My Fear of Hypoglycemia

HypoglycemiaDo you have a fear of hypoglycemia?  I’ve been type 1 diabetic for 44 years now.  I can’t possibly count how many hypos I’ve had.  I’ve survived hypo seizures that should have killed me.  You’d think that after 44 years I’d either be an expert at diabetes, or that I’d at least be used to hypoglycemia, but no, I still fear hypo’s like nobody’s business.

Over the years my hypo symptoms have changed.  When I was a kid, my tongue and fingers would tingle.  When I reached my teen years, my body would get this weird sensation that I can’t really describe?  Kinda like your skin was crawling?  Then a little older and I would get berserker angry and my vision would blur.  Years later it changed to my sentences not making any sense to those around me, and not being able to speak clearly.  Now what happens is that I feel like I have sudden bouts of alzheimers or something.  Like suddenly I’ll realize that I can’t concentrate.  I’ll be trying desperately to formulate a sentence, and then I realize I can’t, and then I realize it’s because I’m hypo.  The overwhelming feeling of not being in control of your mind is terrifying.

So to avoid being hypo, I sometimes do things that I know I shouldn’t.  Like if I’ve been battling frequent hypos all day, I’ll eat something before bed, and not bolus, so I can ride the night out high.  Or if I’m out of glucose tabs, and I know it, and I want to play disc golf for a couple hours, I’ll eat, and bolus less than I’m suppose to so I don’t have to worry about hypos on the course.  I know this isn’t good for me, but if you’ve experienced some of the hypos I have, you’d be saying “right on brother”.  Do you do similar things to avoid hypos?

Now, here’s an amusing hypoglycemia story for you.  My mom told me this story a while back, and I almost couldn’t believe it.  Once when I was about 7 years old, I was acting like my blood sugar was low, so she told me to go check my urine (we used litmus style yellow tape that you peed on back then).  Normally I would have gone into the bathroom, but no.  What do I do?  I walk over to the fridge, litmus tape in hand, open the door, and proceed to pee in the fridge.  Yep, I totally did that while hypo.  LOL!

Driving With Diabetes RANT

vanessa-shaneI’m not going to make any friends with this post, but it’s important and it needs to be said.  I should warn you that this is a driving with diabetes RANT, and I’m pretty hot right now.  Am I the only type 1 diabetic that sits in his car for half an hour or more if his blood sugar is low, waiting for my blood sugar to rise, waiting until it’s safe for me to drive?  If my blood sugar falls below 80 mg/dl, I DO NOT DRIVE.  I take glucose, and I wait.  I sit, and I wait, I wait until I see my blood sugar has risen above 80 again, but I DO NOT DRIVE.  If you’re on my FB list, you’ve seen me post when this happens, and I sit there as long as it takes.  Whether it’s takes 15, 30, or 45 minutes.  It makes me so angry when I see diabetics posting about hypoglycemia while driving, like it’s no big deal.  Acting like they’re not even aware they did anything wrong?  Do you post on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook, when you’ve been drinking and drive home?  When you’re not sure if you’re drunk, but you might be, so you’re not going to post about it?  Hell no!  Diabetics have medical devices that PROVE they are unfit to drive, yet some choose to post it all over the internet when they do so anyway!  What is wrong with some people?!?!  Can you tell I’m hot about this?

When you drive, KNOWING that you’re hypoglycemic, you are worse than a drunk driver.  You KNOW that you have a condition that can impair your driving, and you’re making the conscious choice to drive anyway, because waiting for your blood sugar to rise is so terribly inconvenient.  Poor you.  You’re putting not only your life at risk, but the lives of everyone on the road, just like a drunk driver.  I understand that some people can’t feel their hypoglycemia symptoms.  I’m not talking about them.  That happened to me once 20 years ago too, where an unfelt hypo left me unconscious at the bottom of a ravine in my car.  Thank god I didn’t kill anyone.  That has never, and will never, happen again.  It scared the hell out of me, and so I never drive without knowing my blood sugar.  I’m talking about all the diabetics I see post about driving, while knowing that they are hypo.  I’m afraid to actually Google this topic.  It’s people like this that make getting our drivers license renewed such a pain in the ass.  I can only hope that their behaviors change before they kill themselves, or worse, someone else.

The online community loves to rally around causes.  I saw we rally around this one.  Responsible driving as a diabetic.  Before you put that car in drive, you check your blood sugar, and if you’re hypo, YOU DO NOT DRIVE until you’re not.  If you feel hypo while driving, pull over and check.  That picture up there at the top of the post is a picture of a young lady who was killed by a diabetic driver who plead guilty to driving on a suspended license (due to her lack of diabetes control), who admitted that her blood sugar was to low to drive.  That same woman had been in 3 previous accidents due to the same circumstances, but this time she killed someone.

 

PLEASE DON’T DRIVE WHILE HYPOGLYCEMIC

SAVE A LIFE!!!

