A question about low blood sugar and diabetes

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 6/2/2008 1:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi.  I hope someone out there can answer a quick question about low blood sugar.  I know a lady who has diabetes, and recently her blood sugar was extremely low (23) which she in turn had seizures, fell unconscious, had to go to the  hospital, etc. etc.
The very next day she was on her way to another seizure because her blood sugar was low again (51) but thankfully she drank a glass of orange juice and came back just like that.
My question is when the diabetic is feeling slightly ill, (or whatever) and can't even test their own blood for whatever reason, why don't they just drink the glass of orange juice?  It could save their lives.  what I'm asking is when a persons blood sugar gets ridiculously low, does that also effect their reasoning, their brain cells, or the ability to use common sense?
Thank you for any input.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 477
   Posted 6/2/2008 7:55 AM (GMT -7)   
when a persons blood sugar gets ridiculously low, does that also effect their reasoning, their brain cells, or the ability to use common sense?
Yes- the brain runs on sugar, sugar that it gets from the blood.
I just want to live happily ever after-every now and then. Jimmy Buffett

Lanie G
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 6027
   Posted 6/2/2008 8:53 AM (GMT -7)   
S., I think your friend needs to work with her doctor to figure out why her blood sugar is so unstable.  With 2 episodes in 2 days, I would worry about accidents when she loses consciousness or a diabetic coma.  Help might not always be there.  Many diabetics who experience lows carry glucose tablets or gels they can take orally.  These are available in any store that sells diabetic supples.  They're over the counter.  The orange juice brings the blood sugar up like them but it might take longer.  She has to know what her blood sugar is, then, all day long.  She might not have any warning or ill feeling beforehand in order to drink the juice.  And if she sips orange juice all day long (as a preventative, let's say), she might be driving her blood sugar too high which is also bad.  Either way, she needs to see her doctor and find out how to get this more regulated.  I hope your friend is better.

forum moderator - diabetes
diabetes controlled so far by low/no carb diet and exercise; no meds

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 6/2/2008 8:50 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you Lanie and Sandy for your replies.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 6/4/2008 2:47 PM (GMT -7)   
I have been Type 1 since 1983 and while pregnant with my older son (now 12) I lost the feeling of low blood sugar and so by the time someone else noticed I was acting a little odd, I was on my way to lights out LOL. I only make light of it because I don't remember the episodes yet I'm sure they were terrifying for those around me. There were times when my mom or hubby were trying to get me to eat or drink something, before I lost consciousness and all I remember is thinking that I am not allowed to have honey on my peanut butter sandwich, I am not allowed to drink regular pop, etc. LOL

Yes, we lose the ability to have rational thoughts during a severe hypoglycemic reaction. Rationally, I have known for 25 years that if I am having a reaction, I need sugar and food; yet when it is really low, all I can rationalize is that I have been told for the last 25 years that I am NOT allowed to eat or drink that.

I hope your friend gets in to see her Dr to get her sugars regulated. The quality of life is so much better :)

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 6/4/2008 3:16 PM (GMT -7)   

Thank you for your reply. I've come to realize (thanks to your replies) that it is almost out of her control once that blood sugar level gets too low. She's such a smart lady, so to see her like that (almost in a drunk state) was difficult. She is seeing her Doctor, and is going to get regulated.

I think it's amazing how each person handles low blood sugar differently. For example when I found her, she was on the kitchen floor having seizures and unconscious with a blood sugar level of 26. Another lady I know, however, had blood sugar of 28, while at work, and was walking around clear as a bell. Weird, isn't it.

What do you suppose makes one more than the other?

