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Passing out from high sugar

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#1
Freckles111

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About 10-12 years ago I had an experience that my then endocrinologist claimed is not possible (well obviously he was wrong). I wanted to run it by you and see if any of you have experienced something similar.

This was about 3-4 years after I was diagnosed. My sugars were all over the place and I was still on injections. I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom (as I still do frequently nowadays), and I also felt very thirsty so I went to the kitchen to get a glass of water. As I was gulping it down I felt very nauseous and within a few seconds I started to faint (I have fainted many times in my life since I was a kid for various reasons so I didn't panic too much). I wanted to wake up my mom so I headed towards her bedroom and all I managed to do was rattle her doorknob...and I don't remember anything after that.
The next thing I DO remember is waking up on the floor with my mom pouring soda down my throat. She thought my sugar was low so she tried to revive me and give me sugar. It turns out my sugar was in the 400's (I don't remember the exact number now).
My mom says she was awaken by my rattling her doorknob and when she got up she found me laying on the floor outside her bedroom, convulsing with my eyes wide open but passed out. She thought I was dying.
I ended up taking some insulin after I got up and was ultimately fine, but I did go and see my doctor the very next day who said it's impossible to pass out from high sugar, though he did send me to get an EEG to see if I have seizures (I don't). Has this ever happened to anyone?
Btw my sugar was not consistently high at that time - it was up & down a lot. But I mean before I was diagnosed I was high for many months all the time and never passed out. What do you think happened?

#2
inkvisitor

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I'm not sure about the time frame here, but maybe you were super low and had a surge from your liver which cause a major rebound?
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“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”

#3
Freckles111

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hmmmm... as far as I know I was not low at all that day (and I've never had very extreme lows - the lowest maybe 40 - and I never lost consciousness from low sugar). This happened about 2am and my sugar was fine before I went to sleep. It was only minutes since I woke up until I passed out and I was out for only a few minutes. Right after I woke up I checked my sugar and it was in the 400's -and when I woke up before I passed out I had symptoms of high sugar (dry mouth, extreme thirst, nausea), so I don't know... I've never before or since passed out while having high sugar...

#4
inkvisitor

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Yeah, that seems too fast for anything like that (or Somogyi-related).
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“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”

#5
poodlebone

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I've passed out from lows but never from highs, not even when I was over 500. You said that you've fainted for various reasons before so maybe it was just something like that, or the nausea from being high that did it.
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#6
SCC

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Could you have had sugar from juice or other stuff on your fingers when you tested?
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#7
Freckles111

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Could you have had sugar from juice or other stuff on your fingers when you tested?


Definitely not - I don't drink juice unless my sugar is low and I wasn't low earlier. Besides I went to the bathroom before that so I did wash my hands AND I DID have symptoms of high sugar - it wasn't a wrong reading - my sugar WAS really high - it took the rest of the night to bring it down - I checked throughout the night and it came down slowly, so it wasn't a wrong reading.

#8
Subby

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You said in your original post that you have fainted many times in your life - that is definitely not typical, you seem to have a predisposition to fainting! I would not be surprised in the slightest if a high blood sugar affected whatever it is that has disposed you to fainting. I get definite neurological effects from significantly high blood sugars. Right now, I am suffering from rather strong dyslexia that has come on in the last two weeks - two weeks of of rather poor control. I know it will improve when my BGs get better, it's done so before in the same situation. High blood sugars affect the brain.
20 years T1. NPH and Novorapid.
Some essentials for my blood sugar control: dosing via i:c ratio and cf • basal testing when needed • daily 40 minutes moderate exercise (or close) • carbs somewhere below 120g currently • only eating carbs and carb/fat combos that do not cause a problem spike, with or without insulin.

#9
Freckles111

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Yes I have fainted many times before but 99% of those was during very painful cramps - but I never lost consciousness (especially to this extent), never had anything like a seizure before and certainly didn't pass out completely with my eyes open. I'm sure the high sugar affected my brain in some way and made me pass out. I have on occasion felt faint when I was nauseous, but again - never lost consciousness completely or had a seizure. This was a one time incident - can't comapre it to any of my other fainting spells. It's just weird how it hapepned with my sugar being high. I wasn't sick or anything at that time - everything was fine, so this was very unexpected. I guess it will remain a mystery forever...

#10
Subby

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Well, I have never gone DKA but I have gone quite close once when my pump set stopped working and I didn't detect it for 6 hours. When my BG was shooting up quickly into the 400s with that real lack of insulin, I had what I would call similar to absent seizures - sudden breaks in consciousness. Sound and vision cut in and out like a tv being switched on and off. Freaky. I've never had them otherwise. Each time it was an effort to come back, luckily I was being jolted around in a car. I may simply have been resisting passing out, I don't know.

