New Hypoglycemia Symptoms
For years I have had all of the common symptoms like sweating, shaky hands, and a fast heart rate, but I do not notice these symptoms as much, if at all anymore. One new symptom that has surfaced is that my mouth goes numb when my sugar levels are returning to normal. Have any of you experienced this or any changes in hypo symptoms over the years?
My lips will also go numb and my forearms will hurt along with all of the other things u said. This is my 28th year with type 1. Diane
Hypoglycemia unawareness is common in people who have had Type 1 for many years. I’ve had Type 1 for 46 years now and I have it. I have sort of a unique way to tell if I’m going low though. I’ve had extensive laser surgery in my left eye and I will notice changes in my vision when low. But there is good news for people who have this. I attended the recent ADA update dinner here in St. Louis and listened to a presentation by a researcher at Washington University here. He recently finished a study that showed that careful blood glucose control for 6-8 weeks (that means NO lows, even if you have to run a little higher than you normally do) will REVERSE hypoglycemia unawareness. Seems the reason that you get it is that your body gets used to the lows and doesn’t respond with symptoms. By giving it a break with no lows, it starts sensing them again. Walt Crocker, Author: “Diabetes! A Lifetime of Being Too Sweet.
I’ve had it for 31 years, and have always been very lucky to have good hypoawareness. I find that when my BG’s are in tighter control, I don’t feel lows coming on as quickly as when my BG’s have been riding higher, in contrast with the Washington University study. My symptoms have evolved over the years…I don’t get sweaty often anymore like I did when I was younger. At one point I used to get earaches but don’t anymore. The symptoms that have stayed consistent are being disoriented, and just feeling “creepy” and panicky. We’re all so different, so I don’t think there really is a “normal” set of symptoms, just ones that are more common than others.
I have had T1d for 43 years and have severe hypoglycemic unawareness that gradually developed over the span. Symptoms just stopped occurring. It was worse with tight control ie:5.7 A1c. It’s only natural to have less hypo incidents if you let sugars run higher. I did not find symptoms returning however it is almost impossible not to go low at all for 4-6 weeks if you have this condition. I use a service dog along with 12 or more fingersticks. Seems like good theory and might work for some. ..
Yeah, talking to the researcher, I found it interesting. I don’t know if it would work for everyone as we are all different, like you say. Has anyone else heard of the vision changes if you’ve had laser? I get swirling fields that fade as the sugar returns to normal then disappear. My retina guy says that it’s from the fact that the glucose level in the vitreous changes more slowly than in the blood. He also said it’s not necessarily a good thing for the eye.
I appreciate all of the feedback. It’s always a little scary when changes occur with T1. It makes me feel better to know that other diabetics experience changes in hypo symptoms. I am a 4th grade Language Arts teacher. Yesterday as I was reading to them I noticed I was having a hard time thinking through the text so I had to stop and check my levels. Of course I was low. I had a 15 g fun dip handy that one of the kids gave me from Valentine’s Day so I basically dumped it down my throat. The kids really got a kick out of the fact that I finished reading them the chapter with green teeth from the candy lol! They are great about knowing what I need to do to get it back together. The little boy who gave me the fun dip Valentine was proud of himself that he actually gave me something that helped me 🙂 It is so weird to them that sugar is so important to my health!
Yes, Natalie, I have had my lips go numb on the way up from a low glucose level. I also get very, very cold. And, you are right, you low BG symptoms get harder to recognize the longer you have T1D. I have had it 35 years. Now, I get very pessimistic, which is not like me at all. When I get that was I check my BG. I also have a cat the wakes me up at night when my BG gets low. She will stand on my chest and lick my nose or scratch at my daughter’s bedroom door. She is a treasure and has saved my life 9 times.
I can also get really cold. I’m a special Ed teacher…its can be tough to take care of a low when it first starts if I’m in a situation with students. Now I have a work badge that has a zipper on it and I can fit 6 glucose tabs in it which I wear around my neck…a life saver. Diane
That’s a great idea. I usually keep glucose tabs in my desk, but I’ve had several lows over the last couple of weeks and got down to leftover valentine’s day candy! It would be way more handy to have it with my badge since I’m not always in my room (PLC meetings, recess, etc.).
That is really neat that your cat can sense your lows Huckleberrie! I have 2 blue heelers, and I noticed that one of them sniffs my legs when my blood sugar is off.
Natalie- yes I’m out of my room from noon till 2:25 everyday. I had to do something . Diane
My symptoms have changed as I’ve gotten older. At one point they were the same as high blood sugar. I generally have glucose tabs with me.
I have had T1 for 37 years. I am pretty much unaware these days. I do get the mouth thing occasionally or sometimes sweat if I”m really low. Often my hands go to sleep. (Not good when playing drums!)
But I often read of it as something that is not good. I view it as good. I don’t get confused etc and pass like I used to. I do test before I drive always now just to make sure. And just other times like before I walk the dog or exercise.
Two thoughts for whatever their worth.
I’ve had several lows over the last couple of weeks and got down to leftover valentine’s day candy!
I’m not totally sure I totally get why we find the tabs so appealing. I think a large part of it is just the notion that these are the “official” way to treat hypoglycemia. The grams of carb per tablet is also clearer if you’re in a state of mind to control your dosage. But I’ve also read some people who either don’t like the taste, find the tabs “too big”, or are otherwise unpalatable.
As Gary Scheiner points out, if you plan ahead a lot of “candy” is essentially identical to glucose tabs. Look for something where the first ingredient is dextrose. The quote below was copied from this short Q&A.
The reason glucose tablets and gels work so well is that they contain DEXTROSE, the same stuff given by IV when somebody is unconscious from a low. Dextrose is glucose in its purest form (2 glucose molecules linked together), and thus raises blood sugar the fastest.
Many candies are made with mostly dextrose, and will also work very quickly. These include Smarties (called Rockets in Canada), Sweet Tarts, Nerds, Runts, Spree, Bottlecaps, and a bunch of others. Many are branded under the name “Wonka” candies. Just check the ingredient list: if dextrose is the first thing listed, it should be a winner!
The other thing which can really help with hypos is CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring). I realize it’s damn expensive & difficult to get coverage. However, one of the reasons insurance companies will pay for it is if you can document that you are having problems with frequent hypos and/or hypo unawareness.
If you were to get one tomorrow my impression is that you’d probably want to go with Dexcom. This may change with time and Medtronic’s CGM is not that bad. It’s just Dexcom appears to be (much?) better at this time both in terms of usability & accuracy. (Or is that accuracy & usability?)
T1 LADA since ~1978; first pump Minimed 507 ~1996
currently: Minimed Paradigm 723 (Apr 2013) + CGM (Dec 2014)
That is good to know about the dextrose. My doctor just recently had my insurance cover a dexcom cgm because of my lows and waking up extremely high. I was wearing it that day but it did not read my levels as low when I started noticing I was having a hard time reading to the kids. I have found it is accurate most of the time but not all of the time. I have it set to beep at 80. Overall, I do love having it because it has caught several highs and lows. More than that, I am now learning my trends. I have crazy days still but I am having an easier time knowing what my blood sugar is going to do based on food/ insulin/ activity. Thank you for the info!