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From Fort Worth, Texas, USA:

I have been a Type 1 diabetic for 27 years (since I was 10). My hemoglobin A1c is 5.7%. My blood testing average has typically been around 96 mg/dl, but many of my tests are in the 50's (some in the 40's and 30's). My doctor and I are trying to adjust this. Granted, being in the "normal range" is preferred, but this is not always possible.

So, question #1 - What side of the "normal range" is better to be on, high or low and by how much?

Through all of my readings I have found information that warns against high blood glucose levels, why, and what the complications are. I have also found information that warns against low blood glucose levels but does not explain, at least not very well, why.

So question #2 is - What are the "pros and cons" of hypoglycemia and at what level are the cons really bad (short term and long term)?


Ideally, most blood sugars will be in the normal range. As you have discovered, it is almost impossible to avoid some lows and highs, no matter how hard you try.

Although there is really no hard data to answer your question about which is worse, high or low blood sugars, in the short term low blood sugars are probably more dangerous as if unrecognized or untreated they may lead to unconsciousness and or seizure. In the short term, high blood sugars rarely lead to immediate problems unless you are also spilling ketones or are sick with a virus or infection.

In the long run, high blood sugars are probably more dangerous as they increase the chance of developing long term problems with the eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Mild low blood sugars probably do not cause any long term problems. Repeated severe low blood sugars may predispose to some brain damage, though the data is not definitive.


Original posting 9 Mar 97


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