Hypo Hangovers

I feel so hungover today, and I didn’t even drink anything. Let me explain.

I’m experiencing a “hypo hangover,” or hangover symptoms from a severely low blood sugar. Has that ever happened to you?

I woke up with a bit of a headache, but that happens sometimes when I sleep too hard. And I was a little tired and sluggish, just figured I needed my morning coffee. But then throughout my day, the headache got worse, I felt nauseous and had a lot of aches and stiffness in my shoulders and upper body. Legit, guys. I thought it might be the ‘Rona for a minute. Then I remembered my really low blood sugar I had while sleeping last night.

It was one of those drench your sheets, can’t move but can’t sit still, eat the snacks until you feel better kind of lows. Ugh. Before that, I went to bed, BG cruising at 147 on my Dexcom, and had had a reasonable dinner of grilled chicken, BBQ sauce, an apple and bit of Nutella. As one does. Gave an appropriate amount of insulin and knew I could rely on my Tslim Control IQ to keep me safe if I was off a little bit. Honestly, I have no idea what happened. Looking back, I still can’t figure it out. But, that just happens sometimes. Such is the life with diabetes, as you probably know if you have read this far and are still interested in my hypo hangover woes.

So this low blood sugar: Usually I wake up to the feeling of a low blood sugar. Or the beeping of my dexcom. Or the buzzing of the dexcom on my insulin pump. But no, not tonight. I was sleeping so well, and I feel like I remember dreaming about being low.. maybe.. Then I woke up to Connor above me, asking if I was okay. He was in the living room getting Dexcom notifications that I was 40, and I immediately replied with “yeah, I’m just low.” Instantly devoured fruit snacks and juice box, then demanded something snacky and pretzel-y, I believe those were my exact words. (Bless my husband). Thankfully we had a bag of Chex mix which I proceeded to eat out of desperation. Almost like you have to keep eating the snacks to let your body know that you’re okay that you can keep eating.

Yeah. It was a bad low. So now let’s talk about hypo hangovers. Is that even a thing? You can bet your bottom dollar it is. Now, none of my sources are scientifically based or peer reviewed, but when I experience it, and I read tons of people online experiencing the same thing, it’s real alright. I feel that this is true in the diabetes world where we as the diabetics, know so much more than health care providers some times because we live it. Every. Single. Day.

Today, I just feel exhausted. Exhausted, sluggish, sore, headache and just blah. Reading online, lots of diabetics feel this way after an extreme low blood sugar, especially over night. Some people even throw up hours later. What I’m wondering, is if it’s from the actual low, or if it’s from the rebound high? Usually with this type of low, you correct aggressively, then go back to bed with gratitude to not feel like you’re dying anymore, and end up with hours of high blood sugars. Or maybe that’s just me..

I feel crummy for hours and hours after a prolonged high blood sugar for sure. But this low didn’t have hours of rebound highs. I spiked to 250 for a hot second, but after I came up, I bolused for my chex mix (and eh-hem oreos) and whatnot, and woke up at a cool 100. (No clue how I nailed that one).

So I really think it’s from the low blood sugar itself.

When your body experiences an extreme low blood sugar, it tries to counter regulate. Your pancreas can release glucagon to signal your liver to dump glucose and as a last ditch effort it will release epinepherine and corticosteroids to try to bring your sugar up.

That’s a lot for the body to go through!

I mean, if you think about it, glucose is fuel for your brain, so if your brain doesn’t have enough fuel, I can see how it would be pretty exhausted for a while.

And have you ever taken a glucagon injection before? That does NOT feel good afterwards. So gross and vomity from the glucose dump (at least in my experience).

And while I didn’t find any scientific articles entitled “How low blood sugar hangovers make you feel like poo,” I did find some articles online that help explain what actually happens in your body with a low blood sugar. You can read some sciency stuff about how hypoglycemia works here. And also here (if you want bigger more technical words).

My best advice for a hypo hangover? Rest and nap if you can. Hydrate aggressively and work towards having stable blood sugars the next day. Otherwise, you just gotta get through it. And yoga is always good.

I’d love to hear if you think hypo hangovers are a thing, or have experienced anything similar. Drop me a comment on here or on my Instagram page @havepumpwilltravel.

And hmm, maybe I should change the name of this article from “Hypo hangovers” to “How low blood sugar hangovers make you feel like poo.”

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