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Aura during hypoglycemia

Discussion in 'Reactive Hypoglycemia' started by glenk, May 17, 2018.

  1. glenk

    glenk Type 1 · Newbie

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    When my blood glucose goes very low (below 50 mg/dl), I'll often develop an aura in my eyes, kind of like dozens of flashing lights, similar to that experienced by migraine sufferers. The flashing is most intense if hypoglycemia develops when I'm outdoors (in bright daylight) and then move indoors. Conversely, if the hypoglycemia develops when I'm indoors, the aura and other symptoms all go away if I move outdoors. I'm curious to hear from others who have similar experiences. Any ideas why low blood glucose symptoms would go away simply by going out into the brightness outdoors?
     
  2. Guzzler

    Guzzler Type 2 · Master

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    I have never had a hypo but I think I would be more concerned about treating for the hypo than stopping the flashing lights. Wouldn't going outside increase fall risk?
     
  3. phdiabetic

    phdiabetic Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Stop walking around! Just sit somewhere and treat. If you are low you don't want to be using up further glucose by wandering about. Seeing lights is a fairly common hypo symptom, although personally it is not something I have often experienced (maybe a very mild case once so far - and it happened when I was inside after just coming back from outside).
     
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  4. EllieM

    EllieM Type 1 · Moderator
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    Your brain is being starved of sugar, so you're getting all sorts of weird effects. It sounds as though you've entered severe hypo land, which can quickly escalate to seizures and/or unconsciousness. It's not good for your brain. Please make treatment a priority :).
    Edited to add - just seen you've posted in the RH forum, so maybe you're not as low as a T1 would be with the same symptoms.... My apologies for the possibly/probably bad advice. Do you treat hypos, or are you better off suffering and waiting for your blood sugar to go up naturally?
     
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  5. Alison54321

    Alison54321 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I think it's to do with our organs needing glucose to function, including the eye. So it's about the amount of glucose the retina has available, as energy. Apparently, the only source of glucose available to the retina, is from our blood. (I found that thanks to google). I've had this happen a few times, but not that often. I haven't experimented with what happens when I go outside.

    I have been outside and realised I was having a hypo, and gone inside, and seen those weird flashing lights. Guessing, presumably, that is because the eye has to work harder, with the changing light. The pupils become dilated, as there's less light. Whereas going outside, maybe the eye has to do less work, because of more light, and therefore less energy/glucose is required.

    That isn't very technical language I've used here, but thinking about it, that would be my guess.

    So now you know, you can just concentrate on getting your blood sugar back up, next time.
     
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  6. gwai84

    gwai84 Type 1 · Member

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    I get these flashing lights related to hypos, near hypos, or when blood sugar is falling quickly - pretty much every time, it's one of my most reliable symptoms!

    They originate from the brain, not the eye (in my case anyway) - the "flashes" are identical and occur in both eyes at the same time. This is the same as migraine aura; it's a visual symptom but originating in the brain. It's all related to brain cells requiring glucose to function normally - with low levels you can get all sorts of strange effects, right up to seizure if you blood sugar falls low enough.
     
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  7. mountaintom

    mountaintom Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    It’s angels.
     
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  8. Lamont D

    Lamont D Reactive hypoglycemia · Master

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    Hi, this is not one of my symptoms of hypoglycaemia, but I agree, it is your brain, demanding glucose for you to function.
    What I get is, every now and again, is blurred vision, that is a signal that I'm either going too high or too low and address the problem.
    You should be aiming to stabilise your bloods to normal levels by eating very low carb.
    Having constant blood levels is the best way to manage the condition.

    In retrospect, during my forties, I had a terrible period of migraine attacks.
    When I had similar symptoms. But since going Keto, I haven't had one,.

    It is what you eat!
     
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  9. derry60

    derry60 Prediabetes · Well-Known Member

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    This may sound strange...but It was a couple of years ago on my laptop. I was typing away when all of a sudden the right side of my computer seemed to go misty grey. I could only see one side of the laptop. I tried reading out loud and couldn't I was jumbling up the words on the screen, but I could talk perfectly well in a conversation. Then came a headache and I started to feel sick. The mist lasted around 5 mins but a headache continued. I quickly took two panadol...It scared the hell out of me because of not being able to read words on the laptop. First thing I thought was "Am I having a stroke?" I looked up the internet and what I did not know was that slurred speech when trying to read out loud can also be part of a Migraine. I have suffered Migraine's in the past but not like that. I went to the docs just to make sure and she reassured me that what I had was an Aura and the reading out aloud problem can be part of a Migraine as if it were a stroke I would not be able to hold a normal conversation...All to do with the eyes and brain trying to read when having an Aura
     
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  10. Grant_Vicat

    Grant_Vicat Don't have diabetes · Well-Known Member

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    Hi @glenk Here is a description I wrote in 2009:
    I have a whole battery of warning signs when I am low, sugar-wise. The most obvious is sudden excessive yawning. Many times in public I have been tempted to ask total strangers whether they are diabetic, simply because they yawn incessantly. Is this because the brain thinks it needs bucketfuls of Oxygen to create unattainable energy? I can also feel unnaturally depressed. Red stars can dance within my eyes and if I walk into a darker area, what look like giant sunflower heads blot out my vision. Tingling affects all my mouth my hands shake, and I have a raging headache. I have often been alerted to low readings because I am unable to make decisions. Ironically this is often at lunchtime, in a food shop, when I am trying to work out what adds up to 60g of Carbohydrate.

