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Hypo Management.

“Ninety-five percent of the time, I’m fine.  The lows are ones I can treat myself, even if the number is really low.  Usually my symptoms are shakiness or like this brain fog.  When the lows are really gross, I usually cry at random.  Or I throw things.  No real in between.  But the majority of the time, I can take care of things myself, and then it’s over.  Like nothing happened.”

I tried to explain this to a friend who was asking when it’s necessary to intervene during a low blood sugar, but explaining the slide from “fine” to “holy effing low blood sugar” sounds confusing when I say it out loud.

That’s the weirdest part, for me, that whole panic-then-peace part of severe hypoglycemic events.  My lows have historically come crashing in at a breakneck speed, which is part of why using a CGM has been a pivotal change for me.  Getting a head’s up on when a low is happening, or being able to treat it even before it becomes a problem, has helped me feel safer in the face of hypo unawareness (a lack of low blood sugar symptoms) and fast-dropping numbers.

My endo suggested that I raise my low alarm on my Dexcom from 65 mg/dL to 80 mg/dL in efforts to catch lows earlier, and in the last month or so, I’ve had far fewer chaotic hypos.  Instead, I’m grabbing the lows before they even become low, snagging a 70 while it slides versus waking up in the trenches of a 40.

Low alarm at 80 has been the best suggestion in a long time. #diabetes

A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

Small little tweaks here and there make differences I couldn’t have imagined. … that, and I’m burning through my supply of glucose tabs with a little less vigor.


9 Comments Post a comment
  1. abby bayer #

    can we plug #askaprofessional here?
    glad you found a trick that works. so much proof out there that #YDMVavtiyl (at various times in your life). but that’s a hard hashtag to remember.

    12/8/14; 3:01 pm
  2. I would have never believed it years ago, but sometimes, little things do make big differences. Thanks for the reminder.

    12/8/14; 3:25 pm
  3. Makes me wish that type 2’s could have cgms, but we all know about where snowballs don’t thrive, right? But try some O’Keefe’s Working Hands cream for those splits and hang nails. I don’t work for them, but this stuff has worked wonderfully for me.

    12/8/14; 5:10 pm
  4. It’s wonderful when the doctor makes a great suggestion! 🙂 I love those kind of appointments.

    12/8/14; 7:47 pm
  5. Great suggestion from your doctor. I’m glad it’s helping you catch lows before they become major. Just wish Medicare would approve CGM’s. No mater how often I check, I’m constantly having to deal with surprise lows. Just last night I slid from 167 at 9:15 pm [2 hrs after dinner] to 22 at 12:12 am before bed. I had zero symptoms. That’s not the kind of surprise I look forward to.

    12/8/14; 8:34 pm
  6. Juliana #

    My low alarm is also set up at 80. Anything lower and I’m catching them much too late. I really have a problem with that alarm, though, because if it warns me at 80 I’m probably already 60… I wish there was the option to set the low alarm for “90 and falling”.

    12/9/14; 3:49 am
  7. Leah #

    Speaking of burning through glucose tabs, what is happening at Glucolift? They only have orange cream flavor in stock, which is not my favorite. C’mon Glucolift–I’m counting on you!

    12/9/14; 9:43 am
  8. Alysha Heise #

    It’s those surprise nighttime lows we deal with every night (with my child). I wish Dexcom was automatically approved for everyone, Type 1 or Type 2.

    12/9/14; 6:07 pm
  9. Dan #

    Hi Keri,
    Thanks for writing about this change which you have initiated. I run with a High Alert of 130 mg/dL and a Low Alert of 90 mg/dL on my Dexcom G4 Platinum.

    Using this range can allow one to make minor adjustments related to the time of day and the choices of changing: exercise, insulin and/or food. There are a total of eight choices to respond to a Low Alert and a different set of eight choices for a High Alert. When it is on they are really on. A great choice and thanks for the reporting.

    As always have a great day.


    12/11/14; 5:56 pm

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