I have recently been diagnosed with T1D. I have a friend whose dad has had T1D for 40 years. My husband and this friend are debating which is worse too high or too low. My husband is super afraid of me going low but my friend says too high is bad. I personally was under the impression both were bad in different was, too low is an immediate concern and too high more long term issues. Just curious, any thoughts/opinions?
Hi Nicole @NSTrim16, what is your, and their, definition of “too”. I’ve had diabetes for more than 60 years and I’ve experienced both extremes and personally, if given the choice I’d rather be high than low. I concur with your thinking: "… too low is an immediate concern and too high more long term issues."
A “low” needs immediate attention and you can usually bring yourself back close to normal - but you should take immediate action. A “too high” can be, and should be, brought down more gradually, step-by-step to help prevent over-correction.
For “too high” to adversely affect you it would need to very high for a prolonged period of time - such as in an undiagnosed individual. An occasional high after an extraordinary meal would not be of too much concern… for that reason, when I’m at a party or restaurant and I’m not sure how many carbs I’m eating, I deliberately count carbs conservatively and if needed take additional insulin after waiting more than three hours. Take too much insulin and pass-out, you need to hope that competent EMS personnel are nearby.
I’ll take “too high” over “too low” anytime.
While I do miss my parents, I don’t necessarily want a visit from them at 3am, inviting me into the light. Nor do I want to wake up in a hospital with two days worth of stubble on my chin because I ran waaaay low in the middle of the night.
I would much rather contend with high blood sugar because I didn’t account for a few bites of my daughters homemade dessert at dinner.
Thanks. That was my thinking too. I just couldn’t understand why my friend felt going high was more of a danger than going low. I do know he experiences some very low numbers with his dad. I was just curious what others thought.
While both can lead to hospitalization, high blood sugars are a little bit easier to take care of than lows. I have been a diabetic since I was 6 and I’m 13 now. It’s easier to take correction doses of insulin than to have to correct a low.
On the short term, high is better than low. But in the long term, high is bad.
I got a new Dr. a few months ago. I’ve had D1 for 41 years. After looking over my results she said I need to do a better job of warding off lows before they happen, because they have long term risks. Specifically, a risk of dementia. It’s burning brein cells she says. I had not heard this before.
My thinking had been since I was unaware, running low some was better than high. I’m talking about running in the 50s - 70s. Now I’m not so sure. But at this point (60 yrs old) maybe it’s too late?
so now I’m not sure.
Has anyone else heard this before?
Hi @DDrumminMan, think of continuous or long tern “lows” more as starving brain cells rather than burning them.
Brain cells have ONLY ONE food, and that is sugar. Without sufficient sugar, even because of non-carb diet, brain cells will cease proper functioning.
@Dennis just to add a slight correction, glucose is one of the brain’s foods. Also ketones and lactic acids (and they are preferred over glucose). “Sugar” is a bit non-specific, and leads people to think that low-carb diets can’t work, which is not true.
I agree with what most all are writing. I find it hard to function when my sugar is too low. Forget about driving, I’m talking about THINKING straight - having a logical conversation. I can totally function when it’s high. I actually was able to PREVENT my sugar from going high after breakfast by walking up & down a few flights of stairs. It worked!
When I’m low, I can’t think whatsoevver. It sucks when I’m at school and it goes low.
I understand what lows can do short term, and that the brain cells are starved. But I have not seen much related to the long term effect of too many lows, such as a risk of dementia. Can anyone point me to a documented reference on this?
Lows of course cause long term brain damage that is cumulative but it also causes cardiac distress. It’s why so many diabetics sweat like crazy when low and feel tired afterwards. Your endocrine system tends to run on overdrive, aka hearth disease.
Robert, there have been some studies conducted on this but nothing really convincing or consistent [of which I’m aware] has been found. I saw one critically acclaimed study that attributed higher cognitive awareness to RH [Repetitive Hypoglycemia].
If you want to read some study reports based on long-term diabetes, hypoglycemia is touched upon, I suggest that you look at studies conducted on my Joslin Medalists Group - reports of studies can on the Joslin Diabetes Center web-page [joslin.org] . Select the “Research” Tab on the homepage and select “50 year Medalist Study” . Or click here Joslin Medalists