Low blood sugars suck. When running into a hypo, there's only one solution: carbs. Tastes are different and not everyone picks the same food to treat low blood sugar. Juice, sugar cubes, jelly beans Find out which hypo snacks our internal monster tamers with diabetes prefer.
Low blood sugars, they’re all too familiar
Crime scene: kitchen. Time of incident: middle of the night. Culprit: Hypo! We've all been there.
There you are, sitting on the cold kitchen floor, lit only by the dim bulb from the open refrigerator. Scattered around you are candy wrappers, empty yogurt containers, crumbs from something you don’t recognize, and a weird combination of stuff that sounds disgusting now that your blood sugar is coming back up.
Low blood sugars are a little different for each of us
If you’re lucky enough to feel them, hypos stop you in your tracks and demand your instant attention. The price we pay for delay is steep.
Symptoms can be sweating, feeling nervous, shakiness, feeling dizzy or unsteady, or feeling hunger like you’ve never felt in your life.
Lows can lead to unconsciousness or seizures, which is sometimes the first symptom for those with hypo-unawareness. Low blood sugars are a little different for each of us, and each low can feel different. But treating low blood sugar always calls for the same thing: Carbs!
We asked some of our mySugr monster tamers living also with diabetes how they treat their lows. While we all know what we’ve been taught (fast acting glucose, 15/15, etc), it’s often hard to put theory into practice in the heat of the moment.
1. Marlis (The Anti-Glucose-Tab Monster)
“If I’m really low then juice usually helps me best (grape is my favorite). I don’t like using glucose tabs or dextrose unless I really have nothing else with me. But even then I prefer to run into the nearest supermarket and get juice or biscuits/cookies. When I have a hypo at night I wake up with my mind racing and will often eat other things – sometimes too much. I try to offset the extra food with a bolus.”
2. Scott (The Cereal-Crumb Monster)
“If I wake during the middle of the night, and it’s a “bad low” (I’m really freaking out and panicked, and/or I look at my Dexcom and it’s low with a down arrows or and angle arrow), I head all the way downstairs to the kitchen and eat a bunch of cereal with milk. Easily 150g of carbs. Easy. And I try to bolus for it, but it never works out. I always wake up high. But never seem to learn my lesson.”
3. Anne (The Ohhh-Juice Monster)
“It’s so hard for me not to eat the whole kitchen empty when I go low at night. I try to stick to juice followed by dark chocolate. Orange juice and cocoa, what a combination! ? When I’m out and about and don’t have these with me, then it’s a quick dash into the next supermarket where I can always find a smoothie. They’re nice and cold (hypos often make me so hot) and I tell myself that if I’m going to overeat to treat the low, at least I’m being somewhat healthy.”
4. Clara (The Sugar-Cube Monster)
“The famous ancient sugar cubes are my number one cure for lows! Now and then my stock at home runs short, but then I usually have a small stash of sugar packets from coffeehouses as backup. Those little packets work great for when I’m exercising, too, because they are easy to carry. My friends and family know that I can make good use of them and always save them for me when they go out. Hypos at breakfast are the worst for me – anything with honey better watch out – it’s my favorite and usually doesn’t survive a breakfast time low.”
5. Ilka (The Chocolate Spread Monster)
“It all depends on the nature of the low and the symptoms I’m feeling. When my blood sugar drops quickly, my discipline goes along with it and I eat everything in sight. After 30 years with diabetes I just can’t stand glucose tabs anymore – they get stuck in my throat, literally. My favorite hypo treatment is Chocolate Hazelnut Cream. It’s rather unusual, considering the fat content. Nevertheless, 1-2 teaspoons of it and my BG shoots upwards. The good thing about it is that I’ll remain relatively stable after that. At night I like either juice or marshmallows - easy to che chew when you are not fully awake."
Many flavors for treating low blood sugars
It’s no surprise that we all have different ways to treat our lows. While it’s good to smile, laugh, and connect over our hypo tales, it’s also important to know that they can be very dangerous and are really important to pay attention to.
If you’re experiencing a lot of lows, especially ones that you can’t explain, please make sure to check-in with your healthcare team as quickly as you can.
Find some time with a diabetes specialist, endocrinologist, or certified diabetes educator. They can help you avoid the lows and get some balance back. They’ll love you forever if you bring some data with you, did someone say the mySugr Logbook?
The mySugr website does not provide medical or legal advice. mySugr blog articles are not scientific articles, but intended for informational purposes only.
Medical or nutritional information on the mySugr website is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult a physician or health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.