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How Low is dangerously Low?

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by andiej, Jan 2, 2014.

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  1. andiej

    andiej Approved members

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    Jack has had his first real low this afternoon, his reading was 2.7 and we treated it quickly.

    Now the fear has set in regarding lows especially at night when it's harder to keep an eye on him. We are already checking at 11pm and 2am. I was wondering at what levels feinting and comas set in and how long people would need to be low for before this happened?

    Any advice much appreciated.

    Thank you to everyone who has helped us in this first few days.

    Andrea :)
     
  2. swellman

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    I think our lowest was a 35 which converts to 1.9 and that was definitely scary. He was symptomatic and acting weak and shaky and had some cognitive impairment. We've been that low a few times. Sometimes juice and tablets were used and once glucagon (mini). We've seen 40's more times than I can count and those are treated quickly with tablets and juice. Most of those were asymptomatic.

    I'm not suggesting that 40's aren't dangerous because I believe every child reacts differently to different levels of lows. In our case, however, if we see a 40s we usually say "Huh, how'd that happen?", treat and move on.
     
  3. Mommy For Life

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    The lowest bg my daughter has had was a 25. She was still able to walk and talk. I was very scared she was going to pass out/have a siezure and the glucagon would have to be used. Lately DD has not felt her lows even when she's been in the 40s. I am up till 11pm or 12am most nights to do bg checks, then again between 2 & 3 am, and when I wake up at 7am.

    I honestly do not know what bg level a person would pass out at or enter a coma. I hope to never see that number on my dds meter.
     
  4. nebby3

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    We've seen 20 which my dd definitely felt but she's never been unconscious or had a seizure. I think how long is dangerous varies. How long a low goes on with no treatment may be more important. I recently read a nurses' forum in which one member reported seeing a bg of 1 (in mg/dl as in the US, not mmol) and the patient was fine. They could see such low numbers because it was a blood draw btw. I also read one can be low for like 4 hrs without brain damage. But I have had an adult with T1 tell me they could tell their memory was affected after a series of bad lows. Basically I think it varies. But I also think one 30 or even 20 that you catch and treat is not going to do significant long term damage.
     
  5. Nancy in VA

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    Emma has had lows in the 20s and acted normal. And she had a seizure at 55 and another at a higher reading. Lows can be scary but just be vigilant.
     
  6. MamaC

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    I believe it's situational and depends on many variables. My son has been "LO" (under 20) and perfectly fine - walking, talking, thinking. He has been 50 and out of it.
     
  7. hawkeyegirl

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    I think lows that are caught quickly and treated are generally not dangerous. We've had many lows over 6 years, and never have I felt that we were close to loss of consciousness or a seizure. Prolonged lows are much more dangerous.

    Personally, I think everyone should be given a CGM at diagnosis. It's as close to a guarantee as possible that you will catch lows and treat them before they get to the point where they could cause a seizure or loss of consciousness.
     
  8. TheFormerLantusFiend

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    People with blood sugars below 45 mg/dl or 2.5 mmol/l show changes in EEG (brainwaves) and the theory is that that's the threshhold where it CAN cause death, but it certainly doesn't usually.
    The people who have died of hypoglycemia while wearing CGMs have appeared to have been below 2.5 mmol/l for four or more hours, and to have had blood sugars below 1 mmol/l at the time of death.

    However, many people pass out from lows much faster than that, and it's possible to die from a low because you passed out while driving or swimming or something like that. I am personally only really and truly afraid of going low while swimming.

    I have personally experienced thousands of episodes below 2.5 mmol/l (45 mg/dl) and have never lost consciousness from a low although I've had a few pretty nasty episodes because I went low while asleep and I got up without being truly awake. The lowest my meter has read that I think was a valid reading was 23 mg/dl and that was only about four months after I was diagnosed.
     