I realise that's a little different to what happened to you, but it may be a similar occurrence that was going on for you if you were skirting going DKA. Passing out or going unconscious from DKA is certainly not unheard of. It might have been you were very lucky to wake up at that time when you did and get things under control. I'm glad to hear that control is better these days.
20 years T1. NPH and Novorapid.
Some essentials for my blood sugar control: dosing via i:c ratio and cf • basal testing when needed • daily 40 minutes moderate exercise (or close) • carbs somewhere below 120g currently • only eating carbs and carb/fat combos that do not cause a problem spike, with or without insulin.

#11
Boston Rich

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That is how i found out I was type 1

I was working in Boston and taking the T from Framingham to Boston ... I was standing because the T was packed .. I remember thinking it was hot on the train so I took of my jacket... next thing I knew I was at Tuffts medical ... they said i passed out and hit my head going down and always fell on this poor chick on my way down .... when they did blood work they yelled at me for not saying i was diabetic ... i was like "I'm not!!" and the doctor was like "yeah right!" .

#12
Freckles111

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That is how i found out I was type 1

I was working in Boston and taking the T from Framingham to Boston ... I was standing because the T was packed .. I remember thinking it was hot on the train so I took of my jacket... next thing I knew I was at Tuffts medical ... they said i passed out and hit my head going down and always fell on this poor chick on my way down .... when they did blood work they yelled at me for not saying i was diabetic ... i was like "I'm not!!" and the doctor was like "yeah right!" .


OMG that's terrible! What a way to find out...I'm sorry you went through that :(
I guess it is possible to pass out from high sugar then. I mean I always thought it was (and it did happen to me) -I was just wondering how frequently it happens.

#13
Lizzie G

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i know this is a bit of a vague response....but im inclined to say everything is possible. we all vary so much in our physical and emotional responses to our environment, one's chalk is another's cheese, literally. if it's happened to you, don't ignore it whether it's medically documented or not; know your body and listen to it, whether it conforms to expectation or not!!!

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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Mum to Samuel, born 09 Sept 2011 and James, born 10 Feb 2014
Latest HbA1C: 5.8%


#14
fairyblood

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I passed out the day I was diagnosed. I was in fourth grade and I fell straight down in front of all my classmates.

I however feel that undiagnosed diabetes is different than a super high blood sugar now and I would be surprised that you passed out from a number in the 400's. I have been straight up "HI" more times then a person should and I have never come close to passing out.

"HI" for those of you that don't know is above 600 when the meter can no longer take the reading. I would also like to say that my super hi days were as a stupid teenager and I no longer live like that.

#15
Diabetes India

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Mr.Freckles111,

Do not take this lightly as this could be dangerous to your health. Consult your doctor first if one is not helping then get second opinion

If you do not mind, and have some time before you go to your doctor - can you tell me if you have any other medical conditions and if you are taking any other medicines apart from diabetes.

What do you take for diabetes?

Did you check your heart rate when you fainted?

Can you tell me your blood pressure and heart rate in lying down, sitting up and standing position - each taken within 3 minute interval.

Do you feel early satiety after eating? or Do you have nausea / diarrhea frequently?

Do you feel palpitations / racing of your heart?

Does your hands or feets feel numb or tingling?

Too many questions .. I guess.. your endocrinologists must have had this type of round with you.. sorry but I need to know the answers before I can say anything.

#16
Subby

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Mr.Freckles111,

Do not take this lightly as this could be dangerous to your health. Consult your doctor first if one is not helping then get second opinion

If you do not mind, and have some time before you go to your doctor - can you tell me if you have any other medical conditions and if you are taking any other medicines apart from diabetes.


Did you read the first post?

About 10-12 years ago I had an experience



I however feel that undiagnosed diabetes is different than a super high blood sugar now and I would be surprised that you passed out from a number in the 400's. I have been straight up "HI" more times then a person should and I have never come close to passing out.

"HI" for those of you that don't know is above 600 when the meter can no longer take the reading. I would also like to say that my super hi days were as a stupid teenager and I no longer live like that.


The thing is, the original doctor quoted by the OP was right to a (small, pedantic) degree. It's not high blood sugar in itself that causes the terrible effects of DKA. High blood sugar comes along for the ride but a direct relationship with a certain level is not always obvious (hence there are no guidelines for "DKA BGs" out there).

It's the absence of insulin in the blood stream that does it, causing excessive ketosis leading to a change in the blood chemistry. Yes, your blood sugar will likely be skyrocketing and given a certain amount of time it would likely be clearly in DKA territory. But you can become quickly severely insulin deficient, your blood sugars just rising up through the major highs, but ketosis already occuring at an alarming and traumatic rate to the body.

