Low Blood Sugar Reactions in Facing Stressful Situations

Do others experience a low sugar reaction when they have to face a stressful situation?  The other day I had lunch with usual amount of carbos. and appropriate dose of Humalog insulin at approx noon.  I was confident this would carry me through until dinner.  I had a 3:15 pm eye exam and had a low blood sugar reaction in the dr's office at approx. 3:10 pm.  I experience stress whenever I have a dr appt.  The stress reduces once the dr. comes in and we progress through the appt.  Do any of you have low sugar reactions when you face stresses in daily life?  It seems as if my body burns through the carbos when I am anticipating a stressful situation for me.  Any help would be appreciated.


I tend to be high when under stress and need more insulin to bring down to a normal range. So that's the opposite of what you describe.

I have found that matching carbs to insulin can be tricky if there is a high amount of protein or fat in the mix.  Fat especially delays the rise in BG for me and then I can go low even though the carb to insulin was matched.  I wear an insulin pump and this allows me to adjust the bolus (part right away and the balance spread out over the next couple hours) or my basal rate.  Do you think something like this might be coming into play?

if you know for sure your lows are due to stress (everyone's response is different), you can try eating a small snack before stressful situations. a glass of milk, a couple crackers. some bread with peanut butter.... whatever floats your boat, just to be pre-emptive and avoid the low.

diabetes really throws some curveballs. good luck to you :o)

I thought a bit more about stress and BGs.  There are a couple different types of stress I have experienced and have different symptoms.  Job-related stress or working (desk work) long hours and pressure to meet deadlines tends to make me to have higher BGs as I described above.  However, stress related to situations such as where I am scurrying to get my kids out the door and the car packed and house secured prior to a road trip, for instance, tend to make my BGs dive.  The latter is stress in meeting a deadline combined with physical activity.  Neither is combined with anxiety as you have described, but my point is that stressful situations can impact BGs for me in different ways depending on the circumstances.

Key to dealing with stress is understanding your body and how it reacts to certain situations and planning accordingly to bolus more or snack to compensate for these changes.  Also during stressful situations, test your BGs more often to avoid the BG peaks or valleys.  Finding patterns will help

I've always read that stress will cause your sugar to go up, but mine is like yours - it always comes down when I am stressed!  When I have meetings with clients, I have to error on the side of ensuring that my sugar is high otherwise I'm having a reaction like you did.

That's ME to a "t." I feel your pain. I wish I had seen your post earlier. I think the best thing you can do is factor the stress into your insulin/carb ratio. Assess your stress as being the equivalent of an extra few units of insulin. I use a pump, and one of my basal settings is actually elevated stress. The worst thing you can allow to happen is to let your blood sugar drop when you're in a stressful situation. 

The scenario you described, seeing your doctor, is certainly something I've faced before. My problem is that while the stress may be related to the doctor visit, the resulting danger manifests immediately BEFORE the visit...the GETTING TO the visit.

 I have been in a few sugar-related close call car accidents in my lifetime, and the last thing I ever want to do is harm another human being or myself because my sugar dropped out on me. I have learned, to an extent, to put time stress into perspective. If I'm late for something, and I feel my sugar starting to respond, I grab my cran-apple juice (in convenient travel-sized plastic bottles) , breathe, make the appropriate phone call, and .assure myself that it's better to be late than to be behind the wheel of a several-thousand pound weapon and not be in full control. 

Every doctor I've ever spoken to about this issue has said the same thing...better to err on the side of caution. And always be prepared. Life is full of stress. If you know your body's reaction is to burn through carbs, you have to stay ahead of it. as much as you can. 



This happens to me too, especially with doctors.  However, my blood sugar will go down, but my blood pressure will go up.  I have a severe case of white coat syndrome.  My doc tried putting me on blood pressure medicine because of it, and it made me nearly faint many times when doing normal things.  Doctors are the most stressful situations for me!!

This is my first post.

Over the past two years I have experienced both eztreme lows and extreme highs based on extreme stress. During this period my husband was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer, my eldest grandson committed suicide, my father died, my mother-in-law ended up spending several months in and out of the hospital and in a skilled nursing facility, and my long-time internist closed his practice. 

I quickly learned that I need to always have my metter and glucose tablets handy and be ready to test whenever and wherever I started to feel "strange." I also learned that highs brought on by stress are, for me, most often "spikes" that go away when the stress does and that if I use my before meals Humalog to match the numbers I end up extremely low. After 50 years as a Type 1 I had to go back to basics and re-educate myself on taking care of me. I also learned that seeing a psychiatrist is not the worst thing in the world and that just being able to talk about stress helps a whole lot. So does an iPod with relaxing classical and other (many religion-based) tunes.

Please remember that each and every case of diabetes is unique and that how and when you experience stress (and how your blood sugar relates to that stress) is normal for you.

I also seem to fall low during stressful things. I know that if I am going to a job interview I drink a juicebox before leaving the house or I fall low once I am in the interview. I used to do the same thing in college when I knew I had a presentation to do. I always bring something along in my purse as well, just incase afterwards I am low. i find a juicebox prior helps me quite a bit. I wait til after everything is done then I check my blood and I am usually right where I want to be.