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What Are The Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia

3 Ways To Treat Low Blood Sugar | She’s Diabetic

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 .

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.

How Do You Treat Hypoglycemia

Low blood sugar levels happen when theres too little glucose left in the bloodstream to continue supplying fuel to your organs, muscles, and tissues. It most often occurs when you dont eat enough food, especially carb-containing foods, given your blood-sugar-lowering medications and physical activity levels, ONeill says. Levels can decrease gradually or suddenly.

When the amount of glucose in the bloodstream drops to too-low levels, the body reacts by releasing epinephrine, also called adrenaline or the fight or flight hormone. Epinephrine revs your heart rate and can cause sweating, shaking, anxiety, and irritability. If not enough glucose is able to reach the brain, the result may be difficulty concentrating, confused thinking, and slurred speech. In extreme cases, a lack of glucose within the brain can lead to seizures, coma, and even death, she says.

People with low glucose levels can use the ADAs 15-15 Rule, which advises people consume 15 g of carbs, wait 15 minutes, and check their levels again. If the number is still low, repeat until reaching at least 70 mg/dL.

You can find 15 g of carbs in:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 small piece of fresh fruit
  • cup of yogurt
  • Three to four hard candies
  • Glucose tablets as indicated on the label
  • Glucose gel as indicated on the label

Once your glucose levels are back to normal, the ADA suggests going ahead and eating your next scheduled meal or snack, which will help prevent levels from dropping again.

Also Check: What Snacks Are Good For Low Blood Sugar

Possible Causes With Diabetes

Diabetes affects your bodys ability to use insulin. Think of insulin as the key that unlocks your cells, letting in glucose for energy.

If you have diabetes, a variety of treatments can help the cells in your body use the glucose in your blood. Among these are insulin injections and oral medications that increase insulin production.

If you take too much of these types of medications, your blood sugar may drop too low. You may also sometimes experience low blood sugar if you plan to eat a big meal but then do not eat enough.

Skipping meals, eating less than usual, or eating later than usual but taking your medication at your usual time can also lead to low blood sugar levels.

Unplanned excess physical activity without eating enough can also cause a drop in blood sugar levels.

Drinking alcohol when youre on these medications can also lead to low blood sugar, especially if it replaces food. When your body is trying to get rid of alcohol, it becomes worse at managing blood sugar levels.

When To See A Doctor

10 Warning Signs of Low Blood Sugar

If youre experiencing one or many of these symptoms enough for it to raise a mental red flag or affect your life , thats a sign that you should talk to a doctor about your concerns. An expert like a primary care provider can help determine if high blood sugar due to diabetes or prediabetes is the cause of your symptoms. Even if youre not sure thats exactly whats going on, its still worth having a conversation with your doctor about hyperglycemia and other possible causes behind your symptoms.

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Why Is It Important To Recognize A Low Blood Sugar Level

Low blood sugar levels can happen with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Low levels are more likely to happen if you use insulin. Hypoglycemia can cause you to have falls, accidents, and injuries. A blood sugar level that gets too low can lead to seizures, coma, and death. Learn to recognize the symptoms early so you can get treatment quickly.

When To Talk With A Pro

Testing your blood sugar is crucial to diabetes management. Using a meter or continuous glucose monitoring can provide accurate results. But you might seek a pain-free method to check blood sugar.

Talk with your doctor or a certified diabetes educator. You might be a candidate for a glucose monitoring device that involves fewer finger pricks or no finger pricks.

Additionally, making a few adjustments in the way you collect your blood sample might reduce the level of pain and discomfort.

Also Check: What Time Of Day Is Blood Sugar Highest

Low Blood Sugar Facts

  • Hypoglycemia is the medical term for low blood sugar. It typically occurs as a side effect of medications for diabetes.
  • The normal range of blood glucose is from 70 to 100 mg/dL in an individual without diabetes,
  • Most people will feel the effects and symptoms of low blood sugar when blood glucose levels are lower than 50 mg/dL.
  • Severe cases may lead to seizures and loss of consciousness.
  • Low blood sugar is treated by giving a readily absorbed source of sugar, including soft drinks, juice, or foods containing sugar.
  • If hypoglycemia has progressed to the point at which the patient cannot take anything by mouth, an injection of glucagon may be given. Glucagon is a hormone that causes a fast release of glucose from the liver.

Warning Signs Of Low Blood Sugar

WHAT IS LOW BLOOD SUGAR LEVEL?LOW BLOOD SUGAR EXPLAINED

Hypoglycemia can cause both short- and long-term complications. Know the signs so that you can treat the condition as soon as you’re aware of it.

