Things I notice when I'm low

Okay - shakes and sweats were great but I haven’t gotten those symptoms in forever.  So I started thinking about the things that I do notice and I thought I may be fun for us to share the symptoms that probably do not make the charts… J


·         I notice my speech patterns get weird and sometimes even slurred

·         I have trouble doing mental math

·         I have long pauses between thoughts (if ya’ll haven’t noticed, I’m usually pretty stream-of-consciousness ;) )

·         Being suddenly tired

·         Making multiple coordination errors in a short period of time

·         When I’m real low, I have had hallucination type things – like once, I thought my PDA screen had shattered, turned out – it was fine…  I thought my cell phone screen was shot – you get the idea…


I can usually catch my lows in the mid-40’s…


How ‘bout everyone else???

Oh – and my lips and face used to get numb sometimes but that seems to have gone away with most of the rest of my symptoms :-S

Tell me yours - it really helps finding new things to watch!



Hello A-D,

Great post!  Those are a lot of the same symptoms that I first notice when I get low as well.  I work in front of the computer for most of the day, so sometimes my eyes will play tricks on me too.  I notice that the lights coming from the computer screen are a lot more vivid than usual, and I end of just focusing on the screen and kinda zoning out.

Some other symptoms I seem to catch early when I get low:

  • Trouble focusing on my work
  • Feeling hungry, even when I ate very recently
  • I get a strange taste in my mouth (hard to explain)

Mid-40s is LOW!  The lowest I ever was - 38.  I usually catch myself now in the mid 60s or high 50s.

However, the fact that you ARE catching them that low means that you probably have good glucose control.  The tighter your control, the more immune you become to the typical "Low blood sugar symptoms".

Good luck!


A-D sorry to hear about the hypo unawareness... 

after 31 years I still get a full-on anxiety response - shakes, racing heart - you know the drill.  I can also feel either a numbenss or burning in my thighs, typically near where I used to inject insulin.

At night I will see a glowing doughnut floating on the walls.  Someone in another forum called it the "ring of fire" but I like glowing donught. =)

When I am reall low I cannot keep up with a conversation.  Words just do not come out of my mouth and I get confused really easily.

I would do a better job of explaining these...but.... I know you guys understand!

Lows are quite hard to explain sometimes.  For me, I feel different and more symptomatic if I'm 60s or high 50s for a while. 

  • Shaking
  • Bad coordination and not being able to walk in a straight line
  • A weird feeling in my legs/knees (?) that's sort of like a heaviness, really hard to describe

If I'm lower like 40s or 30s, I won't shake so much as I'll feel really out of it and incapable, as well as strangely depressed, which I think comes from the incapability.  When I'm walking, eventually I'll start tripping (which has happened on long walks with no glucose tabs...) and get REALLY mad for no reason.  Then bad things start happening...hope your hypo-unawareness goes away.  that's really terrible :(

oh yeah, forgot to mention not being able to read and concentrate on words, and of course the endless, ravaging hunger.


 I've had some terrible lows myself. The lowest my bs has ever been has been mid 20s. Since 2 years ago, I haven't had as many (thank God!) When I do experience it, I tend to get the typical symptoms of sweatiness and shakiness. But on top of that, I also have slurred speech. I remember sophomore year, my friend came into my dorm room and I just kept remembering telling her, "I know, we're supposed to go to the mall..." I didn't understand what I was talking about when I said it. Later, she confessed she was confused herself.

 Other instances have been me waking up in the kitchen with my hands in a box of cereal or peanut butter. Ew, I know. I think subconsciously I know what the problem is ... I just take care of it while I'm not really with it (if that makes sense at all). Hmm ... other things .... I've made phone calls like a drunk person. Blabbering and slurring to my family and friends. Embarrassing, really.

 2 years ago, I also had this period of time where I would sleep 14+ hours and then be tired and ready to go to bed yet again. That was a different case (my doctor had upped my insulin (Novolog) too much.)

 Anyway, I have asked my friend from high school, Lauren, (type 1 since she was 5) if she had the similar experiences with low bs's. She said she hadn't. I began to get a little scared. I'm sure I've had other lows experiences I'm forgetting. I'll post another reply when I remember.

I have some interesting symptoms as well ~

*lips and tongue go numb/tingly

*I lose the ability to say what I want to say.. um, for example:  I wanted my ex-husband to get me juice from the fridge and even though that's what I MEANT to say, I asked for a Kleenex.. then a fork.. it was really weird. 

*My lowest BS was 21.. I woke up and the whole left side of my body was numb.. VERY scary.. but as soon as I had some.. well, a LOT of juice, I felt better.

Interesting stuff!

OH!  and I also have woken up with food in my mouth.. very gross.. hehe.  Or with part of a sandwich on my lap in bed.  I have a lot of trouble with overnight lows. 

And as I think we ALL know, it's a much more intense low when you wake up from it.. rather than having one while you're awake!

I've noticed loosing my train of thought, too, or having difficulty solving problems, working, etc. when I'm low. But, this might be a weird one: anyone else have cold hands/legs? It's always been for me that when I'm low my legs or hands will feel chilly.

slurred speech

numb tongue, mouth and lips

racing heart

cant think straight


So I'm curious....our son is newly diagnosed and just 4.  We are aware of the signs to look for but the two times he has been low we had no clue until we tested him before his bedtime snack.  One night he was 51 and was acting just fine.  We treated him and all was good within a half hour.  The second time he was 48 and again no signs.  In fact he was dancing and doing somersaults.  I only stopped him to test before a snack.  Are there any small signs or things we could maybe notice?  We also want to be able to educate our eight year old daughter so she can be aware when they are playing and we are not nearby.


