At What Blood Sugar Level Should I Go To The Hospital
According to the University of Michigan, blood sugar levels of 300 mg/dL or more can be dangerous. They recommend calling a doctor if you have two readings in a row of 300 or more. Call your doctor if youre worried about any symptoms of high blood sugar.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia tends to present as a cluster of symptoms, and they often occur together. The most common signs of dangerously low blood sugar include:
Dizziness, disorientation, light-headedness, and an inability to think clearly
Hunger, especially if youve just eaten
Heightened irritability, confusion, and anxiety
Clamminess and sweating, with cold hands and feet
Drastic mood swings
If you have one or more of these symptoms contact your doctor.
What Extreme Conditions Can Occur If Hypoglycemia Is Left Untreated
Although severe episodes which can trigger potentially life-threatening comas are rare, they require immediate emergency room care, so its best to make sure you are tracking your blood sugar so that you never have to worry about getting to that point. A drop in blood sugar means less fuel for your brain, so its critical for your body to receive enough glucose. Hypoglycemia that leads to extended, reduced brain function is the biggest concern, as this can lead to seizures and loss of basic bodily functions controlled by the brain, which can ultimately lead to death, explains Dr. Dyer.
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How Do People Die From Diabetes
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Q.How do people die from diabetes?
A. People who have diabetes cannot regulate their blood sugar levels and if the disease isnt tightly controlled, blood sugar can spike to abnormally high levels, a condition called hyperglycemia, or dip below normal, a condition called hypoglycemia. Both conditions are potentially life-threatening and can lead to coma and death if not promptly treated.
But complications resulting from the disease are a more common cause of death. Heart disease strikes people with diabetes at significantly higher rates than people without diabetes, and we dont fully know why, said Dr. Robert Gabbay, chief medical officer at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. People with diabetes develop heart disease at younger ages and are nearly twice as likely to die of heart attack or stroke as people who do not have diabetes.
People with Type 2 diabetes, which is the more common form of the disease, are more likely to have elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity, Dr. Gabbay said, all risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The good news, he said, is that a lot of treatments, like those for lowering cholesterol, are even more effective at lowering risk in people with diabetes than in people without. Some new classes of diabetes medications used for Type 2 diabetes have also been shown to reduce cardiovascular risk, he said.
People with Type 1 diabetes are also at increased risk for heart disease, though the reasons are less clear.
Damaged Organs Over Time
Another way diabetes can lead to death is by damage done to organs and tissues in the body over a long period of time. For example, the blood vessels in the kidneys can be damaged by high blood sugar, says Dr. Mcclaina complication that can lead to kidney failure and require dialysis.
This same type of organ and blood-vessel damage can also lead to blindness and to amputation of feet or legs, he adds, which can reduce quality of life and raise the risk of infection, injuries, or additional illnesses. We know that keeping blood sugar under control, for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of these complications, says Dr. Mcclain.
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Why Am I Having Lows
If you are experiencing low blood sugar and youre not sure why, bring a record of blood sugar, insulin, exercise and food data to a health care provider. Together, you can review all your data to figure out the cause of the lows.
The more information you can give your health care provider, the better they can work with you to understand what’s causing the lows. Your provider may be able to help prevent low blood sugar by adjusting the timing of insulin dosing, exercise and meals or snacks. Changing insulin doses or the types of food you eat may also do the trick.
Symptoms Of A Low Blood Sugar Level
A low blood sugar level can affect everyone differently. You’ll learn how it makes you feel, although your symptoms may change over time.
Early signs of a low blood sugar level include:
- a fast or pounding heartbeat
- becoming easily irritated, tearful, anxious or moody
- turning pale
If a low blood sugar level is not treated, you may get other symptoms, such as:
- unusual behaviour, slurred speech or clumsiness
- feeling sleepy
- seizures or fits
- collapsing or passing out
A low blood sugar level, or hypo, can also happen while you’re sleeping. This may cause you to wake up during the night or cause headaches, tiredness or damp sheets in the morning.
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Talk To Your Doctor Or Nurse
If you use insulin and your blood sugar is frequently or consistently low, ask your doctor or nurse if you:
- Are injecting your insulin the right way
- Need a different type of needle
- Should change how much insulin you take
- Should change the kind of insulin you take
DO NOT make any changes without talking to your doctor or nurse first.
Sometimes hypoglycemia can be due to taking the wrong medicines. Check your medicines with your pharmacist.
What If I Have Severe Low Blood Glucose And Cant Treat Myself
Glucagona hormone that raises blood glucose levelsis the best way to treat severely low blood glucose. Available as an injection or a nasal spray, glucagon will quickly raise your blood glucose level. Your doctor can prescribe you a glucagon kit for use in case of an emergency.
If your blood glucose level drops very low, you wont be able to treat it by yourself. Be prepared to address severely low blood glucose by
- talking with your doctor or health care team about when and how to use a glucagon emergency kit. If you have an emergency kit, regularly check the date on the package to make sure it hasnt expired.
- teaching your family, friends, and coworkers when and how to give you glucagon. Tell them to call 911 right away after giving you glucagon or if you dont have a glucagon emergency kit with you.
- wearing a medical alert identification bracelet or pendant. A medical alert ID tells other people that you have diabetes and need care right away. Getting prompt care can help prevent the serious problems that low blood glucose levels can cause.
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High Blood Glucose: Hyperglycemia
Hyperglycemia means that you have too much blood glucose. It happens when your blood glucose level is around 200 mg/dL or higher. Hyperglycemia can happen if you miss taking your diabetes medications, eat too much or do not get enough exercise. Sometimes, the medications you take for other problems cause high blood glucose.
Symptoms of hyperglycemia include:
- Having blurry vision
- Having to urinate often
If you have these symptoms, check your blood glucose right away. If its too high, follow these steps:
- Check your blood glucose every four hours. If your level does not go down after two checks or your symptoms get worse, call a member of your diabetes team.
- Drink water or other sugar-free liquids, such as diet soda or Crystal Light.
- You may need to take an extra dose of insulin. Your diabetes educator talks with you more about this.
Within Three Years Of Dangerously Low Blood Sugar Episode Requiring Emergency Department Visit One
A single instance of blood sugar falling so low as to require an emergency department visit was associated with nearly double the risk of cardiovascular disease or death, finds a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study of older adults with type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, using data from a large longitudinal study, the researchers found that one third of the older adults with diabetes who had experienced a severe low blood sugar episode died within three years of the incident. In analyzing their data, the researchers controlled for such variables as how severe a persons diabetes was and how long it had been since diagnosis.
The researchers say that their findings suggest that doctors might want to pay special attention to patients who have been sent to the emergency department for hypoglycemia after losing consciousness, having a seizure or experiencing another serious health event. The findings will be presented March 10 at the American Heart Associations EPI|LIFESTYLE 2017 Scientific Sessions in Portland, Oregon.
If you have a patient with a history of severe hypoglycemia, this could portend poorly for his or her future, says Alexandra K. Lee, MSPH, a PhD candidate in epidemiology at the Bloomberg School. Our thinking has been that you resolve a hypoglycemic episode and its over. But what this tells us is that one episode may have long-lasting consequences.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
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How Is Hypoglycemia Diagnosed
The only way to know if you have hypoglycemia is to check your blood sugar with a blood glucose meter. Its a small machine that measures blood sugar. Most of these devices use a tiny prick of the finger to take a small amount of blood.
People with hypoglycemia unawareness may need a continuous glucose monitor. These wearable devices measure glucose every few minutes, day and night. An alarm sounds if blood sugar drops too low.
Can Low Blood Sugar Wake You Up At Night
What are the signs of hypoglycemia? An individual may frequently wake up in the middle of the night as a result of nighttime hypoglycemia. In other instances, though, people may know if they experienced hypoglycemia during their sleep if they notice the following symptoms: Waking up with a headache.
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Who Is Most At Risk For Hypoglycemia
Aside from people with diabetes, Dr. Jennifer Shine Dyer notes that children are more prone toexperience episodes of hypoglycemia because of their smaller body size, as well as having less fat to burn to maintain energy when glucose levels are low. Eating meals every 4 to 6 hours should maintain glucose levels if this is the only cause of hypoglycemia, she says.
Severe Low Blood Sugar
As your low blood sugar gets worse, you may experience more serious symptoms, including:
- Feeling weak.
- Having difficulty walking or seeing clearly.
- Acting strange or feeling confused.
- Having seizures.
Severe low blood sugar is below 54 mg/dL. Blood sugar this low may make you faint . Often, youll need someone to help you treat severe low blood sugar.
People with diabetes may experience low blood sugar as often as once or twice a week, even when managing their blood sugar closely. Knowing how to identify and treat it is important for your health. Learn how to treat low blood sugar.
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What Is Hypoglycemia In Children
Hypoglycemia is when the level of sugar in the blood is too low. Glucose is the main source of fuel for the brain and the body. The normal range of blood glucose is about 70 to 140 milligrams per deciliter . The amount differs based on the most recent meal and other things, including medicines taken. Babies and small children with type 1 diabetes will have different goal ranges of blood glucose levels than older children.
What Are Clinical Trials For Low Blood Glucose
Clinical trialsand other types of clinical studiesare part of medical research and involve people like you. When you volunteer to take part in a clinical study, you help doctors and researchers learn more about disease and improve health care for people in the future.
Researchers are studying many aspects of low blood glucose levels in diabetes, such as
- how to diagnose and treat low blood glucose among people with diabetes
- medicines that can treat symptoms of low blood glucose in people with hypoglycemia unawareness
- educational approaches to reduce fear of low blood glucose, which can make it harder for you to control your diabetes
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When You Have Low Blood Sugar
First, eat or drink 15 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate, such as:
- Three to four glucose tablets
- One tube of glucose gel
- Four to six pieces of hard candy
- 1/2 cup fruit juice
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1/2 cup soft drink
- 1 tablespoon honey
Fifteen minutes after you’ve eaten a food with sugar in it, check your blood sugar again. If your blood sugar is still less than 70 mg/dL, eat another serving of one of the foods listed above. Repeat these steps until your sugar becomes normal.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia
Symptoms of hypoglycemia can start quickly, with people experiencing them in different ways. The signs of hypoglycemia are unpleasant. But they provide good warnings that you should take action before blood sugar drops more. The signs include:
- Shaking or trembling.
