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Very low blood sugar but still OK

Discussion in 'Type 1 Diabetes' started by tom58, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. tom58

    tom58 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I'm very very aware when my blood sugar is low but I can still function nearly normally.
    Whenever I mention this to professionals they all immediately says that is because I've become hypo unaware and they will never countenance any other explanation.

    For years I've kept my HbA1c consistently between 5 and 6 and have gradually learnt to live with the effects of less blood sugar. Sometimes that level may fall below 2 but I can still think rationally enough to eat. It has been over twelve years since I've had a diabetic hypo coma and needed someone else to help.

    Despite what diabetic specialists say I believe that it is possible to train your brain to become used to being low on blood sugar, even though it may take a very long time. Has any other fellow T1 had a similar experience?
     
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  2. JAT1

    JAT1 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if it's because when your blood sugar is low, your body and brain use the energy from fat and protein? I've only been diagnosed a year and a half and 3 months after diagnosis, my hba1c has always been below 5. I am hypo aware in spite of what my endo thinks. When I'm dropping I have about 4 carbs and then my blood sugar rises back into "normal". I think it's because I only eat about 90 carbs per day, evenly spread out over time. I also inject of course to cover that. Me and my body prefer to have consistent finger prick test results of 4.5 to 5.5. I have never had a hypo requiring the assistance of others and even when I had an ear infection I didn't go above a bs of 10.
     
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  3. urbanracer

    urbanracer Type 1 · Expert
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    NO.

    Training your body to accept low blood sugars (as low as 2) is inherently dangerous because you are into the clinically defined hypoglycaemic region and therefore not aware of hypo's.

    This makes you unfit to drive (in the UK) and significantly reduces your margin of error.

    Some parts of the brain rely on glucose and cannot survive on ketones and proteins so you are essentially risking starving those parts of the brain from the required nutrition.
     
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    #3 urbanracer, Jan 25, 2020 at 2:25 PM
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  4. Brunneria

    Brunneria Other · Guru

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    Just because you still believe you are capable of functioning does NOT mean that you actually are.
    I would be deeply concerned if you are operating any machinery or making any decisions in that state.

    There is much discussion on whether being in nutritional ketosis (which is, of course, a very different thing from ketoacidosis) can to some extent compensate for low blood glucose, since the brain can draw on ketones.
    But that isn’t relevant here, since you haven’t mentioned a ketogenic way of eating.

    So you have lost hypo awareness, and believe that you can function well in that state.
    I think that is cause for significant concern.
     
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  5. tom58

    tom58 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    A stern telling of from two moderators... must try harder:)

    I have NOT lost hypo awareness. I know perfectly well when I'm low. Usually I eat something quickly but there are times when that is not possible and I go very low.

    What I'm trying to say is that fifty years ago I would have been completely incapacitated by a BS of 2. Today I'm still OK in the sense that I'm aware of my state and am able to do something about it. That is why I think the brain might learn to tolerate lower blood sugar levels over time, if only as an act of self preservation.

    Of course one shouldn't be complacent about this. Of course one should stop all activity and get nourishment. I get it... In fact I got it a long time ago. But if I ever try to discuss this phenomenon all I ever end up with is well intentioned lectures. That is why I started this thread; to see if anyone else has had the same experience.
     
  6. therower

    therower Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    @tom58 .
    TOTALLY agree with everything you’ve said. If I was going to raise this topic I would have stated everything you have.
    We definitely are not alone with this.
    I genuinely believe we evolve and deal better with low BS. I had a bad hypo a few months back at work. Got heavily distracted and before I appreciated the warning signs the rate of fall was quite rapid.
    Years back I would have gone into complete panic mode and would most definitely have needed assistance BUT something inside took control ( as it often does ) . The sweating, blurred vision, tingling lips, shaking and utter confusion were all kept at bay by a voice deep inside that said “ we can deal with this, sit down stay calm, IT will be okay “ and it was.
    All hypos are different, as individuals with diabetes we all manage differently and unless you’ve actually had a insulin induced hypo you’ve not lived.:)
     
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  7. sugarybibs

    sugarybibs Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I've been type 1 for 50 years this April and have never had a hypo were I have passed out I've been as low as 2 and can still do everything I may feel little strange but am still able to carry on as normal I only no I am 2 or 3 by testing my blood sugars suga think this is strange I haven't fainted but everyone is different


    Edited by mod for clarity
     
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    #7 sugarybibs, Jan 25, 2020 at 9:26 PM
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2020
  8. Jaylee

    Jaylee Type 1 · Moderator
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    Hello?

    Interesting topic..

    Headbutting my 44th year as a T1 in July. Had a couple of scary ones as a kid with no BG meter means to gauge where i was at that time. (Just a Clinitest kit.) Starting to convulse in the legs.. (i was riding a bike at the time.) Never needed an ambulance. (to date.)
    As a kid, i remember a class where i didn't want to cause a scene on a low.. That 10 minute wait for the bell was the longest of my life. i was scoffing as i crossed the threshold out of the room.

    I've always managed to hold it together enough to eat something & treat.
    Night hypos still wake me.

    On personal record? my meter has shown somewhere around 1.8 in the extreme.. Still standing.
    I certainly wouldn't or ever have have the confidence to drive. (Edited to add. not even sub 5.)

    A low on horseback is interesting..

    I understand what you are conveying @tom58 . I call it "auto pilot mode" with the base instinct to just treat the hypo & stay out of A&E or the morgue..

    Some unfortunately do not have this capacity if caught on a "backfoot."
     
