I Learned to Prevent Hypoglycemia
Luis Corona was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (T2D) in 2008. As the only person with diabetes in his family, he was convinced he was the cause of his own disease. Since his diagnosis, he’s dedicated himself to a healthy lifestyle and is a health coach. However, living with diabetes, in the beginning, came with its own sets of challenges. Luis had a hypoglycemia episode so severe he’s not even sure how he survived. This experience led him to educate himself on hypoglycemia and how to prevent it. Read our interview with him below to learn how he’s been able to prevent hypoglycemia.
Tell us about your first hypoglycemia episode. How low did your blood sugar drop?
Let’s see, this March will mark my 12th year living with diabetes, so I don’t remember how much my blood glucose dropped the first time. What I do remember was how I was feeling. I felt frustrated and weak as if I’d had a tough workout. One experience during my first year living with diabetes I can recall was when I lowered my blood glucose dangerously low on Christmas Eve, I really don’t know how I survived or didn’t end up in the emergency room.
It was a horrible experience. I remember that I couldn’t move. I was sitting down and my family said that I was slowly falling sideways. I couldn’t make myself move or cry out for help. Everyone moved quickly. My mother grabbed my hand and helped me consume maple honey. When I recovered, she gave me a mango and an orange to further raise my blood sugar. Interestingly, we were at a relative’s house who also had diabetes, but they didn’t have many sugar-based foods to help me out.
Did you know what was happening to you? Were you familiar with the term “hypoglycemia” at the time?
At the time, I didn’t know what it was. When I wasn’t feeling well, I always remembered to check my blood glucose levels. The first time it happened, I thought it was hyperglycemia. But after checking my blood sugar, I saw it was actually the opposite happening so we immediately called my endocrinologist. My endo told us it was hypoglycemia and that the solution was just to look for some food or a sweetened beverage and that would be enough to raise my blood sugar.
After that episode, she explained I may have a few lows during my first year with diabetes as I learned more about nutrition and how diabetes affects my health. And she was right. I did have a few others I can’t recall. But, once I learned about the effects of foods, modified my lifestyle, learned about insulin dosing, I was in more control over my diabetes.
What low-blood sugar symptoms were you experiencing?
In my case, it was feeling weak after exercising, especially in my legs. I also got cold sweats, felt anxiety and hunger. After treating hypoglycemia, I would feel too weak and prefer to sleep to recover; lows are exhausting.
Have you heard of Glucagon or Baqsimi? Are they accessible in Mexico?
There is no Baqsimi in Mexico but yes, I’ve heard about glucagon. I live in Guadalajara, Mexico and when I was diagnosed it was really difficult to find glucagon. But when I found it, I couldn’t afford it because it was very expensive. The best option for me was to always have juice around and now, glucose tablets. Nowadays, I rarely have hypoglycemia episodes. In the 12 years I’ve had diabetes, I’m lucky to have been surrounded by many supportive people who’ve helped me learn about and manage this disease. I’m grateful to each and every one of them.
How often do you experience low blood sugar now? How do you prevent hypoglycemia?
I haven’t had a hypoglycemic episode in years. When I exercise for a long time or change my workout routine, I’m always prepared with glucose tablets or juice. Thankfully I’m aware hypoglycemia can happen at any time.
Do you think low blood sugar is a serious issue within the Type 2 community? Why or why not?
It’s definitely serious and everyone should know about it, especially people who were recently diagnosed. Hypoglycemia is very dangerous and is an exhausting condition. More education could help people with type 2 identify it quickly and save lives.
This content was made possible with support from Baqsimi.