Hypoglycemia Symptoms With Normal Blood Sugars

photoCANM2EOXHave you ever had hypoglycemia symptoms, but when you check your blood sugar, you’re completely normal?  So then you wait 20 minutes, check again, and you’re blood sugar hasn’t changed.  Yet you still feel hypoglycemic?  It’s kind of a phantom hypo.  Yeah, I have too.  Annoying right?

Recently I’ve seen a lot of tweets that people were experiencing this syndrome, and could not explain it.  Then suddenly it happened to me a few times in a few days.  It’s happened to me before, if only rarely, but all of this chatter about it made me want to know what the heck is going on.  When we ARE hypoglycemic, we know what to do to correct it, but what are we suppose to do when we have symptoms, and we ARE NOT hypoglycemic?  I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather deal with high blood sugar than low blood sugar.  High blood sugar affects my body, which I can deal with, but low blood sugar affects my mind, and I can’t handle losing my mind.  So I needed to know how to fix this.

Well, I think I’ve found the answer.  Everybody’s symptoms of a hypo are different, and mine even change every so often.  So I went looking for my symptoms on the web, and kept finding the same thing over and over.  A combination of dehydration, and low electrolytes.  My last post was specifically about the spiraling hole that dehydration can cause for a diabetic, and the importance of correcting it.  What are the symptoms of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance?  They’re almost the same, and include but are not limited to:

  • Irritability
  • Light Headedness
  • Mental Confusion
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Weakness or Fatigue
  • Irregular Heartbeat

Do those symptoms look familiar?  Looks like hypo symptoms for most people right?  So what if our phantom hypo is really dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance?  Well, I tested this theory.  Last week, when I had my last phantom hypo, and I started researching all this stuff, I reached for my carb free protein powder, which has a good dose of electrolytes in it.  I mixed up a shake, gulped it down, and 15 minutes later my symptoms were gone!  Now, I’m not saying this is definitive by any means, but I’d recommend you go ask your educator or endocrynologist about this.

Some of my favorite foods that are high in electrolytes are bananas, avocados, leafy greens,  some fish, some seeds, and more.   There are many sports electrolyte drinks out there, but I don’t recommend them because they are have carbs.  There are also things like Emergen C Electrolytes, and Pedialyte, but I think they have carbs too?

So the next time you have phantom hypo symptoms with a normal blood sugar, you might be low on electrolytes?  Again, please ask your endocrinologist or diabetes educator about this before taking action.


********** Now ya know, and knowing is half the battle.  Go Joe!!! **********

If you found this article helpful, please give it a LIKE and share it with others who might benefit from it.  Thanks for paying it forward!  If you’d like to connect with me, you’ll find my social networking profiles to the right:  ————————>


Dehydration and Diabetes

Do you know that dehydration and diabetes go hand in hand?  Did you know that if you have diabetes and a high blood sugar, it can cause dehydration, which causes a high blood sugar AND temporary insulin resistance, causing an even higher blood sugar?  Yeah, neither did I for the longest time.  When I was a kid, my mom used to tell me that dark urine meant my sugar was high.  That’s true.  The urine is dark because my kidneys are trying to reduce my blood sugar by filtering it out in the urine, which can lead to dehydration.

When you have a high blood sugar, the body tries to correct this naturally, by removing the  glucose from the blood stream, filtering it through the kidneys, and out of the body when you urinate.  This is what causes your urine to become dark.  If you become dehydrated as a result of this, your network of blood vessels can’t deliver nutrients or INSULIN as well, so your insulin won’t work the way it should (temporary insulin resistance).  Now you bolus, but your blood sugar won’t go down.  Sound familiar?

Have you ever noticed that when your blood sugar is high, you have to pee a lot?  When you’re peeing, you’re helping, and making it worse at the same time.  You’re getting the glucose out of your system, and you’re making the insulin resistance worse.  It’s a catch 22, right?  Wait, it gets worse!

The next thing the frequent urination causes, is an electrolyte imbalance.  Some common symptoms of the imbalance are muscle cramps, trembling, mental confusion, and many more.   Do these symptoms sound familiar?  Common electrolytes are sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride.  I use Real Salt and Himalayan Salt in my house, and eat avocados almost every day to keep my electrolyte levels up all the time.  Electrolytes are needed for most of your bodies functions, including the beating of the heart and other muscle action.  Without them, we die.  (Check out my guest blog about the diabetic superfood, the avocado on Diabetes Daily.)