Hypoglycemia + Exercise = Annoying

Body BeastHave you ever been really looking forward to a workout, only to test your blood sugar and discover you’re about to go hypo?  Annoying right?  So you carb up, . . . . . and wait.  30 minutes later you check your blood sugar again.  Now it’s even lower?!  What the heck?!  So you carb up yet again, . . . . . and wait.  30 minutes later you check again, now you’re barely at 90 mg/dl.  You know that you need to be at least at 150 for the type of workout you’re about to do, so you carb up yet a 3rd time, with a serious case of #hyporage . . . . . and wait.  30 – 60 minutes later you check your blood sugar, and now you’re at 150ish, but now it’s either time for bed, or you’re just exhausted from the hypo and you have no energy to do your workout.  If this has ever happened to you, RAISE YOUR HAND!

Yes, this happened to me last week.  See, I’ve been doing this new Beachbody workout called Body Beast, and I really like it a lot.  It’s a home bodybuilding workout.  I actually look forward to coming home from work and going straight to my workout room and pressing play.  It reminds me of the good old days when I was a bodybuilding  photographer.  I was never a bodybuilder, but I worked out like they did.  (Check out my Flickr feed on the right.)

So I thought I’d talk about how exercise, and specifically strength training, can help with your diabetes.  Whether you’re type 1 or type 2, strength training (anaerobic exercise) improves your diabetes because it improves your insulin resistance.  Aerobic exercise doesn’t help nearly as much as anaerobic.  Anaerobic means “without oxygen”.  You don’t have to look like a bodybuilder to get improvement from strength training.  The more muscle you have, the better your insulin will work so you can use less of it.

How do you know if your muscles are deprived of oxygen?  Well, you know when your  muscles start to burn after working out for a while?  Well there’s your sign.  That burning sensation means your muscles have been without oxygen, and now they’re creating and storing lactic acid.  When you stop the exercise, the lactic acid clears, and the pain goes away almost immediately.  So if you’re not feeling that burning in your muscles, you’re not getting as much benefit as you could from your workout.  Now you certainly don’t want that burning to continue when you stop the workout.  If it continues after the workout it means you’ve probably strained a muscle.

A temporary side effect of anaerobic exercise is immediate insulin sensitivity.  That means your muscles can process glucose without, or with less insulin, for hours after your workout.  Sometimes up to 12 hours!  I have to set a “workout basal” with less basal insulin on the days I workout, so I don’t crash in the middle of the night.  My workout basal is about 8 hours long.  Do this 4 – 6 days a week, and it leads to improved insulin resistance all the time.  Now let that start turning in your head.  Then Google for more info.  Ask your diabetes educator about it.  I hope it helps!

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!!! **********

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More Paleo and Ketosis for Diabetes Observations

I haven’t been working out for about a month now, as I was trying to ease into a ketosis lifestyle.  I stopped my workouts because I was already stressing my body with the ketosis.  In the past when I tried this lifestyle, I found that when I did try to exercise, I had zero energy, and usually couldn’t complete my workouts.  So I’ve realized the same thing again.  Plus, when I workout on the ketosis diet, my blood sugar spikes like crazy.  It doesn’t do that if I’m not in ketosis, and it actually falls like it should.  My guess is that my liver is either entering gluconeogenesis (converting protein to glucose), or it’s just dumping whatever glucose it has left, so that my muscles can operate to the best of their ability.  I’ve just decided that ketosis for diabetes is not my thing.

The other thing that happened to me again, is that after about 10 or 12 days, just like the last time I tried this, I had a bout of DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis), where my ketones went off the scale, my blood sugar spiked, and I had to literally OD on insulin to bring it down, then I had to scarf down gobs of carbs (yeah, I don’t care about grammar right now) to keep me from seriously crashing.  This is a process that can take anywhere from 6 to 18 hours to treat, so you can’t sleep if it’s happening to you.  Don’t worry, I know how to treat DKA.  I do the same thing they’d do at the hospital.  I’ve been doing this for 42 years, so I know how this works.  Those are scary days even so.  Both times I’ve tried ketosis, after 10 or 12 days, I have this DKA fight.  Then I go high carb for a few days because I get paranoid.  Then I come back to at least eating normal paleo.

So I’ve decided that ketosis is not for me.  I’m going to stick with paleo for sure, and I’ll keep my carbs to under 100, but not under 50 which causes ketosis.  I’m a Beachbody coach, and I get paid to workout, so I have to workout.  My income depends on it!  Besides, working out to Les Mills Pump is fun, and those female trainers are hott!  What really sucks though, is that on ketosis my blood sugars were almost normal.  My 30 day average blood glucose dropped by 100 points from 265 to 166.  I’m still kind of eager to get my A1C done at the end of the summer though.

If you’re a type 1 diabetic that’s on a ketosis lifestyle, please comment below with your experience.  I wish I could find a community of T1D’s that live in ketosis?

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