27 Mar

What goes on in someone’s mind when they go through hypoglycaemia? Would you like to find out from someone who is actually going through it while he types this post?

I have type 1 diabetes. I usually manage it really well, with the occasional bump in the road. Picture in your mind a tightrope walker. Survival is all about keeping the wobbles as small as possible. Once a wobble begins, if it doesn’t get under control, it amplifies exponentially and becomes increasingly difficult to bring under control. Any corrective step necessarily brings you into another “spike” as you gradually reduce the amplitude of your rope’s wobble.

It’s a bit like that for type 1 diabetes, and that’s what happened to me just now. I have had a bit of a cold for the last few days, and this typically increases blood glucose levels, requiring more insulin to be injected. I didn’t take enough insulin, which caused my blood glucose to spike last night. I then took extra insulin, but took too much, so now my blood glucose is too low, and that is called hypoglycaemia.

So how does it feel? Apparently it’s different for each person, and it even varies for each individual from one “episode” to another. Generally, these are the effects:

  • If I’m asleep when it happens, I wake up. As far as I know, that is always the case, and I’m very thankful for it!
  • My heart starts pounding very hard and slightly faster than resting pace
  • I start sweating profusely. This always happens if I get very low, and can be very uncomfortable
  • A feeling of urgency begins to grow in my mind, and becomes increasingly powerful as the minutes elapse, but sometimes it goes away even though my blood sugar is still going down.
  • I tend to become irritable
  • My thinking becomes muddled. Rational thinking becomes difficult, and I have at times rejected advice to eat something to get back up and going
  • I sometimes get a patch of “light” in my field of vision, bad enough to prevent me from driving
  • After a few minutes of getting up, my appetite just goes through the roof, and doesn’t go down until a good 10 minutes after I’ve started eating/drinking something with sugar. This, in combination with my inability to think straight, often leads me to overcompensate my eating, leading to another blood sugar spike later in the night. This happens slowly enough though, that by that time I have had enough common sense to take slow-acting insulin instead of fast-acting.
  • I feel a great weakness in my legs and arms, a bit like after I’ve cycled really hard for 20-30 minutes straight
  • If I don’t do anything, I lose consciousness and can even go into epileptic seizures. This has only happened twice, and only once with seizures. Don’t try this at home…

After the time it took me to write this article, I am no longer in hypoglycaemia, most of the symptoms have disappeared, and I am ready to go back to bed. The food was nice, I have to admit, but it’s a poor excuse for a midnight snack!


Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Life


Tags: , , , , , , ,

3 responses to “Hypoglycaemia

  1. TAO

    March 28, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Ah, dude, Nic, I feel for you… and I hope things have been going better for you… it sounds really difficult to have =O.

    Best Wishes,
    Your Friend,
    TAO =)

    • nicolasconnault

      March 29, 2011 at 7:16 am

      Hi Tao! Don’t worry, from my point of view I live a perfectly normal and happy life. I don’t feel like I’m “handicapped” or “ill” in any way. I consider diabetes as an integral, permanent part of my life, just like tooth cavities, muscle cramps and heart burn: they’re all largely under my control if I’m careful and wise!

      • TAO

        April 3, 2011 at 4:26 am

        Well, in any case, good luck with it, and I hope things are going well with your wife and family =D.


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