So now we have a recipe that causes that dreaded 3 letter abbreviation we all know.  DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis)  DKA happens because the body can’t utilize the insulin you’re injecting, so it turns to burning fatty acids which don’t require insulin.  The body starts to break down fat cells into fatty acids, which releases ketone bodies, both of which can be used for fuel.  Insulin is what brings down the level of ketone bodies in your blood, just like glucose.  Since insulin isn’t working at this point, your ketones rise to dangerous levels, making your blood pH acidic, and you can end up in the emergency room.

When you go to the hospital, they treat you with an IV of saline (salt water), insulin, and electrolytes.  This is the combination to correct dehydration, and thus DKA.  To prevent dehydration, and DKA, my advice is to always drink lots of water, eat avocados, and use a good quality sea or himalayan salt.  When your blood sugar is a little high, put a pinch of salt in a bottle or glass of water and drink up.  Problem averted.

Symptoms of dehydration include frequent urination, dry mouth, weakness, lightheadedness, muscle cramps, sweating stops, and more.  Easy ways to check for dehydration are the color of the urine, and the skin test in the picture to the right ———->

Oh, by the way, caffeine makes dehydration worse because it makes you pee.  So don’t think your soda, coffee, or tea will help in preventing dehydration.    Drink water, . . . just plain water, in a dehydration scenario.

********** Now ya know, and knowing is half the battle.  Go Joe!!! **********

If you found this article helpful, please give it a LIKE and share it with others who might benefit from it.  Thanks for paying it forward!  If you’d like to connect with me, you’ll find my social networking profiles to the right:  ————————>

Unexpected Highs With Diabetes

Unexpected highs with diabetes is a fact of life.  We all have them.  Many of them ARE explainable though, and thus avoidable.  Diabetics and diabetic caregivers just have to be armed with the knowledge of what causes those unexpected highs, so they can successfully avoid them.  My guess is that your doctor/endocrinologist has never explained this for you, or if they did, they did it so quickly that you couldn’t remember it.  If you can find a good diabetes educator, that will spend some time with you, that will certainly help.  I encourage you to take this list to your next doctor visit, or Google more about each, so you can become more empowered in the management of your diabetes.  now you know, and knowing is half the battle.  (Yes, I just quoted G.I. Joe)  Now I’m no expert on this, but here are 13 possible reasons I’ve learned that can unexpectedly raise your blood sugar.  Go Joe!

