How Hypoglycemia Disrupts My Life
In the short time I’ve had type 2 diabetes, I’ve definitely come to know hypoglycemia very well, especially since I’ve been in remission. Unfortunately, a little too well. I’ve had my blood sugar range anywhere from 3.9 mmol/L70 mg/dL to the low 60s. And of course, hypoglycemia would strike at the most inconvenient times (as if there’s a convenient one). These episodes would occur while I was sleeping, working out, or at work.
My first episode happened while I was asleep; at the time, I didn’t know nocturnal hypos were a thing. Out of all the possible symptoms for low blood sugar, the one I experienced most was sweating. To be honest, it was pretty frightening for me, but a conversation with my health coach started to relax some of my fears. After she identified that what I was experiencing was low blood sugar, she recommended me and my husband set an alarm clock to check my blood sugar throughout the night. She also recommended that I keep glucose tabs nearby or have a bedtime snack.
Going low while sleeping was one thing. Hypoglycemia also disrupted other important aspects of my life. When I diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I fell in love with exercise. Diabetes helped prioritize my health beyond just blood glucose, mental and emotional health, too. Through Zumba and kickboxing classes, I was able to boost my confidence. Most of the time, I feel pretty great after working out. But when those lows hit? Man, I felt not simply “tired,” but fatigued.
This time, I really needed extra help from my physician. She adjusted my medications—Humalog, Lantus and metformin. This strategy worked for a little while, but when I kept having lows, she took me off insulin completely and had me stick with metformin and Trulicity.
At work? Where I make my money, to you know, make a living? Hypoglycemia disrupts parts of my life there, too. I work as an electronic technician for the FedEx Repair Service Center. My husband, who works with me, notices my mood swings when my blood sugar is low. It’s embarrassing for me to moody at work when I have to be professional at all times. Also, low blood sugar impacts my concentration and causes dizziness and headaches sometimes. In those moments, it makes it harder to perform well at work.
Even though I still experience low blood sugars, I stay prepared by keeping a protein snack with at least 24 grams of carbohydrates to prevent an emergency. But, I recently learned about Baqsimi and Glucagon through Beyond Type 2. I’m going to discuss with my doctor to see if those options are for me, as well as ask some people in my Facebook support groups about their experiences, too. Also, I’m not crazy about using candy to spike my blood glucose.
My most recent hypoglycemic episode happened last weekend, shortly before taking my dog for a walk with my husband. While I don’t have an emergency kit yet to handle severe episodes, I wear a medical ID bracelet to let people know I have type 2 diabetes.
It’s a huge and quite dangerous misconception that people with type 2 diabetes can’t experience hypoglycemia. In general, our disease should be taken more seriously, but low blood sugar is the flip side of blood sugar management we should always be prepared for. I don’t know any others with type 2 who’ve had hypos, but I think spreading awareness on social media and word-of-mouth is helpful to teach people with and without type 2 diabetes about what signs to look out for and what to do when your blood sugar drops. We already know high blood sugar is a big issue, but if we only focus on that, we miss an opportunity to prevent “low” moments in our care and how hypoglycemia disrupts and impacts parts of our lives.
This content was made possible with support from Baqsimi.