Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Making the Low Go

Day 2 of Diabetes Blog Week:  Making the Low Go

I was just talking to another D Mom last weekend about this actual topic...fast-acting sugar sources. I'm always curious about what other type 1s use for lows.  Juice is an obvious choice.  For us, a juice box can get C's number up fairly quickly but continues to make it climb until she's left with a nasty high number and then the yo-yo effect takes on a life of itself, not settling down for, sometimes, hours.

As we talked, a flood of memories came back to me, surrounding all the gobs of information we tried to digest at the time of C's diagnosis.  We were given a matter-of-fact sheet of paper with a list of fast acting sugar options.  They included:  packets of sugar, tubes of frosting and life savor hard candy.  Of course I ran out and bought it all.  We had 2 tubes of frosting at the bottom of her diabetes bag for nearly 2 years.  Never used it.  Finally we got rid of them after one exploded from being jostled around for so long.

Yeah...a tube of frosting..."yuck," we both agreed, my new D Mom friend and I. 

She told me that her son, now 17 years old, had always been told by his endo doc to use the standard glucose tablets.  But when he was younger (diagnosed at 6), she would fix him a "sugar shot."  This was a mixture of 1 tablespoon sugar dissolved into a Tupperware Tiny container of water.  "It was one gulp," she said.  "It was quick, easy and he loved them."

During my tweet-up time with Melinda, another D Mom,  her advice on bringing up a low, was chocolate milk.  It kind of goes against the rules of fast-acting sugar sources as it contains more than just sugar.  It has fat and protein, as well.  I've always had the understanding that anything but pure sugar-y carbs can possibly slow down the blood sugar rise.  I wasn't too sure about this one, but we went for it recently.  And, by golly, it seems to work like a charm!  We've gone through several containers of chocolate milk in the last couple months.  There is a high enough sugar content to get that blood sugar up quickly.  The fat and protein help prevent any crashes, especially near bedtime or in the middle of the night.

***I guess this is where I must reveal that, although I have a ton of experience with my own daughter's diabetes management, I am not a medical professional.  And, any information you may read here is not meant to be advice for anyone to try at home without first seeking the professional, medical advice of your own doctor.

I'm always on the look-out for new ideas.  Those glucose tabs really do their job quite well.  They're convenient, portable but kind of expensive.  And sometimes, I hate shoving those big chalky things in C's mouth.  We've ventured a bit, in the last year or two, into the candy realm:  Smarties, jelly beans, Skittles.  But candy has been a little unreliable for us.  She may clock in at 63, eat a couple candies and retest even lower.  At which point, we tend to panic and over correct.  Then we ride the rollercoaster for several hours.

We're liking the chocolate milk thing, at the moment.  We might try the sugar shot idea next.  I can't wait to post this thing and cruise around the blogosphere to find some new ideas from others out there!


  1. I never thought of chocolate milk. I will have to give it a try. We always used juice to treat lows... that is until recently. We tried the tablets and he loves them!

    Funny that 1 box juice (15g) will bring him up nicely but 2 tablets (8g) can shoot him through the sky! LOL We are still adjusting to the little differences :)

  2. I find chocolate milk works well too. But I love it so much I find it hard to keep it in stock. I end up having it with my dinner or instead of milk in my cereal. But it does do the job.

  3. We use chocolate milk also, particularly when we need more than just a few carbs and Caleb really isn't in the mood to eat anything. Drinking some chocolate milk seems more tolerable than chewing on just about anything.


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