As a person living with diabetes, you know how important it is to reduce blood sugar when it is too high, a phenomenon called hyperglycemia. But blood sugar that is too low, or hypoglycemia, is equally critical to avoid.

“Hypoglycemia happens when the amount of blood glucose drops to a level that’s too low to sustain normal functioning,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES, who is based in Sparta, New Jersey. “In most people, this is defined as a blood sugar level at or below 70 milligrams per deciliter .”

Hypoglycemia is common among people with type 2 diabetes, according toa review published in June 2015 in the journal PLoS One. Individuals with the condition had an average of 19 mild or moderate episodes of hypoglycemia per year and nearly one severe episode per year on average, according to the researchers. Low blood sugar was particularly common among those taking insulin.

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This decrease in blood sugar levels can cause both short-term complications, like confusion and dizziness, as well as more serious issues, including seizures, coma, and, rarely, death, according to the American Diabetes Association .

Hypoglycemia is usually the result of a too-high dose of insulin or a change in diet or exercise habits, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar

Different people may feel low blood sugar levels differently. People with low blood sugar may:

  • feel hungry or have “hunger pains” in their stomach
  • feel shaky or like they’re trembling
  • have a rapid heart rate
  • feel sweaty or have cold, clammy skin
  • have pale, gray skin color
  • have a headache
  • have seizures or convulsions
  • lose consciousness

If you have diabetes, try to remember how your body reacts when your blood sugar levels are low. It may help you figure out when you’re having a low blood sugar level more quickly the next time.

S For Treating A Person With Symptoms Keeping Them From Being Able To Treat Themselves

  • If the glucagon is injectable, inject it into the buttock, arm, or thigh, following the instructions in the kit. If your glucagon is inhalable, follow the instructions on the package to administer it into the nostril.
  • When the person regains consciousness , they may experience nausea and vomiting.
  • Dont hesitate to call 911. If someone is unconscious and glucagon is not available or someone does not know how to use it, call 911 immediately.

    Do NOT:

    • Inject insulin
    • Provide food or fluids

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    How Is Hypoglycemia Treated

    When your blood sugar levels are too low, eating carbohydrates is key. If you have diabetes, try to keep high carbohydrate snacks on hand.

    The American Diabetes Association recommends that your snack have at least 15 grams of carbohydrates. Some good snacks to keep on hand are:

    • hard candies
    • jelly beans or gumdrops
    • fresh or dried fruit

    You also can take glucose tablets to rapidly raise your blood sugar if its low. These are available without a prescription. Its important to check how many grams are in each tablet before taking them. Aim to get 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrates.

    Wait 15 minutes after eating or taking a glucose tablet and test your blood sugar again. If your blood sugar is not going up, eat another 15 grams of carbohydrates or take another dose of glucose tablets. Repeat this until your blood sugar level starts to rise.

    Be sure not to overeat. This could lead to blood sugar levels that are too high.

    If your blood sugar remains unresponsive, contact your doctor or emergency services right away. When in doubt, treat.

    Symptoms of low blood sugar usually get worse if theyre left untreated. Make an appointment to see your doctor if you have diabetes and experience low blood sugar levels often, or if you have symptoms, even if you dont have diabetes.

    Your Legs And Feet Are Swollen

    Hypoglycemia: Battling low blood sugar

    When there’s too much sugar in the system, it can pull water into cells, which will swell up over time if you don’t get these fluids moving through your body regularly.

    The American Diabetes Association claims that people who have diabetes tend to have legs and feet up to five times larger than they should be, which can lead to complications within the circulatory system, including infections and reduced blood flow.

    If you notice your feet and ankles begin to swell up, make sure to keep them elevated when possible. It’s important to treat swelling as soon as possible by elevating your legs higher.

    Read Also: Is Cinnamon Good For Lowering Blood Sugar

    Possible Causes Without Diabetes

    Even if you dont have diabetes, you may experience low blood sugar. However, hypoglycemia is much less common in people without diabetes.

    Some possible causes of low blood sugar in people who dont have diabetes are:

    • certain medications, such as quinine
    • some medical conditions, such as hepatitis and kidney disorders
    • a tumor that produces excess insulin
    • endocrine disorders, such as adrenal gland deficiency

    Slurred Speech And Clumsiness

    Your sugar-starved brain may change the way you sound. Slurred speech is a common symptom associated with blood sugar levels that drop below 40 mg/dL, according to University of Michigan Health Systems. Combined with clumsiness another sign of low blood sugar you may seem as though you’ve had a few too many cocktails, even if you haven’t touched a drop, according to the National Health Service.

