Residing with kind 1 diabetes (T1D) requires you to assume forward and be ready for every type of conditions, together with hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). For those who’re like most individuals with diabetes, you’ve got a glucagon equipment or two available simply in case your blood glucose goes critically low.
For those who haven’t used glucagon earlier than, the considered doing so would possibly make you nervous or anxious. You would possibly even really feel proud that you simply’ve managed to not want it this far. Whereas utilizing emergency glucagon will be scary given the circumstances, it’s not one thing to be ashamed of.
Made by the alpha cells within the pancreas, glucagon is a hormone that tells the liver to launch sugar into your blood to keep away from hypoglycemia. Nonetheless, this preventative perform doesn’t work accurately when you’ve got T1D.
There are a number of kinds of glucagon obtainable, which embrace:
Gvoke, which comes as a hypopen or pre-filled syringe (PFS)
Baqsimi, which is a nasal spray
Zegalogue, which is an auto-injection pen or PFS
It’s additionally vital to know that you don’t want to be unconscious to make use of glucagon. Different occasions when it is likely to be acceptable embrace:
For those who can’t eat or drink as a result of a abdomen virus, nausea, and so on
For those who unintentionally give an excessive amount of insulin
In case your blood sugar continues to drop regardless that you ate a considerable amount of meals
All through your life with diabetes, you would possibly even want glucagon greater than as soon as. That’s been the case for Linda Reiter, who has had T1D for almost 65 years.
Linda’s glucagon expertise
As a baby, Linda usually had in a single day lows, which required glucagon to deal with. With the assistance of her steady glucose monitor (CGM), in a single day lows have decreased, however she nonetheless often wants glucagon.
“There are occasions when both I’ve sunk too low and might’t do something for myself, or I do know it’s heading down actual shortly, and I do know I’ve gotta do this Gvoke pen. They’ve been lifesavers for me,” she stated.
Reiter has tried quite a lot of glucagon merchandise however prefers Gvoke as she tolerates it finest. She says after taking glucagon, it usually takes about half-hour earlier than she will be able to rise up and stroll round and about an hour earlier than she is ready to return to work, clear, or do different chores. She shared that after taking glucagon, she tends to really feel sluggish and thirsty and develops a headache, although she doesn’t usually really feel dangerous sufficient that it impacts her means to get work performed.
Elyse’s glucagon expertise
Elyse Vandersteen has wanted glucagon two occasions since being identified 18 years in the past. She was aware in each conditions however was not in a position to get her blood glucose up. The primary time, she ate for an hour earlier than getting sick due to how a lot she had eaten. She then known as the endocrinology helpline at her clinic, which instructed her to refill a syringe with 50 models of glucagon. She didn’t have to take the entire glucose within the PFS as a result of she was nonetheless aware.
The opposite episode was brought on by unintentionally taking 20 models of insulin as a substitute of coming into 20 grams of carbohydrates into her pump.
Vandersteen stated she skilled a variety of feelings after taking glucagon, from disgrace to reduction.
“The principle factor was feeling actually relieved,” Vandersteen stated. However the different half was scared nervousness due to how costly [glucagon is]. I used to be simply irritated at myself for ‘letting it occur’ when clearly it’s out of our management. We are able to’t management how our physique goes to react, if it was like the correct quantity [of insulin given],” she continued.
Vandersteen additional defined that the second time she wanted to take glucagon, she had simply gotten her personal insurance coverage plan and wasn’t positive if she may afford the remedy. She used the leftover glucagon from the primary time she wanted it to keep away from paying for an additional prescription.
“It resulted in me having to make not as good of a call simply due to funds,” she stated.
Ginger’s glucagon expertise
After she began taking a GLP-1 remedy, Ginger Vieira’s insulin necessities modified. She had been taking the drugs for a few month when she ate ice cream and bolused for it like she would have prior to now.
“I forgot all about my new insulin routine. And I simply went again to what I’ve been doing for, , 25 years, and I took manner an excessive amount of for it. I ate in all probability a half pint of Ben and Jerry’s earlier than mattress,” she shared.
“Round midnight, I awakened and the room was spinning. And it was similar to a low, low. I’ve been within the 40s. I’ve been within the 30s and it was nothing like this. It simply was approaching so exhausting and so quick. And I ended up going downstairs and I used to be utterly purposeful. However I simply felt so horrible that the one manner I used to be going to really feel protected going again to mattress is that if I had glucagon in my system, and I knew that the glucagon was going to guard me,” she continued.
Even with the glucagon in her system, she was scared sufficient that she additionally ate a giant bowl of cereal. She stayed awake for an additional hour to verify her blood glucose was going up. Finally, she was in a position to cease panicking and go to sleep, however stated it was comforting to know she had Gvoke on board.
Don’t really feel ashamed for utilizing glucagon
Utilizing glucagon can carry on quite a lot of feelings. Sadly, a typical one is disgrace, probably since you really feel partly accountable for your blood glucose going low. However like Vandersteen stated, you may’t management how our our bodies reply to issues like train, insulin or hormones. Glucagon is simply one other instrument so as to add to your assortment.
Ask your physician for a prescription
For those who don’t at the moment have glucagon or it’s expired, discuss to your physician about getting a prescription. Word that there are copay playing cards for individuals on insurance coverage and affected person assistant packages for many who do not have insurance coverage so as to get emergency glucagon.
Nonetheless, when you do have insurance coverage, however your organization denies protection, right here’s what to do:
Perceive your rights
Examine the formulary
Request an exception if it’s not lined underneath your plan
File an enchantment
There’s little doubt that dwelling with T1D is difficult. Consider glucagon as a life-saving instrument that can assist you while you want it most. There’s nothing flawed with utilizing this remedy when you want it; keep in mind, it’s not your fault in case your blood glucose goes extraordinarily low. For those who don’t have glucagon available, be certain to ask your physician for a prescription and use the assets obtainable when you need assistance getting it!
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