Diabetes and Studying?

Hello! Well, when my sugar level goes from normal to really low, or vice versa I tend to get these extremely bad headaches. Does this affect you guys while your studying, and if so how are you dealing with it?? Its hard for me because I was diagnosed January 17, 2012 with type 1 and everything has been a hassle ever since.

Lows can cause headaches.  Make sure to check your blood sugar often if you're studying for long periods of time.  I also let my blood sugar be a little higher than ususal (around 140) before taking a test since it tends to drop my blood sugars.

I'm taking a Physiology class now and we've learned that the brain uses about 50% of the body's glucose!  So when you're studying hard you may actually be using more glucose than usual, which can cause a low blood sugar.  

Diabetes is a hassle, but you'll kind of adjust over time.  It will make you a creative problem solver and you'll get good at math because of all the carb counting and dose calucations you have to do everyday.  Take care.


I also get outrageous headaches when I'm either low or high. I get them when I drop under 80 or go above 160. Some tips that I have are to 1.) stay as hydrated as possible. Hydration is very important in avoiding headaches for all people, not just those with diabetes. 2.) Find a level that works for you, where you don't get headaches, and be more diligent about staying in that range while studying.

Do you have a CGM? That could be EXTREMELY helpful in college for insuring that you stay in a good range while having a hectic schedule that changes often.

Like Jenna said, I also try to run a little higher when I'm about to go into an exam. Instead of bolusing with a 100 target, I use 120-150 as my target, so I give myself a little more wiggle room.

If you find that the headaches are stubborn and just aren't helped by any of these things, you should also consider meeting with the Center for Students with Disabilities at your university. They all have different names, but should be able to provide you with accommodations. I have done this, so that, for example, if I get a TERRIBLE headache the night before I have an exam, or even the day of, I can simply email my professor and push back the exam.  Most universities are able to provide these accommodations that deal with things that can't be planned for--highs and lows.

Like Jenna also stated, the brain uses a lot of the body's glucose. In fact, the brain prefers glucose and will use glucose over any other source of energy. The body's red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the brain, can ONLY use glucose and cannot use an other molecule (protein or fat) for energy. This means that when your glucose drops, your studying ability will too, simply because your brain won't be running at full speed. It's definitely reasonable to request accommodations for after lows--it's not your fault, and your performance will not be a true reflection of your abilities.

I work at a University's Wellness Center and have a bunch of resources about college and diabetes, so if you ever have any other questions, feel free to message me!


its crazy on my end! I havent even had diabetes for a good two months yet and Im already tired of everything. I take the flexpens and thats hurts 100% less than pricking fingers.

@ Alex

I dont know if my university has a diabetes support group, but i do know for sure that they have a center for students with disabilities. The thing is that would they consider a diabetic student as disabled. Also whats a CGM?

Your peace with diabetes will ebb and flow.  Sometimes it will seem like such a hassle, then you'll have a spell where it's not as big a deal.  Marriage is kind of the same way.  So is parenting.

Eventually you will figure out how to make D fit into your life.  It's going to take time so don't rush yourself.  I think most of us also mourn the loss of who we were, before diabetes.  

Think about ways to make diabetes easier.  If you have a few days with decent blood sugars, take a day off from testing.  For me the meter makes a big difference in my interest in testing.  I love the One Touch Ultra Mini because they're little and colorful.  Sounds silly, but it helps.  I also like the little lancet device that comes with it.  Make sure the finger poker you use is set on lowest setting possible.  I only change lancets  when they start getting dull (every 1-6 months).  Some people use new lancet each time but the new ones are too sharp and take a while to break in.  

Back in the day we used to have to pee on a stick to find out what our blood sugar had been a few hours before... trust me, blood testing is better. =)

Im not rushing with the whole thing but its just that it takes away so much from my regular life. I was told to use a different lancet each day but i use about 3 per week. I was scared of my fingers getting infected or something lol. When I put it on the lowest setting no blood comes out from the pokes hole and I end up having to poke a different finger on the highest setting. I dont think anyone deserves to have a disease, its just the thought that you never thought that U would have it , you know? When I came back from the hospital I cried the whole night because I was scared that I would die or if something happened to me in my bed that no one would hear me, and of course it was all fear. Now I just sleep thank God.

Oh one question I hear people say that type 1's should have a snack before bed, which snacks are best though?

The snack before bed is kind of old school.  If you're waking up with normal blood sugars you are fine.  If you're having lows in the a.m., then a snack with a carb and protein is good, cheese and crackers or peanut butter toast.  

Your fingers won't get infected reusing lancets.  I've done it for decades with no problems.  

No one deserves to have diabetes.  I'm taking a physiology class now and it amazes me how every part of your body can break down.  For whatever reason we were the lucky ones with pancreas problems.  While I would never have chosen it, like most challenges, it has built character.  I think most of us with diabetes are a little smarter, and more compassionate than we might have been.  You have to face your own mortality and depend on others in a way that most people your age don't have to.  

Sounds like you're doing great dealing with all of this.  Diabetes is not going to ruin your life.  There's no reason it has to hold you back in your career, relationships, or someday as a mother.  It's not fun but you'll just king of deal with the D as you live your life.  Take care.  -Jenna

Thanxs Jenna! I truly admire your positive attitude. Ill take in all the great things youv've taught me.

Thanxs and may God Bless you on this "D" journey!