When running into a hypo, there's only one solution: carbs. We collected our 6 favorite snacks for treating your low blood sugars.
Crime scene: kitchen. Time of incident: middle of the night. Theme: HYPO!
We've all been there, and Ilka gets us to confess our secrets about treating low blood sugars.
Low blood sugars, they’re all too familiar
There you are, sitting on the cold kitchen floor, lit only by the dim bulb from the open refrigerator. Scattered about 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.
If you’re lucky enough to feel them, they stop you in your tracks and demand instant attention. The price we pay for delay is steep.
The symptoms can be sweating, feeling nervous, shakiness, feeling dizzy or unsteady, or feeling the hunger of a thousand starving people. 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 a low blood sugar always calls for the same thing: carbs.
Ilka recently asked the mySugr Monsterpack how we treat our 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 a Capri Sun 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. Kyle (The Organization-Is-Key Monster)
“I prefer juice or jelly beans. A jelly bean typically has about 1g of carbs, which makes them easy to keep track of while eating. At night I try to make a quick dash to the fridge for a juice then get out of kitchen so I don’t eat everything I can see. But of course that happens sometimes. During the day I try to stick to glucose (tabs, gels, liquids) or sweets that I can keep with me. One key strategy for me is to keep hypo-rations distributed everywhere. In the car, different rooms of the house, in my backpack, in my pocket. Anywhere!”
6. Ilka (The Nutella 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 20 years with diabetes I just can’t stand glucose tabs – they get stuck in my throat, literally. The only exception? Glucolift. Unfortunately they’re only available in the US. But actually, my favorite hypo treatment is Nutella. It’s rather unusual, considering the fat content. Nevertheless, 1-2 teaspoons of Nutella and my BG shoots upwards. The good thing about it is that I’ll remain relatively stable after that. At night I like those fruit squeeze pouches because I can keep them close to my bed.”
Many flavors for treating low blood sugars
It’s no surprise that we all have different ways to treat our lows. As my friend Bennet says, Your Diabetes May Vary!
While it’s good to smile, laugh, and connect over our hypo tales, it’s also very 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 get some help 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 (*cough*mySugr Logbook*cough*)! ?