  9. emm142

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    I had one reading of LO (below 0.6/10) during which I was definitely very low, but I doubt whether it was genuinely below 10. Was probably around 1-2. I've also had 1.3, 1.8 and 1.9. In all of those I was conscious and able to self-treat (though very shaky and a bit disorientated). I tend to lose memory below about 2.5, and apparently once fainted/collapsed at 2.4. It wasn't a long term loss of consciousness though, think it was more that my muscles weren't getting the sugar to hold me up, and everything I know about it is from what people have told me since I can't remember.

    That's in approaching 7 years of diabetes. It's actually quite unusual for me to go below 3, but I don't have the best control now. When my average is lower I tend to lose awareness of lows and thus go more low, more often.
     
  10. Mommy For Life

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    This has me wondering if most pwd /cwd become desensitized to feeling lows when their avg bg is on low side. My dd avg has gone down quite a bit and lately DD feels nothing when she is low. Scary. Sorry didn't mean to derail thread but Emma's comment has my wondering if this common or just a YDMV.
     
  11. mamattorney

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    I've noticed this too just in the last 4-6 weeks (as long as we've been using the G4). Before, when she'd feel low, she'd test and be in the 60's or 70's. Now, when she tests because she feels low, she's never higher than the 50's.
     
  12. MomofSweetOne

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    Do you suppose that could be because of stress on the adrenals with blood sugar swings? I've read (don't know where) that the low feelings in the 60s (or low 70s) are actually the adrenals reacting to stress and that lows in the 50s and below are actual glucose deprivation. It made sense to me because my daughter's symptoms in the low 70s or 60s are shakiness, but in the 50s, there's a desperation, whininess, and then a long time for her to feel better from the low. The more we try to strike the spike, the better she feels without the BG plunge.
     
  13. mamattorney

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    Could be. I don't know. She's very vague with what symptoms she's feeling when she feels low, so I don't know if there is a difference between the two. As twist on the famous phrase, I guess she "knows it when she feels it", but isn't very adept at describing it to someone else.
     
  14. don04

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    I can help with some of this... I have had diabetes for ~30 years. I am currently 37, diagnosed at 6.

    I have been upper 20's, and able to check my BG, and get some OJ to recover. I was very weak, drooling on myself, and sight was blurry... but I was able to function enough to correct.

    Over time, your body does adapt to your "normal" BG. If you usually run high (around 200), then you feel fine at 200... You will feel very low under 100. If you usually run around 100, then it is going to go much lower before you start to feel it. It is of course a little different for everyone.

    I can also tell when going up or down a noticeable amount... i will feel the changes...

    I have tried to explain to others around me what it feels to be low... and there are not a lot of easy ways. My legs feel weak... like after running a long distance, sight will be come blurry (think after a flash from a camera, slow to focus, lights stay in your vision), and slobbering. While sleeping, my dreams will be incredibly stupid. If I wake up and think to myself, what the heck was that I was just dreaming, it made no sense whatsoever, off I go to check my BG.

    How do I feel when high? That is easy... There is not enough to drink anywhere, and no bathroom is close enough for me. My head sometimes hurts, and often I just cannot stand anyone who does not grasp what I am saying.

    Several times, i have not awoke from BG too low, and several times I have had to get shot from the glucagon kit (back when dealing with insulin antibodies). I awoke both times and was ready to go as if nothing happened. I do not remember anything during, except that I awoke with either ambulance crew staring at me, or a family member.

    Some important things you need to know.
    1. What does insulin smell like? That is a good indicator if your pump is leaking (answer: band-aids).
    2. Practice with an orange and your glucagon before you throw it out. When your child is not waking up is not the time to read the instructions. That needs to be instinctual. My wife patiently goes through the practice every year... even now after being married for 12 years.
    3. Stay calm. I did some really dumb things probably because my BG was screwed up when I was young. My parents knew it, and did not go nuts. They had their act together.

    I got a little off track, but hope that helps to answer some questions.

    Don Fitz.
     

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