How I Found Myself in an Unexpected Hypoglycemia Crisis
Adrian Marquez has been living with type 2 diabetes for over seven years, however, while learning about his condition, he experienced an episode of hypoglycemia. Adrian has been featured in our #BeyondPowerful campaign on Instagram. Read more about his experience below. To read more about Hypoglycemia and How to treat it, click here.
I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2011. Since then, I have studied a lot about my condition to be able to handle it the best way possible. Of course, I’ve had ups and downs but that hasn’t stopped me from learning about it.
No one had explained to me how diabetes would affect my daily life and I had only received basic information about how to eat and how to use certain medications. Fortunately, from the first day after my diagnosis, I decided to start working on finding information about diabetes management. I knew some concepts very well in theory and I thought I was prepared to handle any situation diabetes threw at me. Little did I know, that wasn’t exactly the case.
One day, I was sitting in my living room talking to my mother when I started feeling strange—like I was floating. I began having chills, started shivering and having cold sweats. I even began experiencing tachycardia, a disorder where the heart beats faster than normal.
I ran as fast as my legs could carry me to get my blood glucose meter to test my blood sugar. There it was, my meter read a horrible 2.1 mmol/L38 mg/dL! I was experiencing my first low-blood sugar event—hypoglycemia.
At home, we weren’t ready for such an event, but fortunately, my niece had left a sugary drink and some cookies. First, I had the drink and waited 15 minutes to re-test my blood glucose. The juice raised my blood sugar to 2.3 mmol/L42 mg/dL. Then I ate the cookies, waited 15 minutes to test again and my blood sugar rose to 4.3 mmol/L 78 mg/dL, which is normal for me. But, those 30 minutes I had to wait to get my blood sugar back to normal felt like an eternity!
My mother was very scared. She had never seen me behave like that. Fortunately, this experience taught her what to do and how to react if she is with me if I have another hypoglycemic episode. She knows she shouldn’t panic.
Hypoglycemic events can lead to tragedies if left untreated. Here are a few short tips that have helped me to prevent another hypoglycemia episode and what I keep with me just in case. Though these tips help me, please still consult your doctor or diabetes team to know what’s best for you.
- Know the symptoms: Each person will have different symptoms, but I experienced had cold sweats, chills, hand tremor and was disoriented—I literally felt as if I was floating. Other symptoms can include irritability and sudden hunger. Some of us also have other symptoms, I had tachycardia. I came up with several questions for my doctor for my next appointment.
- Share with others: Learn about hypoglycemia if you don’t already or as soon as you’re diagnosed. Share these things to those who live with you or those who are close to you every day. Help them recognize the symptoms. Sharing can save your life.
- Keep a daily care kit: Always bring with you whatever is necessary to treat hypoglycemia. You don’t need to buy expensive gels and pills, you can get by with simple carb sources that may not be as healthy, but can help you raise your blood sugar if you have an emergency.
- Have an ID and ask for help: Carry identification with you so others know you have diabetes. If you have an emergency, it is important for paramedics to know that you are living with diabetes. Include contact information of family or close friends. If you feel very sick, ask for help, even a stranger, than to have complications.
- Read, study and learn: Get closer to other people living with type 2 diabetes—they are the best teachers. Search your local organizations and clinics for diabetes education courses. This will change your life.