Low Blood Sugar: Best Bites When You’re On The Go
Despite your best planning, you might find yourself experiencing low blood sugar when you’re out and about, with no glucose tablets in reach. Here are tips to keep in mind:
Best bites at work Smart foods to keep in a drawer at work are 4-ounce cans or cartons of any type of 100 percent juice hard candy like peppermints or Life Savers and small boxes of raisins the ones that contain about 2 tablespoons, says Hope Warshaw, RD, a certified diabetes educator and author of Diabetes Meal Planning Made Easy.
If you dont have these items on hand, head to the nearest vending machine for any snack containing carbohydrates or sugary candy but skip the chocolate. We do not recommend using chocolate as a treatment for hypoglycemia, despite what you might have read, says OConnor. She explains that the fat in chocolate slows down how fast the sugar and carbohydrates in the candy can get into the bloodstream.
If you’re choosing foods to help treat hypoglycemia, you should also pay attention to where they fall on the glycemic index, or GI. The higher a food ranks on the GI, the more quickly your body breaks it down into sugar. Life Savers have a GI of 70, while raisins have a GI around 60.
What Happens If My Blood Glucose Level Becomes Too Low
Sometimes blood glucose levels drop below where they should be, which is called hypoglycemia. For most people with diabetes, the blood glucose level is too low when it is below 70 mg/dL.
Hypoglycemia can be life threatening and needs to be treated right away. Learn more about how to recognize and treat hypoglycemia.
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.
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Why Am I Having Lows
If you are experiencing low blood glucose and youre not sure why, bring a record of blood glucose, 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 glucose 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 And Signs Of Hypoglycemia
When blood sugar levels drop, the body isnt able to convert glucose to energy. As a result, low blood sugar in dogs can ultimately affect the brain and various organ systems. As with many canine conditions, early detection is key in providing effective treatment. Some common signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia in dogs include the following:
- Lethargy, low energy, or listlessness
- Appetite loss
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Which Dogs Are Most At Risk Of Having Low Blood Sugar
The dogs that are most at risk of having low blood sugar are puppies, toy breeds, small breed dogs, and dogs who exert a lot of energy.
Puppies are most susceptible to low blood sugar because their bodies have not developed to the point where they are able to regulate their blood sugar levels on their own consistently.
Toy breeds and small breed dogs are susceptible to low blood sugar because they are often unable to store enough glucose to support their high amounts of energy. The combination of low glucose in storage accompanied with a high energy expenditure can result in a glucose deficiency, or low blood sugar.
Dogs who exert a lot of energy include dogs who may be pregnant, hunt frequently, are worker dogs , or dogs with known medical problems. If your dog is a working dog, hunts often, has known medical conditions, or may be pregnant then they may be at risk for low blood sugar.
Stick With Starchy Vegetables
Cooked carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes can boost your blood sugar. Raw carrots have a lower GI. Nonstarchy vegetables, such as leafy greens, eggplant, zucchini and cucumbers, are lower in carbs and have very little effect on your blood sugar levels. Fat slows digestion and makes your blood sugar levels rise less quickly, so potatoes cooked with fat, such as French fries and potato chips, have a lower GI than plain boiled, mashed and baked potatoes.
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Check Your Blood Glucose Levels
For many people with diabetes, checking their blood glucose level each day is an important way to manage their diabetes. Monitoring your blood glucose level is most important if you take insulin. The results of blood glucose monitoring can help you make decisions about food, physical activity, and medicines.
The most common way to check your blood glucose level at home is with a blood glucose meter. You get a drop of blood by pricking the side of your fingertip with a lancet. Then you apply the blood to a test strip. The meter will show you how much glucose is in your blood at the moment.
Ask your health care team how often you should check your blood glucose levels. Make sure to keep a record of your blood glucose self-checks. You can print copies of this glucose self-check chart. Take these records with you when you visit your health care team.
Low Blood Sugar Levels In Diabetes
People with diabetes can have low blood sugar levels because of the medicines they have to take to manage their diabetes. They may need a hormone called 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 blood sugar level go down. But sometimes it’s a tricky balancing act and blood sugar levels can get too low.
People with diabetes need to keep their blood sugars from getting too highor too low. Keeping blood sugar levels in a healthy range means balancing when and what they eat, and when they exercise with when they take medicines.
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Blood Sugar Level Rises Every Time You Eat
Your blood sugar level rises immediately after eating a meal or snack . In a healthy person, insulin then starts working, and the blood sugar level returns to the pre-meal level 2 hours after eating. In untreated diabetes patients, the blood sugar level does not return to the pre-meal level of its own accord. Some people’s blood sugar level remains high two hours after eating, even though on an empty stomach it would be at a normal level. As a result, the risk of developing diabetes increases as insulin is not properly secreted, or does not work properly in the body. In order to make sure insulin works properly, it is important not to overeat and to avoid becoming obese. Knowing which foods will not cause a sudden and extreme spike in blood sugar level and using this knowledge in your daily life will help you to prevent obesity and diabetes, and maintain good health.