Hence the time I almost lost consciousness I was just around 420. I have pushed upward of that quite a lot of times over the years, but never really had DKA encroaching, felt quite stable and safe - because I likely had enough residue insulin in my system (whether from a long acting shot, or even internal earlier on, I don't know) to avoid a climate of insulin absence.

I would hazard a guess, and that is all it is, that the OP may well have forgotten their basal shot in the period leading up to this. It sounds like control was bit of a mess at the time anyway. Alternatively, occasionally, I find a basal shot can be pretty much ineffective, but I and most people would likely catch it if testing regularly through the day.
20 years T1. NPH and Novorapid.
Some essentials for my blood sugar control: dosing via i:c ratio and cf • basal testing when needed • daily 40 minutes moderate exercise (or close) • carbs somewhere below 120g currently • only eating carbs and carb/fat combos that do not cause a problem spike, with or without insulin.

#17
Freckles111

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Mr.Freckles111,

Do not take this lightly as this could be dangerous to your health. Consult your doctor first if one is not helping then get second opinion

If you do not mind, and have some time before you go to your doctor - can you tell me if you have any other medical conditions and if you are taking any other medicines apart from diabetes.

What do you take for diabetes?

Did you check your heart rate when you fainted?

Can you tell me your blood pressure and heart rate in lying down, sitting up and standing position - each taken within 3 minute interval.

Do you feel early satiety after eating? or Do you have nausea / diarrhea frequently?

Do you feel palpitations / racing of your heart?

Does your hands or feets feel numb or tingling?

Too many questions .. I guess.. your endocrinologists must have had this type of round with you.. sorry but I need to know the answers before I can say anything.


Hi,
It's Ms. Freckles, actually ;)

This incident happened about 11 years ago when I was diabetic for about 4 years (I was 22 years old at that time). It has not happened again. At that time I was on injections, but don't remember if I was on Lantus & Humalog already or not. Right now I'm on the insulin pump and using Humalog.

I did not check my heart rate when I passed out. My blood pressure, whenever I check it at the doctor's or occasionally at home is normal. I've never really had too many issues with it, although I think once or twice it has been a bit high or a bit low - but these were isolated incidents and I don't remember the circumstances of these.

I don't think I feel early satiety after eating, although I am often nauseous. I have been to GI doctors many times, have had 2 endoscopies, ultrasounds, the stomach-emptying test -all were good.

My feet feel tingling sometimes, but not too often. No numbness.

No palpitations.

Don't really have any other medical conditions.hmmmm... I was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma shortly after diabetes but that hasn't bothered me in years. I have had one strange illness where I felt like my something was tied around my stomach and I couldn't breathe - I went to the ER a couple of times but they never figured out what it was - they ruled out an asthma attack though. It did get better though when I stopped using artificial sweeteners (after reading an article about people having the same unexplained symptoms from using them ) -and this hasn't returned. This was maybe about 8 years ago?

I do have dysmenorrhea, and at some point I had a heart murmur. Other than that I don't think I have had any other conditions...

So what's the diagnosis? :)

#18
Diabetes India

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and at some point I had a heart murmur. Other than that I don't think I have had any other conditions...

So what's the diagnosis? :)


My mistake...10-12 years ago.... hmm.

Heart murmur at some point ?? strange...I know transient heart murmurs which goes only in few conditions like pregnancy, hypervolumia (excessive fluid in body), physiological, in sepsis with fever and shock rarely though.

So either you had one of these or still has a heart murmur. Other thing.. if these symptoms would have had from yesterday ... this related to the autonomic neuropathy in diabetes... a very common but rarely discussed complication of diabetes and good news is you does not seem to have it.

Thanks.

#19
CarrieJett

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Hey freckles! I have totally had this night passing out thing before. I wake up, feel terribly nauseated, then when I walk to the bathroom I pass out. It happened to me before I was diabetic too. I used to relate it to eating onions, which don't agree with me, and often when it happened I had eaten onions at dinner and tasted them when I fell down. I don't think that's it. But it does tend to happen when I sleep on a full stomach, which makes me think it has to do with my blood rushing to digestion, then when I get up I have a blood pressure drop. I don't really know. It happens maybe once per year.
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occasional triathlete

#20
Freckles111

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I would hazard a guess, and that is all it is, that the OP may well have forgotten their basal shot in the period leading up to this. It sounds like control was bit of a mess at the time anyway. Alternatively, occasionally, I find a basal shot can be pretty much ineffective, but I and most people would likely catch it if testing regularly through the day.


Nope - did not forget my basal shot. It's true my diabetes wasn't well controlled but since diagnosis I have never forgotten to take shots, although a long time ago I did once take Regular instead of NPH ;) - I stayed up all night and ate carbs and I was fine ;) I noticed it right away and called my doctor; took my NPH; and then had to keep my sugar from dropping. I made a friend stay on the phone with me all night so I don't fall asleep :)




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