The 12 Different Types of Highs

In Laura Kronen’s new book, Too Sweet, the not-so-serious side to diabetes, she comes to terms with a Type 1 diagnosis while keeping a sense of humor. In this excerpt, she runs down 10 common experiences that people with Type 1 diabetes might recognize in their own lives.

Just as there are many types of lows, there are endless breeds of highs, as well. So many external factors can adversely affect your efforts to control your blood sugar levels, including stress, hormonal changes, periods of growth, physical activity, medications, illness, and fatigue. It’s truly amazing when you get a normal reading!

See how many of these highs you have experienced:

1. The Didn’t-Shoot-Up-High-Enough High: This one is completely your fault. You ate too much and didn’t take the right amount of medicine to cover it. It often happens when you dine out at a restaurant or go to a party. You never know what ingredients have been used and how much of them were in what you ate. This is also fondly known as “The Crapshoot High”.

2. The Ate-Too-Many-Carbs High: This is kind of your fault again. You overindulged—ate too much pasta, too much bread, or too many sweets. It happens to the best of us! Don’t beat yourself up.

3. The-Too-Much-Adrenaline High: Adrenaline helps to increase courage and overcome fears, but it also raises blood sugar in the blink of an eye. If you have ever played a physically competitive sport, had a huge presentation at work, ridden a really scary roller coaster, or gotten into a car accident, then you know all about the Too-Much-Adrenaline High. Any activity that produces excitement, fear or danger can escalate your blood sugar, and quickly!

4. The Shot-in-the-Dark High: You woke in the middle of the night to check your blood, found it to be high, and groggily corrected for it in the darkness of the room. Only problem is, after the shot, you can’t say for sure if you took the cap off of your needle or not. You wake up two hours later with an even higher number.

5. The Stress-Induced High: If you have ever been super-angry, the kind of angry that is accompanied by steam coming out of your ears, or if you have just had one of those days in which everything is driving you nuts, then you have experienced the Stress-Induced High. In comparison with the other highs, this one is the most exasperating, because your high resulted from being pissed off, not from eating something decadent. When my blood sugar is low, my children want to know if they should get me angry so it goes back up again. It’s a valid thought, but I have yet to allow them that indulgence.

6. The Sick-as-a-Dog-with-the-Flu High: You can’t eat, you are throwing up, and you are practically begging someone to put you out of your misery. The cherry on top is that your blood glucose is out of control. You might even have ketones in your pee (in which case call your doctor immediately). The only thing that could possibly make it worse is all of those bolus corrections you are taking end up resulting in a low, and you now have to eat something to bring it back up. Then you throw up again, and the cycle continues. I shudder just thinking about it.

7. The No-Good-Reason High: No explanation. No excuse. No motive. No logic behind it. It just makes no sense whatsoever. This is also known as the “Twilight Zone” High (cue the theme song).

Too_Sweet_Front_Cover_300px8. The Premenstrual High (for women): You still get bloated, acne, fatigue, food cravings, mood swings, and irritability, but that’s not all! You are also the recipient of sky-high blood sugar readings as well. It never fails; three days before you start your period your numbers start creeping up. it can even catapult to the three-hundred or four-hundred range, which can leave you very cranky. It’s best to avoid loved ones for seventy-two hours.

9. The Good Morning High: You wake up to check your blood at 4 am and score a sublime 105, only to get out of bed at 7 am with a 245. That’s called the dawn phenomenon. It sounds poetic, but it’s just completely frustrating.

10. The Dry Eye High: Your blood sugar is high and you know it, because as you blink, your lids feel like they have sugary sandpaper on the inside. You feel as though you need some eye drops, but when you use them they don’t really help. This feeling goes away immediately when your blood sugar returns to normal.

11. The I-Just-Want-to-Take-a-Nap High: You are soooooo sleepy. You have no energy, and all you want to do is lie on the couch or crawl into bed and snooze off the high.

12. The Stripper High: Clothing is peeled off as your sugar climbs higher. How did it get so damn hot in here?

We have all experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. To really appreciate normal readings, you have to have been at both ends of the spectrum. Maybe we should consider our outrageous highs and senseless lows as recurring rites of passage.

You can purchase Too Sweet on

Laura Kronen is the author of Too Sweet: The Not-So-Serious Side to Diabetes and has lived with Type 1 diabetes for over 20 years. She is also the founder of the life-coaching organization Be You Only Better that provides motivational, entrepreneurial, health and wellness and diabetic coaching to people around the world.

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