    The red stars would usually appear at night time, but not always. The "sunflowers" would appear when I walked from bright light to shade, such as a porch or straight indoors, but in either case I knew I was seriously close to passing out. Throughout my working life with diabetes I would aim for a bottle of Lucozade in any place I would be likely to work. Perhaps the most unusual was under the upright piano keyboard for any hypo I experienced while playing for Assembly at school. I needed this on several occasions, let alone in the classrooms! I wouldn't find the stars or auras disappearing until I had had some form of glucose, and even then it could take a considerable time. I agree with posters above who say you should act immediately, not experiment!
     
  11. Alison54321

    Alison54321 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Are you a very visual person, Grant? I always think people experience the world in different ways. through their senses. I've known people who can see other people's auras, and people who see colours when they listen to music, but I can't.

    I wonder if that is part of the different experiences?
     
  12. Grant_Vicat

    Grant_Vicat Don't have diabetes · Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting thought! Certainly I am a keen amateur artist, but it always fascinated me why the stars were always red - why not bright blue, or green? There is probably a good answer to that. The "sunflower effect is the closest I can get to what I was experiencing in a near unconscious state, but unlike @glenk I had one huge central darker disc surrounded by very bright yellow moving "flames". Although I don't see colours when I listen to music, certain colours make me think of particular keys. Holly green always makes me think of D minor!
     
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  13. glenk

    glenk Type 1 · Newbie

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    Thank you, everyone, for your replies, and for your concern about my need to treat hypoglycemia immediately. I have been a Type I diabetic for 22 years now (I may have mis-categorized this post because I didn't exactly know what "reactive" hypoglycemia was), but thankfully have never experienced a hypoglycemia event that I haven't been able to treat myself, even as low as 30 mg/dl. That said, I do take the events seriously and treat as soon as I am able. The times I've been going from outside to inside would have been when seeking treatment during those rare times that I don't have my backup emergency tabs in my pocket. For the one time i remember going from inside to outside during an event, I don't recall the reason why I didn't treat while indoors (perhaps I wasn't being rational due to the hypoglycemia); I just remember being so surprised that *all* my symptoms went away once I was outside - not just the flashing lights, but also the shakiness and confusion. Any theories?
     
  14. Becky1

    Becky1 Reactive hypoglycemia · Newbie

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    I also have RH ( but I am not diabetic) I tend to get flashing lights and see floating bright rings when blood sugar is below 2mmols I have had jerking movements of all my limbs and been near to collapse on one occasion following the flashing light stage when I was unable to raise glucose quick enough , ensure you always have something with you to raise glucose level quickly and ensure friends and family know about your condition as it’s a sign your body is entering severe hypo stage which is more difficult to reverse quickly without help
     
  15. carty

    carty Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    what is this please I can't find anything about it
    Carol
     
  16. lindisfel

    lindisfel · Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like migraine aura.
    I get zig zag lighting in my vision and can get a running water effect around the periphery.
    Auras are variable.
    Mine are not related to blood glucose variations.
    D.
     
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  17. carty

    carty Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I had something similar the optician thought that I was too old for aural migraine to start (thanks !) GP sent me to T I A clinic cos he thought that I may have been having mini strokes They said no but sent me for CT scan which also came back ok .Nothing else was done and haven't had one since ! It wasn't due to low BGs by the way
    Carol
     
  18. Lamont D

    Lamont D Reactive hypoglycemia · Master

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    Hi and welcome to our forum.
    I too have non diabetic RH!
    But I don't treat hypos the way you describe. Because of the rebound effect.
    RH if you are uncertain why a hypo happens, is caused by an overshoot of insulin, because of the amount of glucose derived from a meal.
    The best way not to keep having hypos, is to avoid the food that causes the insulin response, namely carbs and sugars.
    The best way of treating a hypo is to nudge your blood sugar levels up to get back into normal levels, instead of going high again. Then eat a low carb meal once that happens. If you overdo the hypo treatment, you will cause big fluctuations in blood sugar levels up and down.
    Would like to hear your story to get your diagnosis and what medical, dietary advice you have had.
    I have not had a hypo in four years, due to my diet.

    Best wishes
     
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  19. ickihun

    ickihun Type 2 · Master

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    I still had hypos on very low carb, in fact sometimes more until I reduced my insulins. A great sign of the need for less units to be injected.
    It's the stalemate I don't like. :(
    Looking forward to it happening again but with far much more reduction or even no fast acting at all :) :) :) Let's see. :)
     
  20. lindisfel

    lindisfel · Well-Known Member

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    I am interested in your comments seeing has I have just discovered I have very slight age related macular degeneration in the right eye. Please, how is that differentiated from diabetic macular disease?
    thanks
    D.

     
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