Blood sugar just dropped to 31??

I started insulin injections yesterday morning, I take 20 unitsof Novolin N and 10 units of Novolin R. I have been eating exactly according to the meal plan the Diabetes educator gave me, and I had a snack of cottage cheese, cashews and almonds before I went to bed at midnight. But, I just woke up out of a sound sleep all dizzy and feeling weird, so I got up to grab my glucose meter and eveything went black. I sat down because I felt faint, when I felt like I could see again I grabbed my meter out of my purse and checked--it was a 31. So, I chewed a bunch of glucose tabs and then ate some string cheese...after that I felt a lil better so I made some eggs. I feel okay now, just have a monster headache and still feel a little shaky. Is it normal to drop like that at night even after I had a snack less than 2 hours ago? Could I still be adjusting to the insulin, even though I took it at 9 am, and its going on 2 am now? Any help or suggestions would be great! Thank you!


Thanks, I'll definitely be calling my doctor in the morning. I haven't cut out all carbs though, Breakfast I have 1-2 carb group, morning snack 1-2, lunch 3-4, afternoon snack 1-2, dinner 3-4 and late snack 1-2. I thought cottage cheese fell in that range because of the lactose found in dairy?? I'm so new at this so maybe I am counting my carbs all wrong. :(

Oh, and my insurance will cover more than this there a better or different one I should be asking about?

What's a sliding scale and how would I figure that out?

I'm 20 weeks pregnant so my biggest concern is the health of the baby while going through all these adjustments!

12 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    First of all, you are probably on too high a dose of Novolin, or it may be too much Novolin R. You should NOT be starting both insulins at once.

    Normally, you would be started on the long acting insulin first and when you get consistent morning readings between 4 and 6 you have your levels right. Then after a couple of weeks where that reading is stable, with no highs or lows, you would consider adding the short acting insulin.

    I just can't understand why your doctor would put you on both insulins at once without a trial of the long acting alone first. Its just too dangerous.

    Cottage cheese is not really a good source for your snack at bedtime. Try a slice of whole grain toast, with some peanut butter on it instead, or very low fat cream cheese on the toast.

    The cashews or almonds are fine, but the carb source should be whole grains not cottage cheese. You probably didn't get enough carbs in the cottage cheese, and together with too much insulin, you are very lucky to be alive.

    Having a low of 31 would lead to coma for many. You were going into insulin shock, that's why you blacked out. After going into a coma, if not treated, you can become brain damaged, or die.

    Don't bother with string cheese, its not going to help when you are low. You need carbs, not protien.

    The glucose tablets are the best thing to use because glucose gets into your bloodstream faster than anything else. Orange juice or cookies just won't cut it when you are that low. Your body can't even digest them when its that low, so you might have gone into a coma if you had used orange juice or cookies instead of the glucose tablets.

    Rule #1 for insulin use - ALWAYS keep glucose tablets on hand where ever you go. Carry them in your purse and keep an easy to open bottle of them in every room in your home. It may save your life some day. Make sure everyone in your family knows where they are and how much to give you if you have an emergency.

    Extremely low blood sugar like you experienced can cause confusion, and an inability to walk, talk, and sometimes an inability to open bottles too. I've had a low where I couldn't talk, couldn't move enough to get to my glucose tablets, and had to poke my husband until he woke up and realized I was in serious trouble. He got up and grabbed my tablets and gave them to me, then some water and probably saved my life. If he hadn't woken up I would have been in a coma for sure, because I was blacking out, and could barely breath, and hardly move. My arms were like lead. I couldn't even lift my head or speak.

    There is another product you should probably keep on hand, which is insulin gel. It comes in small tubes and if you are experiencing a very bad low and can't chew the tablets, someone else can squeeze it into your mouth, or you can suck it from the tube. However, make your family knows that they should NEVER, under any circumstances give you food or drink, or glucose tablets, or gel, if you are unconscious. It can cause choking and death. If you are unconscoius from a severe low they should dial 911 and get an ambulance there asap. You should also have glucogon on hand for such an emergency. Its a kit you keep in the fridge. If you pass out from a low, and they have checked and know for sure its a severe low, and you can't be woken up, after dialing 911, they can mix and inject the glucogon. Its a last minute resort to save your life, so you never want to use it, but if you need it, and its there, it can make all the difference between surviving and being brain dead or dead.