Anyway, thanks again.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 6/4/2008 4:29 PM (GMT -7)   
I would think that the lady with a 28 needs a new meter. She should have been close to comatose. The brain runs on pure glucose and anyone with a reading of 28 is starving their brain. NOT a good thing.
~ Jeannie, Forum Moderator/Diabetes & Fibromyalgia
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. ~Mother Teresa

"People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 401
   Posted 6/6/2008 11:30 AM (GMT -7)   

Go get tested again for diabetes. You shouldn't get lows for no reason. Lows can be very dangerous, even deadly. Take care:)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 6/9/2008 11:17 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Sue,

Hypoglycemia is very different from Diabetes. Hypoglycemia is either A) a hypersensitivity to insulin being produced or B) unregulated insulin bursts combined with a lack of glucagon release from the liver. Insulin is the 'key' that unlocks the cell door and allows glucose from the bloodstream to enter to be used as nourishment. When there is too much insulin, or not enough glucose, is when the 'low' feeling comes on.

Theere are so many variable that can cause a low blood sugar reaction, sometimes it may seem that they come on for no apparent reason. In fact, a person who is well controlled will have random lows - we just always need to be aware and prepared.

People without hypoglycemia feel this reaction too - irritation, growling stomach, headaches, carb-cravings - but one with hypoglycemia cannot produce, or not enough of, the stored glucose on demad to fend off the low - disorientation, light-headedness, slurred speech, double vision.
Eating regular, smaller meals greatly reduces to chances of having a low blood sugar reaction. BTW - chocolate is not a good remedy for low blood sugar - the high fat content in chocolate prevents the sugar from rapidly disolving in your mouth where glucose is most readily absorbed. Fruit juice, hard candy, sweetend pop works within minutes then follow up with a carb/protein combo to keep it from falling again.

Diabetes (type 1) is a complete lack of insulin production and so one must balance the rules of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) with injections of insulin to prevent hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Low blood sugar is almost never fatal (unless, of course, it is caused intentionally with a massive overdose of insulin). Even becoming unconsious is the body's way of conserving energy to fuel the heart, lungs and core brain funtions. Eventually, the liver will begin the process to bring a person back to a concious level so that they can eat, but it is not enough to sustain any kind of activity (ie; walking, thinking, speaking coherently) and so one may require help at that point.

Hyperglycemia is what causes the long-term damage to diabetics - kidney funtion, heart problems, nerve damage, retinal neuropathy, etc. Hypoglyciamia is dangerous as it pertains to the immediate situation - driving, opertaing machinery, in danger of falling and hitting yourself on something, dropping something, losing a child by the hand (I have been in all of these situations and it is very scary) but the long term effect are short lived. of course there are alway exceptions to that rule. LOL I have a reaction so low, that I had a stroke (caused by lack of glucose to the brain) which was a fluke that I injected my insulin too close to a blood vessel. I lost my ability to speak and the only word I could formulate for days was **** due to extreme frustration.

I have had blood sugar readings of 1.5 (where, here in Canada, the range of 'normal' is 4-7) which is a barely functioning level, however, still walking and talking. I have also had them at 3-4 and not been able to carry a conversation. The body will adjust to a baseline level and when it becomes used to running at 10-13, 3-4 is very low. however, if my baseline is 4-6, then 2-3 is not out of scope for function.

Anyway - I hope this info helps you understand what you are seeing when your friend is in need of help.


Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 6/10/2008 10:57 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Mary,

I am glad you have taken something away. The key is everything in moderation. Grazing on healthy food chioces works well both for regulating blood sugar as well as keeping your weight and metabolism in check. Cereal, cut up fruits & veggies, a small handful of nuts, cheese & crackers, yoghurt with granola or sunflower seeds, tuna salad, for example; and of course a dose of water to keep everything moving through the plumbing! Balance it out with moderate exersize and that is a receipe for success.

I have found in the past that anxiety affects my blood sugar so drastically that I could not keep it under control. It became a nasty catch 22 - I worried about something which raised my blood sugars which caused more worrying... Maybe one is a side effect of the other?

Try this website: http://www.neha-diabeteseducation.ca/HealthyEating.php for some great advice.

Take care, JM&Y
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