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How To Know If I Have Low Blood Sugar

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How Can I Prevent Low Blood Sugar

HOW DO YOU FEEL IF YOUR BLOOD SUGAR IS HIGH OR LOW?

Your best bet is to practice good diabetes management and learn to detect hypoglycemia so you can treat it earlybefore it gets worse.

Monitoring blood sugar, with either a meter or a CGM, is the tried and true method for preventing hypoglycemia. Studies consistently show that the more a person checks blood sugar, the lower his or her risk of hypoglycemia. This is because you can see when blood sugar levels are dropping and can treat it before it gets too low.

If you can, check often!

  • Check before and after meals.
  • Check before and after exercise .
  • Check before bed.
  • After intense exercise, also check in the middle of the night.
  • Check more if things around you change such as, a new insulin routine, a different work schedule, an increase in physical activity, or travel across time zones.

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.

The Dangers Of Low Blood Glucose

At some time, most people with diabetes experience the sweating and shakiness that occurs when blood glucose levels fall below 70 mg/dl a condition known as hypoglycemia. The average person with type 1 diabetes may experience symptoms of low blood glucose up to two times a week. However, not all are aware that these symptoms can rapidly progress to seizures, coma and even death if hypoglycemia is severe. Though hypoglycemia can be common and occur repeatedly in some people with diabetes, symptoms of low blood glucose should always be taken seriously. People with diabetes and their families, friends or coworkers should be prepared to act quickly and responsibly at the earliest signs of low blood glucose.

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Causes Not Related To Diabetes

According to the Endocrine Society, non-diabetes-related hypoglycemia is rare but can occur. There are two types:

  • fasting hypoglycemia, often associated with an underlying condition
  • reactive hypoglycemia, which occurs within a few hours of a meal

Causes of fasting hypoglycemia may include:

  • binge drinking or heavy alcohol consumption
  • liver, heart, or kidney disease
  • tumors that affect the pancreas
  • low hormone levels
  • certain medications, such as salicylates or sulfa

Causes of reactive hypoglycemia include:

  • a person with prediabetes
  • enzyme deficiency
  • stomach surgery

Doctors are still not clear about what exactly causes reactive hypoglycemia. However, they know people with this condition tend to have excessive insulin in their blood.

How Do You Treat Hypoglycemia

Effects of Low Blood Sugar on the Body

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.

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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.

How Do I Treat Low Blood Glucose

If you begin to feel one or more symptoms of low blood glucose, check your blood glucose level. If your blood glucose level is below your target or less than 70 mg/dL, follow these steps

  • Eat or drink 15 to 20 grams of glucose or carbohydrates right away. Examples include
  • four glucose tablets or one tube of glucose gel.
  • 1/2 cup of fruit juicenot low-calorie or reduced-sugar juice. If you have kidney disease, dont drink orange juice because it has a lot of potassium. Apple, grape, or cranberry juice are good options.
  • 1/2 can of sodanot low-calorie or reduced-sugar soda.
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar, honey, or corn syrup.
  • Wait 15 minutes and check your blood glucose level again. If your glucose level is still low, eat or drink another 15 to 20 grams of glucose or carbohydrates.
  • Check your blood glucose level again after another 15 minutes. Repeat these steps until your glucose level is back to your target range.
  • If your next meal is more than 1 hour away, have a snack to keep your blood glucose level within a range that is healthy for you. Try crackers or a piece of fruit.
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    Symptoms Of Type 1 Diabetes

    You might notice:

    • Unplanned weight loss. If your body can’t get energy from your food, it will start burning muscle and fat for energy instead. You may lose weight even though you haven’t changed how you eat. See which foods are high in trans fatty acids.
    • Nausea and vomiting. When your body resorts to burning fat, it makes ketones. These can build up in your blood to dangerous levels, a possibly life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. Ketones can make you feel sick to your stomach.

    Treating Low Blood Sugar

    Insulin Questions: How do I treat my low blood sugar?

    You are at risk of having a low blood sugar reaction if you:

    • Skip or delay a meal or snack
    • Take too much insulin or eat too few carbohydrates
    • Exercise
    • Drink alcohol, especially without eating carbohydrates

    Check your blood sugar if you have any of these symptoms:

    • Weakness and/or fatigue

    If your blood sugar is less than 70 milligrams per deciliter :

    • Eat 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate
    • Wait 15 minutes and then recheck your blood sugar
    • If your blood sugar is still less than 100 mg/dl, take another 15 grams of carbohydrate and retest your blood sugar in another 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary.

    Important: If you have frequent low blood sugars speak to your doctor. You may need changes in your medication and/or meal plan.

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    When To See A Doctor

    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.

    How To Prevent Anxiety Over Hypoglycemia

    Most likely, if you haven’t already been diagnosed with hypoglycemia, you’re simply experiencing anxiety. It’s perfectly normal to feel as though your anxiety symptoms must be the result of a health problem, and not anxiety, since in many cases anxiety mimics serious health concerns.

    Anxiety is more common than many of the health disorders it mimics and unfortunately people with anxiety commonly experiencing health anxiety which may cause further concern over the symptoms they experience.

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    Treating Low Blood Glucose If You Take Medicines That Slow Down Digestion

    Some diabetes medicines slow down the digestion of carbohydrates to keep blood glucose levels from rising too high after you eat. If you develop low blood glucose while taking these medicines, you will need to take glucose tablets or glucose gel right away. Eating or drinking other sources of carbohydrates wont raise your blood glucose level quickly enough.

    Low Blood Sugar After Meals

    Los Angeles Medical Clinic: Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar

    If a person has low blood sugar shortly after finishing a meal, they could have reactive hypoglycemia.

    People recovering after recent stomach surgery may be at a higher risk of this after meals. This is because food passes through the stomach too quickly.

