Diabetes Self-Management Blog

A couple of things about low blood glucose to share with you this week.

1. Last night’s low.

You might say it was a somewhat active day yesterday, which might have helped contribute to my evening’s low blood glucose. I walked the dog in the morning (30 minutes), and then spent the day on my butt at my desk at work. That’s not much activity; nothing suspect there. Yet after work I moved back into active mode.

Kathryn had to work late, so it was up to me to handle evening dog duty. In order to keep our dog Ellie on schedule — kind of necessary in light of recent gastrointestinal issues she’s gone through — this meant making it home around 5:30 to take her on her evening walk (another 40 minutes or so). And because of this, if I expected to get my normal Wednesday gym workout in, I’d either need to head back out to the gym after dog duty, or I’d have to leave work early and shorten my gym time.

I opted for leaving early. I know myself, and I know once I’m home after work, I’m not going to want to go back out of the house to work out after a long day.

As I’ve mentioned before, I enjoy the gym these days, and when I go — and I try to get there three or four times a week — it’s for two-plus hours each time: an hour of cardio, typically in the form of a spinning class, and 75 to 90 minutes of strength training. Now don’t go thinking I’m as noble as all that. The spinning classes are tough, but the amount of time spent lifting isn’t done at an extremely intense pace, and I can linger for a bit simply because I include in that time frame 20 minutes or so of stretching and good old-fashioned sit-ups and push-ups. (A nice cool-down stretch is a great way to add on minutes to one’s workout.)

Anyway, last night I got in and out of the gym in about 35 minutes — a pretty intense weight workout, during which my heart rate stayed up there. I worked many muscle groups to the point of exhaustion. In fact, it was one of those workouts with lots of quick repetitions and more sets than normal, where what is typically not a so-heavy weight for me became unliftable by the end of the last set.

Then home to the evening dog walk.

And then dinner, with a light bolus from my insulin pump to cover the bun for the turkey burger as well as the basmati rice and couscous I prepared as a side.

Later in the evening, as I settled in for what I hoped was a couple of hours reading Game of Thrones — trying to finish Game of Thrones (and no, I’ve yet to see the HBO series because I want to read the book first) — I started to feel it. The it.

That it that anyone who’s had a low knows.

My it is what I would describe as a tweak, or a ripple, in my overall well-being.

There is, at first, the slightest pang of, oh, let’s call it wooziness that originates in my midsection. I feel it in my chest, and then it makes its way, almost imperceptibly at first, to my armpits and upper legs. It lurks. I mean, this change in how I feel isn’t obvious. I don’t immediately say to myself, “Uh-oh. Low.” It’s like something slightly annoying off to the side. A speck. Or one of those warning sirens in the far-off that my mind says doesn’t really concern me.

In fact, often this feeling may not even be a low blood glucose on the horizon. Too much caffeine can elicit this physiological response (and I’d had an evening coffee); straight-up hunger can cause it as well.

Yet I thought “what the heck, I should check my numbers,” and when I went to the kit I found I was at 70 mg/dl. In conjunction with the way I was feeling, this meant 70 was probably my blood glucose peak at that moment. I was going down. And quickly. (And I’ve read other bloggers talk about this, but isn’t it fascinating how the numbers on the meter cause the low to become that much more real, to make us feel it that much more?)

Some fruit juice later, and after that, some popcorn (because even though I wasn’t hungry, I was ravenous), I tried to settle back down with my book. Except I was tired and out of sorts and unable to get back to good after the low.

So I slept.

2. That song I hear when I have a low popped into my head. I’m not proud of it, but it’s there for every low in my life. I’ll share it, but I warn you that I’m not responsible if you hear it and then begin to think about it during your future low blood glucoses (blood glucii?). Enter at your own risk!

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Comments
  1. Neat: Exercise burns out glucose and really gets it dumped over the side when all else fails.

    Insulin resistance - exercise will force body to get over as cells loose their glucose and decide tey need more. Low - hell yes.

    Anmd deepending on insulin injected will suddenly become more effective temporarily.

    Eric - thanks for excellent article and experience.

    Good luck slogging.

    Posted by jim snell |

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