How to Get Over A Fear of Lows
We all worry about lows. But do you worry TOO much? A fear of lows can be more damaging to your overall health than the low itself. A fear of lows might look like the following:
- Avoiding activities that you really want to do
- Purposefully keeping your sugar high (above 140mg/dL)
- Not giving yourself the bolus you need
- Stressing about a hypothetical low, daily
1. Get Specific with Your Fear of Lows
Knowing your specific fear is half the battle.
Are you scared that you won’t be able to bring it up? Then maybe the solution is to be overly prepared with low snacks.
Are you scared that it will creep up on you too fast? Then maybe the solution is to set a reminder on your phone for every hour to test your sugar.
For a lot of people, reason and logic have a way of killing superstitions and fear. So ask yourself the following questions:
- What EXACTLY am I scared of?
- How can I be best prepared for that situation?
- What would my backup plan look like?
But if your fear is completely irrational, like mine was (I had a fear that my sugar would randomly drop, for ZERO reason, and I wouldn’t be able to bring it up), then you might have to work a little harder. Keep reading…
2. Create a Low Plan
Having a plan to follow that is already thought through is like bringing a cheat sheet to a test. You have so much more confidence just simply knowing that it’s there. You likely won’t even need it. Here’s what my low plans look like:
- Home Alone: I wrote a whole post about dealing with a low alone here, but here is the skinny of it:
- Contacts. I have a whole page on my phone dedicated to both local and non local friends & family to call incase I need them to come over or stay on the phone with me to make sure I’m okay. If you don’t have anyone local that’s fine! Your friend in a different state can still send 911 to your house.
- Low Snacks: I also have a TON of low snacks in my house at all times, especially high density fast acting sugar like maple syrup and honey.
- CGM: I wear a CGM 90% of the time. Sometimes when one expires I wait a few days (even weeks) before putting another on. HOWEVER, when I know I’m going to be home alone that suckers staying on!
- At Work:
- Low Snacks: I have multiple forms of low snacks like juice, lara bars, and maple syrup packets at my desk. I also did a GoogleMaps search to find the nearest food store incase I need more in a pinch.
- Informing Coworkers: I have informed the people I work with and HR that if anything happens the best thing to do is call 911. Because banking on someone at work to remember that low means you need sugar and high means you need insulin, or even how to use a glucagon pen and to only give it when you’re low is risky and could easily worsen a situation. I also have the cell phone number of a few coworkers I can call in case I need them to pick me up when I go on my lunch break walks.
- Extra Supplies: I keep an extra box of test strips and meter in both my office and car. I also know where the nearest pharmacy is incase I need medical supplies in a pinch.
- For Walks/Exercise:
- Snacks: Be aware of your sugar before you leave and your IOB (insulin on board), THEN plane how much sugar you might need. Then DOUBLE or triple that.
- Tell Someone Where You’re Going: I always tell at least one person (whether I’m at home or work) that I’m going for a walk/run. If you’re living alone or working from home, you can always text a friend and say, “Hey, I’m going on a run. I should be back by 4:15pm, if I don’t text you by then send the dogs!”.
3. Get a CGM
CGMs are a great way to see where your BG is headed. Allowing you to catch lows before they happen.
4. Have Low Snacks
High density fast acting sugar like maple syrup and honey are great to have on hand!
5. Reframe Your Mindset of what Low Is
Something my Endo said to me that TOTALLY changed my mindset of what a low is, was this, “Did you know that non-diabetics can rest easily at 60mg/dL? Makes 55mg/dL not seem so scary now.” And she’s right. Before I would treat a steady BG reading of 55mg/dL with a whopping 30-40g carbs…. but now I treat it with just about 10g carbs, because I’m really only trying to bump it into the 70’s mg/dL range.
6. Figure Out Why You Went Low
Sometimes what’s scary about a low is that you might not know what caused it. If you don’t know what caused it, then what’s to stop it from happening again. Really dialing in on your low will help you figure out what went wrong, and in turn, help you not make that same mistake again.
What Helped You Get Over Your Fear of Lows?
Or maybe what is holding you back?