    For more on managing low blood sugar, check out Diabetes Daily’s article “How to Treat Lows Without Sabotaging Your Diet!

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    Are High Levels Of Blood Sugar Dangerous

    • death.

    Low blood sugar levels begin at 70 mg/dL or less.

    • People with diabetes who take too much medication or take their usual amount but then eat less or exercise more than usual can develop hypoglycemia. Although much rarer, hypoglycemia may develop in some people without diabetes when they take someone elses medication, have excessive alcohol consumption, or have hepatitis or a rare tumor of the pancreas .
    • The treatment for hypoglycemia is oral glucose intake (15.0 grams of sugar, for example, 1 tablespoon of sugar, honey, corn syrup, or IV fluids containing glucose. Rechecking your blood sugar levels in about 15 minutes after the treatment is advised.

    What Is The Outlook For People With Hypoglycemia

    LOW blood SUGAR in Diabetics (hypoglycemia). Everything you NEED to know!

    Hypoglycemia can be managed when you and your healthcare provider understand what causes your blood sugar to go down. Give your healthcare provider as much information as possible about any hypoglycemic episodes. Fixing the problem may be as simple as changing the times you take medication, eat and exercise. Minor changes to the types of food you eat may also help.

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    Foods To Eat And Foods To Avoid With Type 2 Diabetes

    If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes your doctor most likely has recommended dietary changes to manage your blood sugar levels. Simple carbohydrates or simple “carbs” are the primary culprit in raising blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. “Glycemic index” and “glycemic load” are terms used to measure the impact some foods have on your blood sugar levels. Low glycemic foods, for example complex carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa, steal cut oatmeal, vegetables, some fruits , beans, and lentils don’t raise blood sugar levels very much. However, high glycemic foods for example, sugar, white flour and bread, cookies, pastries, and white potatoes can raise blood sugar levels dangerously high.

    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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    Listen To Your Doctor

    If you follow a meal plan or take medications that increase insulin to manage low blood sugar, its important to stick to the plan your doctor prescribed to help prevent drops in your blood sugar level.

    Not eating the right foods or taking the right medications at the correct times can cause your blood sugar to drop. Check in often with your doctor so they can adjust your treatment plan if and when necessary.

    Complications From Spells Of Hypoglycemia

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    Mildly low blood sugar levels are somewhat common for people with diabetes. However, severely low blood sugar levels can be life threatening. They may lead to seizures and nervous system damage if left untreated long enough. Immediate treatment is critical.

    Its important to recognize your symptoms and treat them quickly. For people at risk for low blood sugar, having a glucagon kit a medication that raises blood sugar levels is important. Talk with your doctor for more information.

    You may also want to talk with friends, family members, exercise partners, and co-workers about how to care for you if your blood sugar drops too low.

    Its important for them to recognize low blood sugar symptoms and to know how to use the glucagon kit, as well as understand the importance of calling 911 if you lose consciousness.

    Wearing a medical identification bracelet is a good idea. It can help emergency responders care for you properly if you need urgent medical attention.

    Treat low blood sugar as soon as possible. Avoid driving if you are experiencing low blood sugar, as it can increase your risk for having an accident.

    There are several ways you can prevent low blood sugar. Well look at each of these prevention methods in more detail below.

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    The Causes Of Low Blood Sugar

    Low blood sugar levels can happen to kids with diabetes because of the medicines they have to take. Kids with diabetes may need a hormone called insulin and/or diabetes pills to help their bodies use the sugar in their blood. These medicines help take the sugar out of the blood and get it into the body’s cells, which makes the level of sugar in the blood go down.

    But sometimes it’s a tricky balancing act, and blood sugar levels can get too low. Kids with diabetes need to keep their blood sugar levels from getting too high or too low. How do they do it? With help from grown-ups, they keep three things in balance:

    Each one of these can affect the other. For instance, eating more might mean a kid needs more insulin. And exercising might create the need for an extra snack. Again, a grown-up can help you learn how to juggle those three activities so you keep feeling good.

    Some things that can make low blood sugar levels more likely to happen are:

    • skipping meals and snacks
    • not eating enough food at a meal or snack
    • exercising longer or harder than usual without eating something extra
    • getting too much insulin
    • not timing the insulin doses properly with meals, snacks, and exercise
    • taking a long bath or shower right after an insulin shot
    p

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