It’s Hypo Awareness Week—what’s your favourite symptom?!
Kidding. Apart from a brief spell of time as a food-obsessed teenager when a hypo gave me the legit excuse to eat half a packet of Lucozade tablets, most of us hate the hypo.
From people who’ve found themselves in supermarkets eating handfuls of cereal from boxes (one of our lovely readers), to those nasty little spells where your mind goes blank and gives you a taste of what dementia might be like, most of us would banish hypos from our lives if we could.
The symptoms include:
- hunger—your stomach might growl
- turning pale and sweaty
- tingling lips
- shakes or trembling
- feeling tired
- a fast or pounding heartbeat (palpitations)
- becoming irritated, tearful, stroppy or moody
- seeing floaters (a little blob of bright colour that moves) when you close your eyes or experiencing blurred vision
Most diabetics I’ve spoken to will add in another symptom—we don’t like others telling us we’re hypo. It’s to do with hypos making us irritable, and also because many of us strive to lead independent lives. Someone else noticing you’re unwell before you do undermines that ambition. Please bear with us and try not to mind our irritation.
We can’t moan about the symptoms too much, though. Still getting them after decades of diabetes is A. Good. Thing. If you lose the signs that your blood sugar levels have dipped too low, you risk passing out or having a seizure, and ultimately an untreated low blood glucose level can kill.
There are plenty of causes, such as
- when you skip or miss a meal
- if you take too much insulin to cover a meal
- your basal rate being too high
- unplanned activity
- changes to your routine
And because diabetes is a b***h to women, your cycle interferes with diabetes control too. Most women experience insulin resistance in the week or so leading up to their period and thus will need to take extra insulin to cover it. But the day the insulin resistance eases off can vary—it might be the day you get your period, it could be a few days later and BANG, higher than normal insulin doses, hypos left, right and centre…
Want to add any of your unusual symptoms or any scenarios you have found yourself in, thanks to a hypo? We love your comments…
6 thoughts on “Hypo Awareness Week”
I often get the desperate need to finish whatever I’m doing (like hoover the entire house) before I’ll let myself treat it 🤦♀️
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If I’m out, I’ll often wait until I’m back in the house, so I can sit down and enjoy my jelly babies properly!
Haha, I once ate Frosted flakes in a grocery store by the handful. A lady became freaked out and she ran to office and got the manager. They found me sitting on the floor stuffing my face by the handful. The manager was angry and asked why I was doing that? I said loudly “BECAUSE THEY ARE GREEEEEEEEAAAAAAT ”
yes the police showed up in a few minutes. I explained it was all a misunderstanding. Lets just say I do no go back there these days.
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Best hypo story ever!
I used to get reactive hypos a lot despite being “not diabetic”. I restarted wetting the bed in the wee small hours, and earlier in the night I would get soaking night sweats and attacks of trembling and shaking. During the day I would sometimes faint, or feel faint, and run completely out of energy and be unable to move. My clueless childhood “family doctor” completely failed to join up the dots and diagnosed me variously with “anxiety and neurosis” and hypochondria.
In retrospect my “bedtime drink” was a culprit: cocoa, Horlicks, Ovaltine or Milo made with milk and sugar shot my glucose up and the insulin responded late and then failed to stop. I also suspect my “healthy breakfast” of cereal, when I had bacon I didn’t get the symptoms.
Now on low carb all the symptoms are gone, including the mood swings, depression and hangry. With no demand on my non-existent Phase 1 insulin, the Phase 2 covers what I eat, and I have more than a little suspicion that running largely on ketones also helps. If I knew then what I know now the first fifty years of my life would have been quite different.
I believe doctors must no longer diagnose “reactive hypoglycemia” but “a neurotic condition called idiopathic postprandial syndrome” so actually my then GP was way ahead of his time.
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Wonderful that your symptoms have gone – and yes, I expect many of us wish we’d known then what we know now.