A.K.A. Low Blood Sugar...

You may know them as Insulin Reactions, Hypos, Lows, or by some variation of those terms.

In my world as a Type 1 diabetic since the age of 5, they've historically been "Reactions" that have transition into the more generic "Lows" in more recent years.

The opposite of Highs, which garner quite the confused and befuddled glares when you say out in public that "I'm High" and follow that with the need to "shoot up." (Fun, seriously. Try it out if you haven't already!)

But two new descriptions for Lows came with a recent experience when the in-laws were visiting during the Memorial Day Weekend. It was Sunday, and they'd gone out with Suzi for a day of shopping at a nearby mall while I stayed home with the goal of cleaning up our kitchen and doing some outdoor work while they were gone. A Law & Order: SVU marathon and The Sandlot 2 interfered only briefly, and the plan was to clean the kitchen and do some outdoor work. But, a Low got in the way sometime after the lunch hour and that's what Suzi and her parents came home to. They faced me in a Low state, which is always a guaranteed good time. My Lovely and Supporting Spouse (who's awesome!) managed to get some honey, rasberry juice, and glucose tabs into my system to boost me up, all while her parents sat by as onlookers at a situation they hadn't personally witnessed before - in our five years of marriage or the five years before that. This was a new experience for them, even though it had been described to them from time to time in the past.

Anyhow, once I returned from the Low state and proceeded to apologize and begin setting the table for dinner, there was a moment when I was trying to figure out where to move something that was on the table. Standing in the kitchen momentarily with a look that likely reflected my pondering the placement of this item, a question came from my mother-in-law - a Type 2 who I've described as a leading member of my D-Police Force (a label that was 100% reinforced this past weekend): "Is Mike going stupid again?" she asked. It was a funny description that caught me off guard, and brought a smirk to my face. I took a moment later to Tweet this, and it brought some similiarly funny reactions from some DOC friends.

Later, while sitting at the dinner table and enjoying a low-carb dinner, the father-in-law spoke about a Type 2 diabetic he'd known at work once. We were actually discussing a Godfather III scene where Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) has a "diabetic attack" and then somewhat remarkably has an immediate response to OJ and candybar, and my father-in-law was telling how that former co-worker had once had a quick response just like that to his "shaking fit." Another interesting description, I thought.

So, in the course of a couple hours, I learned new descriptions for low blood sugars: "Going Stupid" and "Shaking Fit." In a sense, both accurate as they describe real-life symptoms (non-rational or coherent thought and shaking). Just phrases that I'd never heard before. Classics, I'd say. Worth remembering and using at some point down the road.

With that, I open up the floor for anyone to share their own descriptions or terminology in describing their Low Blood Sugars. Have any quotable ones worth sharing? Comment away! But please: avoid "going stupid" or digressing into any "shaking fits" as you proceed to offer thoughts... We wouldn't want that.


I'm always amazed at the reactions some people have to low blood sugars. (we always knew them as Lows or Hypos)
I've never known anyone else with diabetes, and it's only recently, after joining the diabetes daily forums that I've heard more about other people's experiences. I've always remained coherent and lucid even during severe lows. I never realised how extreme some people's symptoms could be. It sounds very scary.
Scott S said…
Hmmmmm, Zoe Sotet Art Studio claims "I've always remained coherent and lucid even during severe lows", which means they could not have been SEVERE lows, because the very definition of a SEVERE low means that the person with diabetes requires the assistance from another person for their recovery. Having said this, I too grew up using the term "reactions" (meaning an insulin reaction) but nowadays, I prefer the internationally-understood term "hypo" because "low" suggests I am depressed, which couldn't be further from the truth (in fact, when I'm hypo, I am usually in a very good mood).
Anonymous said…
I used to announce "My diabetes are attacking!" when I started to feel low. The whole "diabetes attack" terminology cracks me up.
The diabetes are attacking! I love that! (What's the singular? A "diabetee?")

Growing up, my parents always used the term "shocky," which I now associate only with CWD, although I find myself slipping back to the term (when I'm too shocky to stop myself.)
Meri said…
We say "low." Going stupid was HILARIOUS! Mostly because it is SO something my mother would say. I'm so glad you had a good sense of humor about it all...I'm not sure I would have been so understanding. :)
Hmm, I guess it depends how you define 'severe' lows. I've been as low as 18, which I have always heard described as severe, and still been lucid.
HVS said…
I've had them referred to as "sugar spells," which is just about as inaccurate as it gets(try LACK OF SUGAR,people).It's very much a regional thing,everything down South has that Suga spin.
Northerner said…
My poem on the subject 'Thirty Words for Snow':)

The weather comes in many forms,
We have a name for each,
And Eskimos have words for ‘snow’ –
Too numerous to teach!

In Manchester, I’ve heard it said,
So many kinds of rain
Can fall upon a single day,
It permeates the brain!

But what about low sugar?
So many terms we lack…
There’s ‘hypo’ or its bigger friend,
The hypoglycaemic attack!

What about the ‘slowpo’
That takes an hour to fall?
We might not even know
That we are having one at all!

Then there is the ‘plummet’
That falls at such a rate
We panic and we fret and sweat
That we may be too late!

Let’s not forget ‘rebounder’
That strikes just like a viper,
But when you treat it, rockets up
And leaves you feeling hyper!

The ‘raging ocean’ is the worst
With peaks and troughs so wide
That plunge you down, then up, then down,
And floundering in the tide…

So, ‘hypo’ isn’t quite enough,
We need some other way
To let you know when we go low,
Just what we mean to say!
Anonymous said…
This is one of the first persons I met online with diabetes.

He wrote some great poems.http://www.diabetespoetry.com/_diabetes_poetry_room__and_oth8.html
Anonymous said…
According to this article that I have just read, plus similar ones in the press - The DVLA will be assessing a diabetics ability to drive from October this year.

I understand that it is mainly type 1 diabetics that will be affected by the new regulations as it is related to 'hypos'.

My son is type 1, age 26 and has not being driving for very long. He has a medical history of hypos - hence - I fear that he may lose his driving licence.
Any news/opinions on this would be much appreciated.

Please refer to the article link:

If this blog does not accept links - you will find the article on canidoit.org under the 'driving category'.

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