The Highs and Lows

Since becoming a diabetic, I have had to figure out the warning signs of when I am high and when I am low. In medical terms, having high blood sugar levels is called Hyperglycemia (your glucose level is above 140 mg/dl) and having low blood sugar levels is called Hypoglycemia (your glucose level is below 70 mg/dl) When you are a Type 1 Diabetic and your blood sugar is high, it means you have ingested too much sugar and too many carbs and that you did not take enough insulin before you ate. Having low blood sugar can mean one of two things; you did not consume enough carbs or sugar or you took too much insulin. Today I am going to describe some of the warning signs and symptoms I have experienced in my past year and half as a Type 1 Diabetic and how I have come to recognize when I am high or low just by how I feel.
 When I was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, I had no clue how to tell if I was high or low. I am still not able to tell when I am high (without checking my blood sugar levels), but I am definitely able to tell when I am low. Within a few months of being diagnosed, I started to pick up on the subtle hints that my body was throwing at me to tell me that I had low blood sugar. For many diabetics the signs can vary from one person to another. For example, one of my coworkers is a Type 1 diabetic and when he starts becoming hypoglycemic he gets dizzy and gets very sleepy.  When I start to get low, I don’t get sleepy, but I feel like I have had a couple of alcoholic beverages and I start to get that buzzed feeling.  Another warning sign for me is that I get a little weak in the legs. The lowest I have been ever been was one night at work. I had recently started working the night shifts and I had just finished eating my dinner.  I walked back to go back to work on the floor and about thirty minutes later I started to get that buzzed feeling. I was asked to help out with a procedure on a child, but was worried about my blood sugar level.  I asked if it was ok to check my blood sugar before we proceeded and when I checked it, it read 36mg/dl. This is obviously way below 70 mg/dl and is really dangerously low.  I had to sit down, drink an apple juice and eat some crackers to bring my sugars up so that I would not pass out. After that day I realized that this was a warning sign for me when I am low. I am very mindful about what I eat all day and typically eat the same low carb/low sugar items on a daily basis. If you saw what I ate every day, you would think that I never get low, but it happens at least once every one to two weeks. Thank goodness the hospital I work at has apple juice and crackers, as it has saved me several time while working.
The Highs
 As I mentioned earlier, I still have a hard time recognizing when I am high. My levels don’t typically get high, but if they do, I don’t really notice or feel anything out of the ordinary.  I think the reason I don’t really notice is because my blood sugar levels were elevated for such a long time before I was diagnosed.  I think that my body was just sort of used to feeling that way. Usually a warning sign of high blood sugar is drinking a lot of fluids. I normally drink a ton of water on a daily basis, so it is hard for me to notice that that I might be drinking more fluids than normal. I started getting headaches and stomach pains once in a while and though  that these might be high warning signs, but when I would check my blood sugar it would be in the normal range (80-130 mg/dl). A lot of people can tell when they are high within a month of being diagnosed with diabetes, but this has not yet happened for me.  There have been times that I have been in the high 200’s and have not felt any different at all.  Not that I strive to have high blood sugar or anything, but I hope that one day I am able to physically recognize when I am too high. This way I can take insulin when I need to and bring it back down to a safe level. I try to be very careful with managing my blood sugar levels so that I don’t have to worry too often about all the warning signs of being high to too low. I try to manage my sugar levels through diet, exercise and of course my insulin, and hope you do too, my fellow diabetics.
Thank you for reading,
Type1 Lifting