  1. Infections:  Colds, flu, wounds, other infections.  Infections cause the liver to turn proteins into glucose for fuel to fight off the infection.  This is a natural and normal reaction for your body.  This can happen hours or days before any symptoms begin to show.  Thus appearing unexpected.
  2. Dehydration:  Along with infections comes dehydration.  This also raises your blood sugar.  I’ll write a blog post about dehydration soon, but have you ever noticed your urine is a dark?  That means you’re dehydrated.  It can happen without infection too.  You’re dehydrated because your blood sugar is high, and your kidneys are trying to lower your blood sugar by removing it through urination.  Then the dehydration causes a sort of insulin resistance, so you can’t bring the blood sugar down.
  3. Scar Tissue:  If you inject your shot into, or attach your infusion set into . . . scar tissue, this can cause unexpected highs.  This is more prevalent with those who take shots because it only happens once, and the next shot is fine, so it appears completely unexplainable.  Those of us with infusion sets for our insulin pumps notice this for multiple boluses, and then we “might” realize the problem, and it becomes explainable.
  4. Gastroparesis:  Many of you probably don’t even know what this is, but diabetes is the leading cause of it.  It’s otherwise known as “delayed stomach emptying”.  This is more common in diabetics who’ve been living with diabetes for many years, with poor A1C scores.  High blood sugars cause the nerves in the stomach that push the food through to the intestines, to become weak, thus causing the stomach to take hours to push the food through to the intestines.  The effect of this is that instead of your blood sugar rising from a meal in an hour, it waits for 4 or 5 hours before it rises, so you get a low from your bolus, then an unexpected high later.  You can ask your doctor to be tested for this.
  5. Medications:  There are literally hundreds of medications that can raise blood sugar unexpectedly.  There are supplements that can cause this too.  Whenever you’re doctor prescribes something new, ask the PHARMACIST, not the doctor of drug interactions as well as blood sugar interactions.  dLife has a very comprehensive list of these drugs.  You can Google more from there.  You’ll be surprised at some of the common drugs on the list.
  6. Stress:  I mentioned it briefly above when I spoke of infections.  When you’re physically, mentally, or emotionally stressed, your body releases cortisol from the adrenal glands.  Cortisol tells the liver to convert amino acids (proteins) into glucose, which can be used as fuel by your muscles.  The problem is, you often don’t need that extra fuel, and as diabetics, our bodies won’t adjust by secreting insulin to bring it down.  This also why stress causes weight gain.  Your body was designed to do this intentionally as a fight or flight response.  The next time your blood sugar is unexpectedly high, ask yourself if you’ve been stressed lately.
  7. Exercise:  I can hear you now.  You’re saying “Wait, I thought exercise lowered your blood sugar?”  Well, not all the time.  For those who try to go low carb, they’ll most likely notice that now when they exercise, their blood sugar goes up instead of down after a workout.  With low carb, your body doesn’t store much fuel in the muscles and liver, so exercise depletes it quickly, and then the body goes about turning protein into glucose again, via gluconeogenesis.  This sometimes happens even when you’re not truly low carb, but have been without carbs for 12 hours or more.  Like in my picture at the top of this article.
  8. High Carb Meals:  With a high carb meal, you have to take a large dose of insulin.  You know exactly what your insulin scale is, and you know exactly how many carbs you’ve eaten.  Then why 2 or 3 hours later is your blood sugar over 300?!  Because with large doses of insulin, the insulin doesn’t behave in an expected fashion.  It’s basically a form a form of insulin resistance, thanks to the large dose, so only some of the insulin works.  Eating high carb over time with large doses will still cause insulin resistance even in type 1 diabetics, so you’ll need more for it to work, just like a real junkie.  LOL!
  9. Low Carb:  When you eat low carb as a diabetic, especially type 1 diabetics, it’s not abnormal to have your blood sugar rise, and keep rising, even after a bolus, when you’ve had no carbs for hours or days.  This is a normal response (the science of it is a whole other article), and the way I found works best to handle it when I was trying low carb, was to double my temporary basal for 4 hours.  Having higher insulin over time fixed it well.  However, it caught up to me, and eventually my little trick wouldn’t work anymore, and I experienced Diabetic Keto Acidosis (DKA) for the first time in my life.  Won’t do that again!
  10. High Fat Meals:  Yes, a high fat meal can cause your blood sugar profile to change.  If your normal blood sugar profile gives you a normal blood sugar 2 hours after a meal, eating a high fat meal will cause those carbs to be delayed getting into your blood stream, due to the fat slowing it down.  This creates a similar effect that gastroparesis has.  A low from your bolus, then a high from you eating carbs for the low plus those delayed carbs hitting your blood stream.  There are other foods like vinegar that delay carbohydrate digestion too.
  11. Infusion Set:  If you wear your infusion set for more than the recommended 3 days (GUILTY!), you could have unexpected highs.  They don’t tell us this to make more money, they tell us this because after 3 days, your body starts to attack the infusion set as an intruder, and it starts to build up tissue around it, making it harder to deliver the insulin  through the buildup.  I know some of us wear them longer to save money because we don’t/didn’t have insurance, but if you can afford to, change your sets every 3 days.
  12. Pump Problems:  This isn’t so elusive as the other issues that can lead to unexpected highs, but if your infusion set gets twisted on your skin, you get an air bubble in your tubing, your pump motor fails, your battery dies, etc, etc, etc.
  13. Insulin Fails:  Insulin has an expiration date.  Do you keep your vials for months before using them?  Do you store it in the fridge?  Do you ever look at the expiration date?  Insulin can die on you.  It literally fails.  Right out of the box, as soon as you bring it home, or after sitting in the fridge for to long.  Expired or not.  I’ve had to return vials to the pharmacy because they simply didn’t work.  Then everything was fine.  It takes a day or more to realize though.  So in the mean time you’re pulling your hair out.

There are more of course, but I think those are the most common things we might run into.  If you can think of one that I missed, please leave a comment for us all, so that we can share the knowledge.


If you found this article helpful, please give it a LIKE and share it with others who might benefit from it.  Thanks for paying it forward!  If you’d like to connect with me, you’ll find my social networking profiles to the right:  ————————>

WordPress theme: Kippis 1.15