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Know Before The Low: program for type 1 diabetes aims to reduce low blood sugar emergencies

Initiative aims to help diabetics better manage condition
Initiative aims to help diabetics better manage condition

You’d never know by watching her perform, but singer/songwriter Crystal Bowersox has been living with type 1 diabetes since she was six.

“It’s a daily balancing act between food and insulin and exercise and stress,” Bowersox said.

Sometimes no matter how hard she tries, she said her blood sugar will still get low.

“So a mild low blood sugar is something I can treat myself, I can do to my fridge get some juice, and I’ll be okay,” Bowersox said

But a low blood sugar emergency is a different story.

“When I need my support network to step in and help me if I’m unable to help myself,” she said.

That’s what her national campaign ‘know before the low’ is all about. She teamed up with endocrinologist Dr. Gregory Dodell to remind those with diabetes to be prepared for an emergency.

“Symptoms can be sweating confusion irritability, those are the more mild to moderate symptoms,” Dr. Dodell said.

But with severely low blood sugar can come fainting and seizures.

“Be aware of this. Have a plan in place. Have a prescription like a Glucagon Medication that’s around and available in those severe settings where the person’s unable to help themselves,” Dodell said.

Bowersox said she can usually tell when her sugar is low but she still wears a continuous glucose monitor.

“I don’t want to be naive and think I’m always going to know when it’s going low,” Bowersox said.

According to the program’s website, knowbeforethelow.com, here’s what everyone needs to do:

  • Be sure those closest to you know how to help you in an emergency.
  • During a very low blood sugar emergency, someone will need to administer a prescription rescue treatment and call 911, as symptoms will leave a person impaired or unable to treat themselves.
  • Work with your diabetes healthcare team to prepare for low blood sugar and figure out a rescue plan for very low blood sugar emergencies that works for you and your support network.
  • People with diabetes rely on their support network and others during a very low blood sugar emergency so it’s important to empower them on how to help when you need it. Consider your lifestyle and routines to determine who may be able to help in the event of an emergency.