Treat or overtreat

You can’t overtreat a low blood sugar.

I heard that provocative statement during a recent local diabetes event.

The topic of the session was overcoming diabetes burnout and so we were talking about the stresses and pressures of living with diabetes. Someone mentioned the feelings of guilt after overtreating a low blood sugar.

“What if I told you that you can’t overtreat a low?”

Since the room was filled with people with type 1 diabetes and their caregivers, we were intrigued.

The session facilitator (did I mention it was the fabulous Dr. Jill Weissberg-Benchell) continued in an attempt to convince us.

glucose tabs stackedThe idea is simple really. When my blood sugar is low my brain just can’t function right. Just like the rest of my body, it needs glucose for energy. When it can’t get enough from my blood, it sends out the panic alarm (super scientific explanation). In an attempt to save itself, it commands me to eat. Eat for survival. Higher level thinking like eating only 15 carbs and waiting 15 minutes is nearly impossible when I feel like I might pass out at any moment. (Not all lows are like this obviously, but some catch me by surprise at how dangerous they feel)

Instead, what if I ate until I felt safe? What if I left all the wrappers and packaging out so that I could count carbs and do the math for an insulin correction dose once I was able? What if that took away the guilt of overtreating a low blood sugar and turned it into just treating a low blood sugar?

One less moment of guilt living with diabetes.

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