I checked my blood sugar again. It was 102. 

I went to sleep feeling wiped out, a feeling that still remains with me now. I’m also disturbed. This was classic hypoglycemia unawareness, caught only by chance.  What if I waited another hour?  What if I’d gone to bed without testing at all? Have I graduated into a new phase of diabetes?

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john huegel
john huegel
10 years ago

Mark, I also do low-carb, but I do not have T1D (my daughter does though).

I have found that once your body adapts to ketosis and especially if you have ketones in your system, low BG’s don’t appear to have the same impact as someone still on a glucose diet.

I have been able to fast for nearly a day and not have “the shakes”, my prior indication that I had low BG. Your brain being fed ketones may just not have adverse outcome at moderately low BG’s that would have made you feel strange in the past.

Catherine Price
10 years ago

It was scary and I hope it was a onetime thing, The good news is that a rarely go low.

@Karen. I have tried a fast acting glucose drink and it worked well. The thing is that I usually don’t think well when low. I never remember the sugar in my pocket or glucose tabs. I just go for food.

Jennifer Jacobs
10 years ago

I know how you feel! Hypo unawareness is the worst. It just sneaks up on you. Hopefully it was just a fluke, and you’ll feel your symptoms next time. 

10 years ago

Very scary for sure.  Can I ask if you’ve tried a fast acting form of glucose, like tablets or gel, for such a low?  Then retest at 15 minutes and follow with some fat like a bit of cheese or peanut butter, to maintain what the number you’ve reached.  If you don’t want to eat alot after having a big meal, and it’s very quickly absorbed. Just thinking…glad you’re ok.

Scott K. Johnson
10 years ago

Scary stuff.  Scary “what if” questions too.

I hate eating when full just because of a low. 

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