I checked my blood sugar in front of a coworker a few weeks ago after an especially heavy meal. The number 265mg/dL glowed from the screen, and her eyes locked on it. A concerned look fell over her face.
“That’s pretty high, right?” she asked
“Yes it is, that was a lot of food,” I replied. “I’ll bolus more now to bring it down.”
“Oh ok. That makes me worry when it’s that high” she said, still concerned.
“It doesn’t make me worry,” I said with a smile. “265 I can handle. It’s up in the 300s that I start to get a little worried.”
She smiled and said ok, but it got me thinking: What does actually get me worried?
We all have different thresholds of highs and lows that cause concern or anxiety. Some folks are perfectly fine at 75mg/dL, while for others that’s a panic-inducing number. Likewise, if I’m in the upper 200s, especially post-meal, I might be annoyed, but probably not worried. It takes rapidly-rising numbers in the high 300s before I start to freak out a little bit. And our personal thresholds are a completely separate entity from what everyone else THINKS the number should be. That, as we all know, is one of the great annoyances of living with Type 1 – people think we’re actually between 80 and 120 all the time, just like the guidebooks say (side note: HA! 80-120? I’d love to be in that range all the time). When we’re not, they panic or assume we’re doing something wrong.
High and low ranges are extremely personal for everyone. As I mentioned, I don’t hit the panic button until I get into the high 300s. Even then, if I know the high can be easily explained, I don’t freak out that much. I know I can bolus and get it down. It’s only when I have a high due to a malfunction or another mystery that I tend to worry. And when I get low, something about being in the 40s really gets my panic mode going. 50 is ok, but 49 makes an alarm go off in my head that says “SUGAR NOW YOU ARE REALLY FREAKING LOW.” But just because those are the numbers that set me off doesn’t mean other people have similar panic points.
What are your freak out numbers? Do the people in your life know these thresholds, or do most get concerned outside of the 80-120mg/dL range?