My first signs of lows were always being shaky and sweaty.  My mom used to hold my wrist and look to see if my hand was shaking! 

I was 12 though..


when i'm low i normally am:

•very hungry and eat a lot


•tired and just very out of it

nothing really abnormal :)

So. Long response...sorry...I have had and still have some low blood sugar issues myself. This one doctor thought I was making insulin. I wasn't (duh...sheesh). I take much less insulin than the numbers indicate I should be taking (and by numbers, I mean that I am big-boned, third generation Danish, horsey:-) as in, unpetite).

I still get low a lot. It seems to move in cycles. I'll be fine for a while, and then the next thing I know, I'm getting low a lot again.

I also have the sweating, but it is not a symptom I usually see unless I am asleep. I have horrible nightmares...hideous 'low dreams.' When awake, I notice a sense of adrenaline and a feeling of lightness which almost feels anesthetic in some ways. I hear differently...some things 'speed up' while others 'slow down,' and colors seem dimmer somehow. But the big thing I notice is emotions...any emotion I am feeling gets exaggerated...other times, it's complete lethargy, as if I'm slowed down in time and thought.

My significant other states that I become unresponsive and vacant in my eyes. He says he can look in my eyes and see something 'missing' and know I'm low. A family member stated that the first sign she would recognize was change in skin hue, which she referred to as 'green around the gills.'

I think the pattern is that whatever was the case before my blood sugar dropped, a sudden change in behavior is always present, marked by either a rapid decrease or in some cases increase in certain motions...and if there were any emotional contexts involved, these become extremely exaggerated...or I get dreamy and ditzy.

My thoughts break apart. That's a big indicator for me. But the biggest is probably words. They rearrange themselves on a page, so that I can't get through a passage and end up throwing the book down in disgust. Then I see the cover of the book there, and it hits me that I might be low as I am normally able to read...or something like that.

I also notice a sudden onslaught of severe depression, as in, extreme sadness or 'what's the point' and a loss of hunger or appetite...everything tastes like playdoh (not that I ever, uh, tried it). This lifts the moment some glucose hits my bloodstream. And another thing: I can't taste anything sweet when I'm low. So I'll be drinking a sugar soda and trying (and failing) to make sure there's sugar in the ingredients (which I can't read when I'm low...sigh).

For the parents, some free advice: try to remember a phrase which gets your little one to respond and drink and/or eat what you present during an insulin reaction. A family member used to say, "Drink the coke," to me...I was spoiled and usually had Coke

:-) that when my significant other had some other drinkable item, he would say, "Drink the coke," and hand me orange juice, and I would drink it down while grimacing.

I can sink low pretty quickly...does anyone out there notice that? All my life, when I reached 60, I'd dip down fast.

One other thing...I live with six cats and a dog...depending on which cat is where, she or he will launch head first at my arms if I'm low. Something about when I catch them, or try, cues me in. I know it sounds crazy, but it's true.

And in terms of hallucinations: whoo. I thought my mother was a big blue dragon once...she had this caftan she's wear. I saw flames coming out of her mouth. Another time, I thought I was a cat, walked on hands and knees and meowed at my significant other. Ah, memories. The low dreams are absolutely horrible. So if a really bad nightmare happens, chances are, if my experience is accurate in other people's cases, it might be a good idea to check. If I wake up crying, it's because the blood sugar has dropped. But then it gets treated, and I can't for the life of me remember what the big deal was at the time.

For me, you guys have listed most of the issues I have experienced.

i tend to notice:


Sweat pouring from my body


Lack of coordination

Blurry Vision- Eventually

Periods of spaciness (one time I was at a bagel place ordering because I was low. I remember thinking about my order and the next minute the people handing me my order and telling the price. I never actually remember placing the order)


I have had some pretty rough lows, I know that I have been below 30 at times. I have found that I have existed at below 50 at a more or less normal level of existence. I mean maybe a little more delayed and slowed down but still functioning.

Since switing to my pump things have been better, I am more aware of things and control from when I was on NPH and Humalog. Not to mention I have been using the Glucose Sensor with my medtronic pump, which has really helped me in catching my lows as I have been able to exist in the less than 60's without even being aware.

I've experienced most of the symptoms mentioned here so far, but I'm surprised no one has mentioned seeing spots or dark patches. I'll get this symptom usually in the morning. It's kind of like the spots you see if a light flashes in your eyes. Anyone? 

For the parent of the 4 year-old -- it's important to know that over time symptoms are going to change. One example: I know longer get the shakes, although I may feel like I'm shaking. I imagine it's tough to know what's going on with him, and you'll have to rely on him telling you he "feels funny" until you (and he) can learn to ID the symptoms.

We're having the same problem.  We've only seen symptoms once, and he just totally fell apart and seemed unrational.  (common with some 4 year olds without diabetes!!)  We tested on a gut feeling and were right.  We're still looking for symptoms associated with his lows, which have decreased since taking him off Lantus.  We only bolus for meals currently due to too many morning lows.  I think we're in for a long honeymoon period.  ( hate that phrase!!- honeymoon)

My legs always feel weak and I'm unreasonable. I can catch my lows at around 70. I'm pretty sensitive. I've even felt low at 95 before.

I don't have cold hands/legs ... actually, the opposite when I get low. Once I get back up though, I feel cold.

That's interesting.. I have the same sort of thing happen too.  Once I start feeling really cold, I know my BS is coming back up to normal.

I have never had the spots in front of my eyes.. but sometimes, every now and then, I get a really bad headache.. and it turns out I am low.  No other symptoms with the headache though.. that's a weird one.