    Glucogon usually causes vomiting after the person wakes up, its quite a drastic measure but its the only way to safely treat a low where the diabetic had lost consciousness. The paramedics can inject it when they get there, but in your family should know how and be prepared to do it if needed.

    I recommend that you get the book Diabetes for Dummies

    and if you are type 2, then I also recommend

    The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes: An Essentail Guide for the Newly Diagnosed by Gretchen Becker (This is a good book for anyone with type 2 diabetes, even someone whose had diabetes for a few years. Get it asap if you are type 2).

    And for low carb recipes, have a look at The South Beach Quick and Easy Cookbook.

    And Protein Power: The High-Protein/Low-Carbohydrate Way to Lose Weight, Feel Fit, and Boost Your Health--in Just Weeks! (Paperback) By Michael Eades

    Get your doctor or diabetes nurse to look at revising your plan to get on insulin. You should never have had this low, your insulin dose is far too high.

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  • 4 years ago


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  • 4 years ago


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  • 1 decade ago

    That was a dangerous drop in glucose and you are incredibly lucky that you were able to get some sugar into your body before you ended up in a coma. You really need to call your doctor and diabetes educator as soon as possible and tell them what happened. The doctor will have to adjust your insulin dosage - it's better to have your blood sugar be a little high while you are adjusting than to have it drop to such a scary level.

    Will your insurance pay for any other insulins? If not, you may want to ask about a lower dose of the short acting insulin, especially since you also take a long acting one.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Welcome to my world. 31 is dangerously low. I would eat cookies or candy before I would waste that sugar on tablets though. I think 20 units of Novolin N and 10 of R is too much to start out with. You need to experiment slowly on it gradually increasing it and finding a balance. I know what the problem is, you suddenly cut out all carbs from the sound of it and then did all that insulin. There are very little carbs = sugars in cashews, cottage cheese and almonds. You need to check your blood sugars before you do the insulin and do the amount according to a sliding scale. I am surprised your doctor does not have you on a sliding scale according to your current sugars. I've been on insulin for 7 years and even I have to do the sliding scale now. Sometimes I do more insulin than others times. You need to contact your doctor and figure out the sliding scale. If you cut out most of your carbs "all of a sudden out of the blue" then of course you will need less insulin than if you ate like you were before. Hope this helps, it will take time to learn the signs of low sugars and to balance your insulin according to what you eat.

    Source(s): A sliding scale is a chart that tells you how much insulin to give yourself when you blood sugars are a certain number. You can only get your own scale from your Doctor taylored to your insulin type. I am on Hunolog (fast acting) and Lantus (time released). For my Humolog if my blood sugar reads 180 = I do 6 units of fast acting 220 = I do 8 units of fast acting it goes up as my sugar reading goes up. you get the point but you MUST go by the one designed by your doctor for you. Hope you feel better.
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  • 1 decade ago

    i/m a long suffering diabetic

    31 is too low. normal is about 90-126 above is too high Have some glucose tablets on hand or drink some orange juice and test levels in about 2hrs if YOU START TO FEEL BETTER YOU ARE DOING OK

    Take several reading each day to chart the direction your levels are going. Get a blood test that will chart your levels for the previous 3months Take the advice of a doctor or even a dietitian

    Let a doctor determine any changes in your insulin dosage








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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes it is possible. You may have to do some carbohydrate counting like lets say you sugar is

    160 and a handfull of almonds is 30 carbs ure sugar will go up to about 240. and then you take insulin. It will lower the sugra you have to maybe take bigger portions

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  • 1 decade ago

    if you give yourself insulin you should check whatever you eat has enough carbs in it. for instance:cottage cheese, cashews, and almonds are all proteins which have no or little carbs. if you dont eat enough carbs to balance out with your insulin you will drop to a low.

    btw, trust me it happens to me alot

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Call the doctor who prescribed the Novolin at once. It sounds like you are on too high of a dosage.

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