I have strong memories of hypoglycemia anxiety from my early days of living with Type 1 diabetes. I counsel people with Type 1 diabetes, and one of the most stressful parts of diabetes for many people is the experience of being hypoglycemic.
Hypoglycemia anxiety can diminish their quality of life, and often results in an ongoing elevated blood glucose level that causes other health issues.
Anxiety becomes problematic when we overestimate the dangers that surround us, and underestimate our ability to cope.  We can reduce anxiety by developing a more realistic perception of the dangers we face, and of our ability to cope with them. I have had many patients describe feeling “low” when their blood glucose readings are actually in the normal range.  Many believe this is because they are on their way to a low and will just keep dropping. For those with high levels of anxiety, it can be helpful to develop a hierarchy (list) of fears. The nursing student starts to look at factual evidence to challenge her belief she will go low and die. If you are struggling with anxiety, or someone you care about who has diabetes is struggling with anxiety, maybe you can try some of the techniques described here. If your hypoglycaemia anxiety is so high that these ideas seem out of reach for you, then please consider accessing professional support. Michelle Sorensen is a member of the Ontario College of Psychologists and has a private practice in Clinical Psychology in Ottawa.
Having had T1D for 64 years and literally thousands of lows i was not anxious about having them. The Diabetes Media Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit media organization devoted to informing, educating, and generating community around living a healthy life with diabetes. Fasting blood glucose (FPG) – this is a test that requires you to fast for at least 8 hours. Oral glucose tolerance test – this test requires you to take a special sweetened drink two hours prior to the blood test.
Having risk factors for diabetes does not mean that you will inevitably end up with the condition, but does indicate that your chances are greater than those of the general population. Remember the good news: you can take steps to manage your blood glucose to help delay or prevent the onset of diabetes.


When I saw the giant box of nerd, I thought of all the D-moms who do the “This is Caleb” sugar shots! I am currently employed by a leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research, however any views expressed on this site continue to be solely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer. Patients in my practice with very high blood glucose levels have learned to look at the evidence and develop more balanced thoughts about the likelihood of a dangerous low. This allowed her to keep her BG levels in a normal range for longer periods of time, without giving in to the impulse to snack and boost them higher to get rid of the hypoglycemia anxiety she felt. This can be helpful when patients are becoming accustomed to a healthier range of blood glucose levels after having lived with higher readings due to the fear of hypoglycemia. For example, take some deep breaths every time you sit down to eat a meal or to catch up on email. I have met patients who have underlying worries about the long-term effects of their high blood sugar, but it just never seems like the right time to change their way of coping. Start with the most intense sources of anxiety at the top of the list and the least feared situations, events or people at the bottom.  Work your way up the list gradually, gathering evidence about your ability to confront yours fears until you are able to tackle the most intense ones on the list. Of course, all of these techniques need to be used in conjunction with support from family and health care professionals. It is a good idea to speak to your diabetes educator or endocrinologist for support and possibly referral information. My simple advice would always be avoid panic, keep packets of sugar with you always, take medicine and meals regularly, regular exercise and visit a doc monthly or quarterly.
I experienced this anxiety when first diagnosed (at 32 of T1D) partly because I had seen my mother (also T1D) have low blood sugars at a young age, when I didn’t really understand what was happening. I could have used that a few years ago ?? I really appreciate the frankness of the article, thank you! Now that i am older i get very anxious after them for an hour or so but understanding what is happening to your body helps. However, if you have a family member – mother, father, sister or brother - with type 1 diabetes, this slightly increases your risk.
Blood glucose levels can often be reduced through basic lifestyle changes such as following a healthy eating plan and starting a program of regular physical activity.


If they note that accurate carbohydrate counting and insulin dosing keeps them in safe range, coupled with testing BG regularly and carrying sources of sugar for lows, then they become more willing to gradually reduce their blood glucose levels.
You can use imagery to imagine feared events beforehand, and prepare yourself to confront them by using cognitive restructuring or relaxation methods. Unfortunately, I cannot tell her that I know for sure she is wrong.  But I can suggest we explore her underlying assumptions and figure out if this belief is very realistic. It is important to develop confidence in her ability to cope with hypoglycemia… yes, it is best to prevent lows when possible, but she can treat the lows quickly and recover from them. If you choose to see a psychologist or social worker, I recommend someone who practices CBT, which is an evidence-based clinical approach.
That pervaded into my own experience and my coping mechanism in my school life was to keep my sugars a bit higher than they should have been.
Enjoyed the article but T1D is different for each person, take the time to understand what is happening to your body, it do s help with anxiaty.
Some diseases of the pancreas and certain rare infections can inhibit the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin and can lead to type 1 diabetes. If you have any questions, please consult a health care professional before making any changes to your health care plan. This can be done in conversation with a therapist or by writing down negative thoughts and challenging the thoughts using thought records (see Mind over Mood by Christine Padesky and Dennis Greenberger for a patient’s guide to cognitive behavioral therapy).
I work on gathering evidence to develop new, more balanced beliefs with patients who are overcome with anxiety about hypoglycemia.
I have seen patients reduce their levels of anxiety and greatly improve their quality of life.  It is absolutely worth the effort. Other risk factors such as family history can’t be eliminated, but healthy lifestyle practices can help reduce some of the risk.
I don’t care about using another test strip it if means my blood sugars are better controlled!



My fasting blood sugar 6.1
Normal blood sugar levels after high carb meal delivery
Gestational hypoglycemia symptoms infants


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