No, You're Not NUTS!

Hypoglycemia without insulin or oral meds

One of the topics which provided the impetus for the formation of the entire Diabetes Type 2R Resource page was the fact that it is the experience of a number type 2R diabetics who are on an autocontrol regimen (controlling their blood glucose without the use of insulin or oral medications) that they continue to experience hypoglycemic episodes without medication. A number of us have experienced disbelief by doctors, friends and even other diabetics, and have been told that they must be "NUTS".  One has even been referred to see a psychiatrist despite the fact that he could document his hypoglycemic episodes with glucometer readings.  A group of us have been discussing the subject via E-mail, and some of the comments on this subject are presented below. The control regimens which they use are presented in another item in this Web Site.

CE Said on the subject: "... I started having hypos around 3pm or if I didnt have lunch between 11 and noon. This only began happening after I was "normal" so it was shocking and unexpected for me to have bgs as low as 36 although the low 70s were more common. I also have a big time dawn effect with my morning bg being the biggest of the day. I finally went back to the nutritionist in total frustration because I thought I was doing so well..."

LU Said on the subject: "... Last week I began to again experience low BG episodes (65 to 67). When I visited my Doctor two days ago he was puzzled. He says it is possible that the diagnoses of Type II could have been caused by some trauma to my pancreas such as infection, blocked duct, etc., and that I may never have been diabetic. He ordered a fasting blood sugar and a HA1C. I see him again next week..."

CY Said on the subject: "...on average, if I follow my diet and exercise program, I can keep my blood sugar below the 140-150 range goal my Dr. gave me. (it's typically in the mid 90's morning reading, and 120's - 130's at bedtime).

"I can throw this over 220 or so if I overdo the carbos or sugars. My reactive hypo feelings usually occur in the late afternoons if I overdo lunch. On these occassions, I get the typical hypo symptoms (sweats, shakes, etc.), and will counter it with a bit of orange juice. However, when I take my BG during these episodes, it's usually in the 80's or 90's, alot higher than I thought hypos were triggered at. However, my diabetes educator told me that rapid blood sugar decline (i.e., reation due to overdoing lunch) causes the hypo symptoms, too. However, she also explained that since I'm not on medication, there is no risk of actual hypoglycemia..."

GM Said on the subject: "...I've had hypo on every kind of oral (including the least likely Glucophage) I had less hypo on insulin, but more severe. Years ago when on diet/exercise I still had hypo coupled with spikes of hyper The last year and a half, since operation, diet/exercise only, I frequently get periods of memory dysfunction, confusion but few of the other hypo symptoms, but occasionally. The low-carb Atkins type diet has lately helped immensely.

"My sugars have since day one average 5.5 mmol/L +/- 0.5, that is misleading because I can be a 3.6 (point at witch I start to feel hypo, as easily as 12. The highs are far less frequent than the lows.

Doctors in doubt, I always time my appointments just before lunch, they test and run for orange juice. Doctors that know me, I give the courtesy of making early morning or after lunch appointments.

"The Senior Endo: "I don't like it, it's not good but what can I do, you are an Anomaly"

CS Said on the subject: "...that's the reason that the medical profession tends to ignore unmedicated hypos -- THEY aren't suffering, and THEY don't have a role in treating them!

BN Said on the subject: "....I have suffered for years from the apparent symptoms of hypoglycemia, and everyone thought i was crazy..."

HW Said on the subject "...I am currently able to control using diet and lifestyle, and control is *in general* good. (A1c=5.1). However, I find that I still have reactive hypoglycemia and can generate my own hypos merely by mishandling timing/glycemic index of meals..."

BL Said on the Subject "...I'm not a diagnosed diabetic, though the genetics run strong in my family as a likelihood.  So far I've never tested  with high blood sugar (keeping fingers crossed on that and watching my diet carefully without getting extremist about it), but I've tested in the low 60s and 70s many times (got a glucometer after having repeated hypoglycemic symptoms) as a reaction to having eaten. I've bottomed out in the 40s.

"Tell a doctor about it and because I'm NOT "diabetic" I get told the fatigue and irritability, shakes, heart palpitations, blurred vision, "foggy" thinking are just because I'm "working too hard and should rest more". Interesting how working too hard *always* occurs 2-3 hours after a meal... even when I'm not at work. One even tried to refer me to a psychiatrist.

Found a site on the net that mentioned taking a teaspoon of raw cornstarch before bed and again on waking - I don't know if a diabetic can do that, but I've found that helpful and it has reduced significantly the number of hypo episodes for me, and thought your audience might find it useful to know..."

Thus, from the above quotes, it can be seen that the problem of hypoglycemia is not due solely to the use of insulin or oral agents, but is indeed a part of the Type 2R "package" for at least some people. Comments on this item can be addressed to the organizer of this page at: 

Last updated: 25 November 1998