Thursday, June 21, 2007

Meter Comparison and what Hypo feels like to me

I ordered a free Ascencia Contour meter about two weeks ago. It came about a week ago, with ten test strips and a pricker. I've been using the pricker a lot because I like it. I used it the morning after I got it, and got a 146 morning reading, which I thought was probable and didn't double check with another meter.
That evening, because my brother likes to test his blood sugar, and I prefer not to use strips that the insurance bought on my brothers, I let my brother use the meter. He is not a diabetic. His blood sugar on the meter was 61. He had eaten a very large, carb laden meal three to four hours earlier, meaning that his liver shouldn't have been low on sugar, and his blood sugar shouldn't have been that low. I assumed that the meter wasn't so hot.
For the purposes of this post, I got my new Ascencia Contour meter and my usual Accu-Chek aviva meter out. I put a test strip in the contour, a test strip in the aviva. I put a new lancet in the Ascencia Microlet, and turned the dial to the second smallest drop, cocked it, pressed it to my big toe and fired. Nothing. Cocked and fired, blood.
I put the blood first to the contour meter, which counts down from 5, and then on the Accu Check, which displays an hourglass.
The Contour said 38.
See, it runs low, says I, I don't feel funny.
I wait, three seconds later the Aviva's result shows up. 38.
Oops, I reach for the juice box. I don't see the straw, use the Microlet to make a hole and suck half the juice box (I don't FEEL low) and then type up this post.

On a side note: two posts ago, Major Bedhead commented that I was pretty coherent for 38. Other diabetics have told me or have written that they know when they're hypo. They see if they can say the ABCs backwards, they see if they can count backwards. They try walking.
I have no such luck
Once when I was sitting in the snow with a blood sugar that had been in the low 30s for about half an hour by my meter, I counted to 200 backwards and forwards a few times, then retested my blood sugar at 42. Then I got up and walked a half mile to a convenience store because I was low on hypo snacks.
When I'm hypo, I sometimes get a little unsteady as I walk, but not real bad. Sometimes the edges of my vision seem a little dark, and focusing can get difficult, but I have vision problems that are similar to that whenever I'm low on sleep, which is frequently.
I sometimes slur my words if I speak when hypo, the way I do when I'm tired, but I can still type just fine.
If I'm around my family when I go hypo, I get cranky. Otherwise, I sometimes feel sad- if I start crying, I know to test my blood sugar. I'm thankful that I've never gotten violent while hypo.
Sometimes I get sweaty or my hands shake when I'm hypo, but usually it's a mild thing- I have to relax to see if my hands will shake.
Sometimes I get anxious when I'm hypo. If I wake up anxious AND I don't remember what I dreamt, then I'm probably hypo.
Just now at 38, my hands were shaking if I took them off of the keyboard and held them loosely, I am calm, not at all anxious or scared, with a normal pulse. My vision was a little dark around the edges, but not really noticably so. I'm slightly dizzy, but I've been dizzy for the past week or so. My coordination is fine. I'd been thinking about what I was going to write about the Contour, and the possibility that my brother is in the reactive hypoglycemic state of prediabetes. I walked into the other room to get the Contour without any shakiness or difficulty in walking to and fro.
The 38 is the second hypo of the day; I was at 59 when I left work.


BetterCell said...

Hello Jonah.........
Your description of some of the symptoms that you related sound somewhat like "Hypoglycemia Unawareness."
Basically, it is considered a complication and often seen in long-term Diabetes Type 1, where ther is an insuffiecient amount of neuropeptides so as to give you an early warning that your blood sugars are low.
The wise approach would be for you to "treat" your low blood sugar FAST and IMMEDIATELY w/o waiting or doing other things.
My experience with Hypoglycemia Unawareness has taught me that not treating immediately will cause unconsciousness to take place because of too low levels of blood sugar.

Bernard said...

I hate this level of unawareness.

I can have conversations with my wife while I'm waiting for my numbers to come up. I'll tell her how much I don't feel low. I'll look at the meter (it must be lying), and eventually the numbers creep up.

And then I do feel different. But not while I'm in the low. What a pain!

Scott said...

The issue of hypoglycemia unawareness is a complex topic, and one that is often dismissed by doctors and educators largely because the number of patients with type 1 in clinical practice is often less than 5% of the total patient caseload, whereas type 2 make up the majority and this is generally an issue for less than 10% of patients with type 2. While the clinical presentation of hypoglycemia can be characteristic, the symptoms and signs of hypoglycemia are nonspecific. Furthermore, symptoms of hypoglycemia may occur but not be recognized as indicative of hypoglycemia, particularly when the patient’s attention is focused on other issues. Symptoms are also relatively insensitive, and many aggressively treated patients lose their symptoms and thus manifest the syndrome of hypoglycemia unawareness. As BetterCell noted, however, its best to treat it aggressively as soon as possible. In some (but certainly not all) cases, "symptoms" can restore themselves by avoiding lows for a short duration.

For more info, see: