If A Person Is Unconscious
If a person loses consciousness because of severe hypoglycaemia, they need to be put into the recovery position and given an injection of the hormone glucagon . The injection will raise their blood glucose level.
The injection should be carried out by a friend or family member who knows what they’re doing, or by a trained healthcare professional.
You should dial 999 to request an ambulance if:
- a glucagon injection kit isn’t available
- there’s nobody available who’s trained to give the injection
- the injection is ineffective after 10 minutes
Never try to put food or drink into the mouth of someone who’s unconscious as they could choke.
If you’re able to give a glucagon injection and the person regains consciousness, they should eat some longer-acting carbohydrate food, such as a few biscuits, a cereal bar or a sandwich.
You should continue to monitor the person for signs of recurring symptoms in case they need to be treated again.
Whats Considered Low Blood Sugar
Your blood sugar tends to fluctuate throughout the day. Itll be lower when you first wake up, especially if you havent eaten for the past 8 to 10 hours.
Your blood sugar will go up once you eat. Depending on when you last ate, heres whats considered to be a normal blood sugar range:
|Fasting||2 hours after a meal|
|7099 mg/dL||Less than 140 mg/dL|
Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, is when your blood sugar levels fall below 70 mg/dL.
The point at which low blood sugar symptoms become noticeable is different from one person to the next.
Some people may feel jittery, irritable, or lightheaded when their blood sugar level falls to 70 mg/dL. Other people may not feel any symptoms until well below that mark.
A quick, simple blood test can measure your blood sugar level. If you have diabetes or another medical condition that sometimes causes episodes of low blood sugar, its important to regularly check your blood sugar with a home test.
If a test shows that your blood sugar is below normal, you can take steps to adjust it quickly.
Symptoms of low blood sugar vary from person to person and can even be different from one episode to the next. You may experience specific symptoms the first time your blood sugar dips, and different symptoms the next time.
The most common mild to moderate symptoms of low blood sugar include:
- jitters or shaking
More severe symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
- inability to eat or drink
A Low Blood Sugar Level Without Diabetes
A low blood sugar level is uncommon in people who do not have diabetes.
Possible causes include:
- a gastric bypass
- other medical conditions, such as problems with your hormone levels, pancreas, liver, kidneys, adrenal glands or heart
- some medicines, including quinine
See a GP if you think you keep getting symptoms of a low blood sugar level. They can arrange some simple tests to check if your blood sugar level is low and try to find out what’s causing it.
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How Can I Prevent Low Blood Glucose
All people with diabetes:
- If you experience low blood glucose often, ask your doctor if setting a higher goal for your A1C level may be appropriate.
- Ask your doctor to look at the test results from your home blood glucose monitor. These results reveal how often you have low blood glucose and when these episodes occur. Your doctor will look for patterns to see if low glucose happens after exercise or at certain times of day, for example.
- If you’ve had low blood glucose in the past, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet so that others will know that you have diabetes in the event of an emergency.
- Keep a fast-acting carbohydrate in your bag, desk drawer, car and other places for easy access. Good options include hard candy, fruit juice or glucose paste or tablets, which can be purchased at most pharmacies.
- Ask your doctor for an emergency glucagon kit. This kit contains a fast- acting medication that can be injected in case of loss of consciousness because of low blood glucose. Keep one kit at home and one at work or school.
- Monitor your blood glucose regularly so that low levels can be corrected before symptoms progress.
Why Is Managing Blood Sugar Important
Keeping blood sugars at target levels helps people with diabetes avoid serious complications from the disease. High blood sugar can cause many ill effects, which can be sudden, such as acid buildup in the bloodstream, or occur gradually over time.
Over time, keeping blood sugar at unhealthful levels can damage small and large blood vessels in several organs and systems, leading to serious consequences, such as:
- vision impairment and blindness
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Choose Low Glycemic Index Foods
The glycemic index measures and ranks various foods by how much they cause blood sugar levels to rise. Research shows that following a low glycemic index diet decreases fasting blood sugar levels.
Low glycemic index foods are those that score below 55 on the glycemic index. Examples of low glycemic foods include:
- sweet potatoes
If You Dont Have Diabetes
Your blood sugar can fall if you wait too long to eat, such as if youâre fasting. It can also happen about 4 hours after a meal. This is reactive hypoglycemia. Or you might have symptoms similar to hypoglycemia if you have postprandial syndrome. This syndrome happens if you eat a lot of simple carbs and your body releases too much insulin to deal with it.
Use these tips to avoid having your blood sugar drop too low from either cause:
Eat small meals and snacks spread throughout the day. Aim for every 3-4 hours.
Stick with healthy eating habits. This should include a variety of fruits, vegetables, and sources of lean protein. The fiber in plant foods, along with lean protein, will give you lasting energy and wonât crash your blood sugar. If you plan to eat or drink something sweet, do so as part of a balanced meal.
Limit caffeine. Its effects can mimic hypoglycemia symptoms.
Limit or avoid alcohol. Alcohol can cause hypoglycemia, especially if you have a drink without eating something. If you drink, keep it moderate: no more than one serving a day for women or two for men. A serving is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor. And donât drink on an empty stomach.
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How To Treat A Low Blood Sugar Level Yourself
Follow these steps if your blood sugar level is less than 3.5mmol/L or you have hypo symptoms:
You do not usually need to get medical help once you’re feeling better if you only have a few hypos.
But tell your diabetes team if you keep having hypos or if you stop having symptoms when your blood sugar level is low.
How To Fix Low Blood Sugar: Using Hedia
While the rule of 15 is handy as a general rule, the precise number of carbs needed will often vary according to each person, the severity, and each situation.
This is partly because of factors such as how much insulin is active in the body, or whether insulin sensitivity has increased.
With Hedia, figuring out the number of carbs needed becomes much easier: Hedia already has an idea of your insulin-on-board or insulin sensitivity. With Hedias carb calculator and diabetes, you can get a hasty recommendation for carb intake.
To get this recommendation, press the + button and enter your current blood glucose reading or have it entered for you wirelessly by connecting with a blood glucose meter. Then, enter the number of carbs youve eaten recently or will eat.
Finally, enter whether you have exercised recently or will exercise, and then press Calculate Insulin. Hedia will determine whether you need insulin or carbs, and how much of it you need in this case Hedia would most likely recommend that you take carbs.
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How Serious Is Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemic episodes can range from mild to severe.
Mild hypoglycemia can usually be treated by the individual and are to be expected to some degree in people on insulin. Mild hypos are not associated with significant long term health problems unless they are occurring very regularly or for long periods of time.
Severe hypoglycemia, however, will require treatment from someone else and may require an ambulance. Severe hypos can lead to immediate danger if not treated immediately. Whilst rare, severe hypos can potentially lead to coma and death.
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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.
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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.
Overdose Of Diabetes Medication
A common cause of hypoglycaemia is taking too much insulin for your current needs. Insulin is a medication that helps control your blood glucose levels. It’s commonly used to treat type 1 diabetes and is also recommended for some people with type 2 diabetes.
A fall in blood glucose levels can also occur after taking too much oral hypoglycaemia medication, such as sulphonylurea, which causes a release of insulin. This medication is often used to lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
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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.
Treatment Plan For Lows
*** Remember that IOB calculations CANNOT be accurate unless your Active Insulin Time or Duration of Insulin Action time is set to at least 4.5 hours or LONGER!
More grams of carbs than these will likely be needed:
- If you forget and take 2 boluses/injections for a meal, or
- If you took a meal bolus but never ate the meal .
Quick treatment reduces stress hormone release and the chances of your glucose rising sharply afterward. Plus youll quickly feel better and your brain, muscles, and cells will thank you for resupplying the fuel that shortens their misery.
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Raising Your Blood Sugar
What Foods Can Assist Raise Blood Sugar Quickly
Because your blood sugar level comes from the foods and beverages you consume, one of the most convenient methods to raise your blood sugar quick is to grab a quick treat. The American Diabetes Association advises the 15-15 rule if your blood sugar level dips below 70 mg/dL: Eat at most limited 15 grams of carbs, then wait 15 minutes to recheck your blood glucose. If youre still listed below 70 mg/dL, have another 15 grams of carbs, wait 15 minutes, and inspect your levels again.
Amongst the foods you can pursue a fast blood sugar boost are:. a piece of fruit, like a banana, apple, or orange. 2 tablespoons of raisins. 1/2 cup apple, orange, pineapple, or grapefruit juice. 1/2 cup regular soda . 1 cup fat-free milk. 1 tablespoon honey or jelly. 15 Skittles. 4 Starbursts. 1 tablespoon of sugar in water.
Foods that include protein or fat, such as peanut butterand ice cream, and chocolate, may be valuable if your blood sugar level has actually dropped but isnt listed below 70 mg/dL. These higher-fat foods, in addition to whole-grain bread and other high-fiber foods, take longer to take in into your bloodstream. Because of this, these foods will not raise your blood sugar as quickly as foods that have more basic carbohydrates.
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A Low Blood Sugar Level And Driving
You may still be allowed to drive if you have diabetes or you’re at risk of a low blood sugar level for another reason, but you’ll need to do things to reduce the chance of this happening while you’re driving.
You also need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and your car insurance company about your condition.
For more information, see:
What Are Some Tips To Prevent Nighttime Blood Sugar Level Dips
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How To Treat Someone Who’s Unconscious Or Very Sleepy
Follow these steps:
They may need to go to hospital if they’re being sick , or their blood sugar level drops again.
Tell your diabetes care team if you ever have a severe hypo that caused you to lose consciousness.