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Hypoglycemia Unawareness

I am lucky when my sugars are getting below 4 I get pins and needles in my tongue or I sweat a little. However some people are not as lucky as me and can not tell when they are going low. If you do have hypo unawareness you are not alone about 17% of people with type one diabetes suffer from this.  If you do suffer make sure you always have glucagon in the fridge and your loved ones know how to use it! Make sure you have your hypo stoppers on you at all times.

If a person starts to go low the body releases a hormone called glucagon however glucagon secretion is reduced in most people who have Type 1 diabetes within the first two to ten years of having diabetes.

Unawareness May be triggered by:

  • A recent history of frequent low blood sugars
  • A rapid drop in blood sugar
  • Having diabetes for many years
  • Stress or depression
  • Situations where self-care is a low priority
  • Alcohol consumption in the last 12 hours
  • A previous low blood sugar in the last 24 to 48 hours
  • Use of certain medications like beta blockers

Tips for reducing Hypo unawareness

  • Reduce the frequency of your lows
  • Be especially careful to avoid another low for at least two days following a reaction
  • Test blood sugars often to note dropping numbers and treat them before they become lows
  • Set your target blood sugars slightly higher so that you will experience no more than one or two insulin reactions per week
  • Always match your insulin doses to changes in your lifestyle

Some symptoms of having Hypo Unawareness

  • irrational thought
  • anger or irritability
  • running away
  • insisting they “feel fine” in the midst of very unusual behavior
  • high stress
  • high emotions
  • laughing and silliness

Information from Using Insulin 2003 by Walsh, Roberts, Varma, Bailey