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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When To Call The Doctor
If signs of low blood sugar do not improve after you have eaten a snack that contains sugar, have someone drive you to the emergency room or call 911 or the local emergency number. Do not drive when your blood sugar is low.
Get medical help right away for a person with low blood sugar if the person is not alert or cannot be woken up as this is a medical emergency.
Nighttime Low Blood Sugar
While low blood sugar can happen at any time during the day, some people may experience low blood sugar while they sleep. Reasons this may happen include:
- Having an active day.
- Being physically active close to bedtime.
- Taking too much insulin.
- Drinking alcohol at night.
Eating regular meals and not skipping them can help you avoid nighttime low blood sugar. Eating when you drink alcohol can also help. If you think youre at risk for low blood sugar overnight, have a snack before bed.
You may wake up when you have low blood sugar, but you shouldnt rely on that. A continuous glucose monitor can alert you with an alarm if your blood sugar gets low while youre sleeping.
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After You Have Low Blood Sugar
If your low blood sugar was mild , you can return to your normal activities once your blood sugar is back in its target range.
After you have low blood sugar, your early symptoms for low blood sugar are less noticeable for 48 to 72 hours. Be sure to check your blood sugar more often to keep it from getting too low again, especially before eating, physical activity, or driving a car.
If you used glucagon because of a severe low , immediately call your doctor for emergency medical treatment. If you have had lows several times close together , you should also tell you doctor. They may want to change your diabetes plan.
Easy Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally
High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, is associated with diabetes and prediabetes. Prediabetes is when your blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
Your body usually manages your blood sugar levels by producing insulin, a hormone that allows your cells to use the circulating sugar in your blood. As such, insulin is the most important regulator of blood sugar levels .
However, multiple factors can impair blood sugar management and lead to hyperglycemia.
Internal causes for high blood sugar include when your liver produces too much glucose, your body makes too little insulin, or your body cant effectively use insulin. The latter is known as insulin resistance (
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 13% of U.S. adults live with diabetes and that another 34.5% have prediabetes. This means that close to 50% of all U.S. adults have diabetes or prediabetes .
Blood sugar management is especially important for people with diabetes, as chronically high blood sugar levels can lead to limb and life threatening complications (
Increased insulin sensitivity means your cells can more effectively use the available sugar in your bloodstream.
Exercise also helps your muscles use blood sugar for energy and muscle contraction .
Whats more, researchers recommend doing so-called exercise snacks to lower blood sugar and prevent the damage that sitting all day can do .
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Type 1 Diabetes Low Blood Sugar
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How Are Low Blood Sugar Levels Treated
Your diabetes health care team will give you guidelines for treating low blood sugar levels, depending on your symptoms. If you can, try to test your blood sugar levels to make sure that your symptoms are because of hypoglycemia. If you can’t test blood sugar immediately, don’t delay in treating your symptoms you can always check your blood sugar after you’ve taken steps to get your blood sugar back up into the normal range.
When blood sugar levels are low, the goal is to get them back up quickly. To do that, you should take in sugar or sugary foods, which raise the blood sugar level quickly. Your health care team might suggest that you:
- Eat, drink, or take something that contains sugar that can get into the blood quickly. Your doctor may tell you to have really sugary foods or drinks or might give you glucose tablets or gel to take all of these can help to raise your blood sugar level fast, which is what you need to do when it’s low.
- Wait about 10 minutes to let the sugar work.
- Recheck your blood sugar level with a glucose meter to see if blood sugar levels are back to normal.
- Get a glucagon shot , if your symptoms are severe or get worse after you eat, drink, or take glucose.
Sometimes, blood sugar levels can get so low that you may not be awake enough to eat or drink something to get them back up. When this happens, you may need a glucagon shot.
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What Is The Outlook For People With Hypoglycemia
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.
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.
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S For Treating A Person With Symptoms Keeping Them From Being Able To Treat Themselves
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.
- Inject insulin
- Provide food or fluids
How To Raise Blood Sugar Levels
If you haven’t had anything to eat or drink for sometime or have done excessive exercise there are chances that your blood sugar levels will drop. In diabetics, an insulin dose without carbohydrate intake can lead to hypoglycaemia. The symptoms of hypoglycaemia appear when the blood glucose levels drop below 3.35 mmol/l or 70 gm/dl.
The most effective and immediate way to raise blood sugar level is to take glucose rich foods. Consuming 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates can restore the blood sugar level. Here is a list of the best options to eat if the blood glucose levels drop:
Fresh juice, energy drinks, sports drinks, milk and other juices are ideal for increasing blood sugar level immediately. ½ cup of apple or pineapple juice or ½ cup of milk or any other sweet drink like soda or sports drink contains sufficient amount of glucose to raise blood sugar levels. These are rapidly absorbed and the symptoms get better very quickly.
2. Sweets and Candies
If you know that you are prone to getting low blood sugar levels, always keep some sweets or candies with you. The minute you feel the symptoms, pop some in your mouth for fast relief. Though not a very healthy choice, these are very effective to raise blood sugar levels instantly.
4. Glucose Tablets and Gels
Honey or any other sweet drink or sauce can be taken for correction of hypoglycaemia.
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