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    #8 Jaylee, Jan 25, 2020 at 10:05 PM
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  9. SueJB

    SueJB Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Just treating a hypo of 2.7, feeling weird, sweating palpitations but still went to the loo before eating sugar. Brain did its stuff. I agree @tom58
     
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  10. Jaylee

    Jaylee Type 1 · Moderator
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    I don't know about "evolving?" (too short a space of time for the human race with insulin dependency.) ;)
    But there are other signs that can be spotted before we get to the "steel magnolia" scenario the DIAB1 form or the movies featuring a "token diabetic" to move the plot along would lead the gen public to believe...

    I really should write a list of my consistent personal transition stages, should i allow a drop.. Yep, i "experimented" as a teen.

    I feel the "sweaty shaky" stuff is outdated. Harking back to the days prior to BG meters & porcine insulin.. Yep some folk get violent.me? quiet & reserved.. (sometimes just "esoteric," if engaged in conversation at the time..?)

    I have the signs in the early stages with the eyes.. (4.5Mmol) shimmering spangly lights in the lower vision.

    Understood are the dangers if a coma.. Possible brain damage.

    I'm not the kind of guy to take risks these days with my own life or operating a motor vehicle, the lives of others.

    My "personal Jedi training" however, is fix the low as soon as possible.
     
    #10 Jaylee, Jan 25, 2020 at 10:57 PM
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  11. urbanracer

    urbanracer Type 1 · Expert
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    @tom58 ,

    In your opening post you stated that you believe it's possible to "train" your brain to become used to being on low blood sugar.

    From the word "train" I infer wilful intention to learn to cope with hypoglycaemic blood sugar levels.

    This is fundamentally different to any natural adaptation occurring over many years as you seem to be describing in post#5.
     
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  12. EllieM

    EllieM Type 1 · Moderator
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    I personally (49 years T1) hate hypos more than just about anything else to do with T1 diabetes. If I could eliminate them altogether I would. When I was twenty or thirty years younger I could definitely detect the loss of cognitive function from a hypo - if I was doing a mathematical calculation I could feel it become more difficult, likewise map reading etc (though I am a poor map reader). My husband used to test my levels by asking me to do mental arithmetic ….

    My hypo symptoms are now much less than they used to be, though I still wake at night. I would describe it more as an "edgy" feeling than anything else. I make up for it by doing more testing, but it deeply worried me that I had a reading of 2.8 the other day. Having said that, my meter is fairly inaccurate at low levels and I probably should have done a second reading, but I preferred just to treat the hypo.
     
  13. Medina27

    Medina27 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I feel the same when I'm down to 3 I don't notice anything bad

    But doctor tells me "4 is the floor" so I've had to reduce my insulin
     
  14. Medina27

    Medina27 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I also want to point out that I had symptoms of extreme low blood sugar BEFORE diabetes

    I often wondered what would happen if I didn't raid the fridge like my brain was screaming at me to

    Sometimes I would go for quite a long time, but nothing happened (in hindsight this seems very dangerous)

    But eventually my brain would cave in and I would eat 6 chocolate bars in the space of 30 seconds
     
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  15. Skate4T1D

    Skate4T1D Type 1 · Newbie

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    4 is definitely the floor bro, hypo unawareness is a real thing and can kill
     
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  16. Jollymon

    Jollymon Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    In terms of training your brain, I think yes. The inverse side of low blood sugar and feeling normal is high blood sugar and feeling normal. When people used to high blood sugar get their numbers near normal, it’s typical for them to feel low. Or false low blood sugar.

    I am hypoglycemic unaware. I use a testing frequency to keep me away from lows. I don’t feel any of them anymore. As result I have a plan that I use, and stick with it.

    can I un train my brain? I have not been successful with doing this. Other forums say maybe it’s part of my lo carb diet. I don’t know if this is true. I just hold to my testing schedule.
     
    #16 Jollymon, Jan 26, 2020 at 7:32 PM
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
  17. Jollymon

    Jollymon Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    it’s not like Symogi Effect is a great thing, but you need to know this exists.
     
  18. Jaylee

    Jaylee Type 1 · Moderator
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    Hi,

    I somewhat get the feeling the OP is simply stating he's found a way to "rewire" the brain under circumstances of hypoglycaemia to avoid the inherent jibbering wreck regarding symptoms, thus just focusing on the task in hand of treating the low.. And getting back to normal.

    If that's pretty much what what @tom58 is trying to convey? Then I can associate with him.

    Try doing a gig when you know you're dropping. ;) I'm sure there are many other proffessional positions where you just can't leave your post..

    ... Except driving. :stop:
     
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  19. Seacrow

    Seacrow LADA · Well-Known Member

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    I think you probably can train your brain so you have some functionality at low blood glucose. I doubt you could train it to full functionality - try doing some calculus with a low bg sometime.

    My real problem with this is, how do you know that, while you are merrily marching away at lower than recommended levels, that there aren't thousands of brain cells curling up and dying on you. It's not like you hit a certain level and the brain flicks the off switch. For evolutionary survival reasons it's unlikely that the first brain cells to die would be the ones helping you function.

    Functioning on low bg - possibly useful, but unnecessary.
    Alive, undamaged brain cells - is this even a choice?

    Edit:
    Oops, I assumed the OP was training his brain to run low on purpose. If that's not the case, then I'm really sorry for what I was thinking about you.
     
  20. pakwa

    pakwa · Newbie

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    I have never had hypocoma and been diabetic for 25 years and even as low as 1.1 and I have had the machine tell me it’s not possible to read as the levels as is it to low to make a reading but I still can sort my self out.
    I agree with you it is possible to train your brain to be more efficient and go in to survival mode.
    If my sugar is very low my only thought is to have some sugar ,,,
    When I got diagnosed I did not have anybody to help me and got used to making sure I’m fine myself,
    My blood sugars are normally good unless it’s Xmas or my birthday ;)
     
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