- Tingling or numbness in the face or mouth.
During a severe hypoglycemic event, a person may:
- Be unable to eat or drink.
- Have a seizure or convulsions .
- Lose consciousness.
- Slip into a coma or die .
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What Causes A Low Blood Sugar Level
In people with diabetes, the main causes of a low blood sugar level are:
- the effects of medicine especially taking too much insulin, medicines called sulfonylureas , medicines called glinides , or some antiviral medicines to treat hepatitis C
- skipping or delaying a meal
- not eating enough carbohydrate foods in your last meal, such as bread, cereals, pasta, potatoes and fruit
- exercise, especially if it’s intense or unplanned
- drinking alcohol
Sometimes there’s no obvious reason why a low blood sugar level happens.
Very occasionally, it can happen in people who do not have diabetes.
Exercise Food And Alcohol
For people with type 1 diabetes, maintaining the correct blood glucose level involves balancing how much insulin you inject, the amount of food you eat, and how much energy you burn during exercise.
Hypoglycaemia may occur if you’ve taken your dose of insulin as usual, but your carbohydrate intake is lower than normal or has been used up more quickly. This may happen if you delay or miss a meal or snack, don’t eat enough carbohydrate, or exercise more than usual.
People with diabetes who’ve drunk too much alcohol, or drank alcohol on an empty stomach, can also get hypoglycaemia.
However, it’s not always possible to identify why a particular episode of hypoglycaemia has occurred, and sometimes it happens for no obvious reason.
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How To Prevent Nocturnal Hypoglycemia
Start by talking to your doctor about a bedtime blood sugar target. Ask about your risk for hypoglycemia and if you should get a glucagon kit. Dont miss dinner, exercise before bedtime, or drink alcohol at night. Have a sugar and protein snack before bedtime, like a wheat cracker with cheese.
If you have had symptoms of nocturnal hypoglycemia, work with your doctor on a prevention plan. This may include switching to a longer acting insulin that does not peak during sleep, or changing your insulin dose. You might be asked to set an alarm and check your blood sugar in the early morning for a while. For people at high risk for nocturnal hypoglycemia, a continuous glucose monitor may be the best solution. A CGM can check your blood sugar every 5 minutes and can set off an alarm if your sugar gets too high or too low.
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Low Blood Sugar At Night Is A Common Danger For People With Diabetes It Is Important For Both You And Your Sleep Partner To Know The Warning Signs And Have A Plan For Treatment
Untreated hypoglycemia can lead to a seizure and be life-threatening.
You know it is important to have tight control of you blood sugar with diabetes. Tight control is how you prevent diabetes complications. One of the dangers of tight control is letting your blood sugar get too low, called hypoglycemia.
The most dangerous time for hypoglycemia is when you are sleeping, a condition called nocturnal hypoglycemia. Up to 50 percent of diabetics may have episodes of nocturnal hypoglycemia. In fact, almost 50 percent of hypoglycemic episodes occur at night and more than half of dangerous episodes occur at night.
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How Can I Prevent Hypoglycemic Episodes
The key to preventing hypoglycemic events is managing diabetes:
- Follow your healthcare providers instructions about food and exercise.
- Track your blood sugar regularly, including before and after meals, before and after exercise and before bed.
- Take all your medications exactly as prescribed.
- When you do have a hypoglycemic event, write it down. Include details such as the time, what you ate recently, whether you exercised, the symptoms and your glucose level.
Your Hypoglycemia Action Plan
If you experience symptoms of hypoglycemia, its important to take action. Start with these steps:
Test your blood sugar. If you recognize any of these symptoms and believe your blood sugar may be too low, the first step you should take is to test your blood sugar with your glucose meter, Tan says. Anything less than 70 milligrams per deciliter is considered low blood sugar, according to the National Library of Medicine . However, target levels are often individualized, so talk with your healthcare provider about your optimal numbers, Tan adds.
Eat or drink fast-acting carbs. If you have low blood sugar, you need to take action right away. Your best bet is to consume about 15 grams of carbohydrates, the NLM says. Some options include:
- ½ cup or 4 ounces of orange juice
- ½ cup or 4 ounces of regular soda
- 1 tablespoon of sugar dissolved in water
- 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup
- 5 or 6 hard candies, jelly beans, or gumdrops
- 1 tablespoon of cake frosting
- 2 tablespoons of raisins
- ½ cup of applesauce
You can also take three to four glucose tablets or a tube of glucose gel. Everyone who takes medications for diabetes should always have glucose tablets with them, Galindo urges.
Wait, then retest. The next step is to wait 15 minutes, then test your blood sugar again. If blood sugar has reached 100 mg/dl or greater, youre fine. If not…
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