November 17, 2011

Highs and Lows - 30 Health Posts in 30 Days

This is going to be my attempt at explaining what it feels like to be high or low, for me anyway.  Granted, your body gets used to where ever it is at.  Say, I was high all the time, so then I wouldn't feel the symptoms as severely as I could, but when I would go low, then I would feel low much sooner than I should.  And the same is for the reverse.  If I was low all the time, or even just in normal range, I could feel highs more intensely and wouldn't feel lows until I was really low.

Low blood sugars occur when there is too much insulin in the system and therefore I need to eat food to bring my blood sugar up.  High blood sugars are when I have too much sugar in my blood and I need to take insulin to bring it back down.

So this is how I feel when my blood sugar is high:
My lips feel chapped
My eye sight can get blurry
I have to go to the bathroom more often
There is a left over sweet taste in my mouth
I feel like I am going to throw up (Some diabetics throw up when they get too high, I never have actually thrown up from being high)
Tired and lethargic

When I feel low:
I get a twinge of hunger even when I probably shouldn't be hungry
What feels like a slight electric vibration goes through the bones of my forearms and legs
I want to lay down and fall asleep and not deal with it
I get confused
I can feel my heart beat
I see spots
The world seems slightly sloshy

Each low and high are different.  I can be low one day and feel everything I listed and another day I can be just as low and feel nothing of what I listed.  Same with high blood sugars.  Who knows why they are different.  When I was younger, my lows felt different than they do now even.

I really have to listen to what my body is telling me all the time.  It is much easier now that I have the sensor, but even that is 15-20 minutes behind, so I usually can predict a low before I hear the alarm.  Other times my pump alarms a low is predicted and I haven't felt a thing.

The lowest I have ever been and checked my blood sugar was 22.  (Non diabetics are usually between 80-100)  I had taken some insulin for something I was going to eat and fell asleep before going to eat it.  I woke up, felt weird, checked my sugar and ran to the fridge and ate orange juice concentrate.  I felt like I was in a tunnel.  I start feeling low around 75-65.  When my blood sugar is around 45 is when I really really start feeling like crap and seeing spots.  The highest I have ever been was 700...if I remember correctly, I think that my pump site was infected and I hadn't checked my blood sugar for a while.  I felt like crap, so I took insulin and fell asleep until it went back down.  With my bloodsugar levels in control now, I can usually feel the high when I'm around 190.

To recover from a low, I usually only need about 15 carbs to bring me back up, but that also depends on how low I am or how much insulin is in my system.  It takes about 10 minutes for the sugar to get into the blood stream and about another 10 minutes to feel normal again.  (So, about a 20 minute recovery from a low, on average)

When I take insulin for a high blood sugar, it takes about 15-20 minutes for the insulin to start working and then my blood sugar should be back to normal levels within an hour to two hours...of course this is all depending on insulin already in, what has been eaten, etc etc etc.  It is annoying to wait for a high to come back to normal, let me tell you!

This post was written as part of NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days:

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