The Fear of Going Low

The Fear of Going Low

“I’m just so afraid of making them go low”, she said. She’d never dosed insulin for her child before. ⁣⁣⁣
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“Well,” I said, “the first thing you need to know is that it’s going to happen. You will overdose or miscalculate or plans will change and they will go low and that’s just how it is sometimes. It happens. And when it does, it will be okay, because you’ll be prepared. You’ll know what to look for, what to do, what is happening and you’ll react and move on.”

She nodded. ⁣⁣⁣
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“The important thing is,” I continued, “to not let that fear get in the way. So many people let the fear of lows keep them from having their blood sugars in range the rest of the time. And sure, lows can be a big deal, and they’re important to prevent, recognize, and treat. But that doesn’t mean that we should hang out with high blood sugars the rest of the time just to avoid the possibility of a low blood sugar. That’s just as damaging, potentially more so, in the long-term.”
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“Yeah, I know,” she said. “I was reading about all those complications last night.”
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“And those are scary too! But the good news is that just like all of this, we have so much in our power to do something about it. 100 years ago this diagnosis was a death sentence; now here I am telling you which apps are best for seeing your kids’ blood sugar on your phone while they’re at school! Can you imagine?”
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“The more we learn, the more we understand, the less scary it seems, and the better equipped we are to make the types of positive treatment decisions that will lead us to a long and healthy life. That’s why we are going to start today to do all we can to set you guys up for success. It’s going to be okay.”

She hugged me. ⁣⁣⁣

A diabetes diagnosis is such a life-altering, terrifying thing not just for the child, but also for the parents. And the lows are devastating.

Lows are a short-term complication of insulin-dependent diabetes, and can lead to some not so great stuff in both short and long term. If we better understand low blood sugar, why they occur, and what to do about them, we can set ourselves up for long, healthy, wonderful lives, regardless of the lows.  

The more we understand how low blood sugars (or anything diabetes-related) work, the more we can do to address or prevent it.

So often, we (parents, kids, adults) get so discouraged by a low blood sugar that we let it haunt us to the point that it controls us. Because of it, we run higher (or let our kids run higher) than we should.

This is just one example of the many conversations I have at work each day about diabetes. And so often, the conversations revolve around a seemingly impossible situation.

But when the opportunity comes to give people even just a fraction of the positivity and support that I had when I was diagnosed with diabetes, I always, always seize it. ⁣Because those moments determine the course of our relationship with our diabetes, our health, and our lives. ✨

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Jordan Hoese, MD, MPH
Jan 27, 2020

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