As it’s Hypo Awareness week I had been thinking about my experiences of hypoglycemia (hypo). So far in my experience there a 3 different degrees of hypos. Hypo’s happen for many, many different reasons: too much insulin for the carbs consumed, exercise or just being busier than expected, temperature and hormones to name a few.
Here are some symptoms of a hypo/low blood sugar. I can experience some of these, but not all at the same time. They can also differ from hypo to hypo, for me it depends on the severity of the hypo. I have also experienced foggy brain, nausea and tingling lips. Different people experience a difference mix of symptoms. Some people have even been assumed to be drunk when they are actually hypo (link of a story further down this page). Some people don’t have any warnings at all, this is called hypo unawareness.
1st degree – these are the type of hypos that no one would even be aware that I was experiencing a hypo. I realise that I feel a bit “strange”, check my blood glucose (bg) levels, get something to treat it and just carry on as normal.
2nd degree – with these ones I’ve usually informed someone (work colleagues/husband/child etc) that I’m feeling a bit rough, get something to treat the hypo and need to sit for 10 minutes or so until my bg levels rise to an acceptable level again.
3rd degree – these are the ones that “floor’ me. Thankfully they don’t happen very often but when they do they can take me out of action for a considerable amount of time and make me feel really awful. These are the ones that make me panic more so than the others. If in work, I’m also racked with guilt at the sight of my fabulous colleagues being very busy working whilst also checking in with me while I’m sat down totally unable to help. Even when my BG has risen to an acceptable level I have to stay where I am as I’m still recovering. These hypos take the longest to get over and can make me feel extremely tired and wiped out afterwards, actually during and after all I feel like doing is laying down and curl up in a ball, obviously this is not practical most of the time. At home it’s easier for me to get my husband or one of my children to do the running around to get something for me to treat it with while I sit on the sofa concentrating on sweating and shaking.
Thankfully, for me, I’ve never experienced anything worse. I’ve never ended up unconscious and needing the help of others. Hoping that this is never the case. Recently there was a case reported where people thought a man was drunk and they just left him alone when he was actually experiencing a hypo and needed the help of others.
How much do you actually know about hypoglycemia, would you recognise and be able to help someone experiencing a hypo? Here are some pictures and a quiz that I shared on Facebook.
Pictures – Would you recognise the symptoms of a hypo?
Quiz – Hypo Awareness Week 2016
Here is a link to explain what to do if you are experiencing a hypo from Diabetes.org.uk.