    Similarly, people who experience pre-diabetes may notice a drop in blood sugar levels after eating because their bodies cannot regulate insulin properly.

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    Nighttime Low Blood Sugars

    You may experience a low blood sugar night. The low blood sugar might wake you up and your symptoms might be similar to those you have during the day. However, the symptoms may be different. You might have nightmares, sleep poorly, perspire, or feel hot and cold. In the morning you may have a headache, feel nauseated, or feel confused. Notify your doctor if this happens. Check your blood sugar at the time you have the symptoms.

    Treatment for a low blood sugar that occurs at night is the same as described earlier.

    Your doctor may request that you check a 3:00 a.m. blood sugar 1 to 2 times per week in order to detect any low blood sugars during the night.

    Disclaimer: This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information provided is intended to be informative and educational and is not a replacement for professional medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.

    Low Blood Sugar: Warning Signs Ways To Treat And When To Call The Doctor

    Physicians explain how to tell when your blood sugar is dangerously low, and how to take action to prevent complications.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2020 National Diabetes Statistics Report, 34 million people living in the United States had diabetes in 2018 — and amazingly, 21% of adults with diabetes did not even know they had it. The scariest part is that, if left untreated, diabetes can be deadly. In fact, it was the seventh leading cause of death in the year 2017.

    And while normally associated with high blood sugar , diabetic folks can also experience hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, alongside its own bevy of problems — including more severe and/or long-term effects like seizures, loss of consciousness, dementia and even death. Further, according to the Mayo Clinic, hypoglycemia can also cause low blood sugar in folks without diabetes due to a variety of conditions and medications.

    So, needless to say, it’s important to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. But how is this done, especially if you don’t know the first thing about blood sugar?

    Our Health & Wellness newsletter puts the best products, updates and advice in your inbox.

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    When To Call Your Doctor

    If you’re older than 45 or have other risks for diabetes, it’s important to get tested. When you spot the condition early, you can avoid nerve damage, heart trouble, and other complications.

    As a general rule, call your doctor if you:

    • Feel sick to your stomach, weak, and very thirsty
    • Are peeing a lot
    • Have a bad belly ache
    • Are breathing more deeply and faster than normal
    • Have sweet breath that smells like nail polish remover

    Show Sources

    Cleveland Clinic: “Diabetes: Frequently Asked Questions” and “What Is Diabetes?”à ââ¬ÅDiabetes: Preventing Complications,ââ¬ï¿½ ââ¬ÅHyperglycemia .ââ¬ï¿½

    University of Michigan Health System: “Type 1 Diabetes.”

    National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse: “Am I at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes? Taking Steps to Lower Your Risk of Getting Diabetes.”

    Baylor Scott & White Healthcare: “Urinary Frequency” and “Diabetes and Diabetic Neuropathy Hard-to-Heal Wounds.”

    Sutter Health: “Question & Answer: Is Sudden Weight Loss a Sign of Diabetes? If So, Why?”

    Neithercott, T. Diabetes Forecast, August 2013.

    University of Rochester Medical Center: “Diabetic Skin Troubles.”

    Joslin Diabetes Center: “Diseases of the Eye” and “Diabetic Neuropathy: What You Need to Know.”

    The Nemours Foundation: “When Blood Sugar Is Too High.”

    Virginia Mason Medical Center: “Complications.”

    Carolinas Health System: “Diabetes: Yeast Infections and Diabetes: What You Should Know.”

    Geisinger Health: ââ¬Å3 reasons diabetic wounds are slow to heal.ââ¬ï¿½

    Causes Of Low Blood Sugar In Cats

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

    Low blood sugar in cats is caused by an underlying condition affecting the bodys ability to produce, release, or store insulin. The hormone, insulin, is a chemical messenger that is responsible for regulating the bodys blood glucose levels. The pancreas manufactures these metabolizing hormones and releases them when a cat eats a meal. As the meal is digested, the food glucose is absorbed by the blood. The rise in plasma glucose triggers the beta cells in the pancreas and insulin is secreted to keep a balanced blood sugar level. An interference of the production, balance, or distribution of this process can result in hypoglycemia including:

    • Diabetes: Diabetic cats can develop hypoglycemia upon overdose of insulin injection or if two doses overlap one another.
    • Blood Infections

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    What If I Have Trouble Getting To My Blood Sugar Goals

    There may be times when you have trouble reaching your blood sugar goals. This does not mean that you have failed. It means that you and your health care team should see if changes are needed. Call your health care team if your blood sugar is often too high or too low. Taking action will help you be healthy today and in the future.

    What Are Target Blood Sugar Levels For People With Diabetes

    A target is something that you aim for or try to reach. Your health care team may also use the term goal. People with diabetes have blood sugar targets that they try to reach at different times of the day. These targets are:

    • Right before your meal: 80 to 130
    • Two hours after the start of the meal: Below 180

    Talk with your health care team about what blood sugar numbers are right for you.

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    Preventing A Low Blood Sugar Level

    If you have diabetes, you can reduce your chance of getting a low blood sugar level if you:

    • Check your blood sugar level regularly and be aware of the symptoms of a low blood sugar level so you can treat it quickly.
    • Always carry a sugary snack or drink with you, such as glucose tablets, a carton of fruit juice or some sweets. If you have a glucagon injection kit, always keep it with you.
    • Do not skip meals.
    • Be careful when drinking alcohol. Do not drink large amounts, check your blood sugar level regularly, and eat a carbohydrate snack afterwards.
    • Be careful when exercising eating a carbohydrate snack before exercise can help to reduce the risk of a hypo. If you take some types of diabetes medicine, your doctor may recommend you take a lower dose before or after doing intense exercise.
    • Have a carbohydrate snack, such as toast, if your blood sugar level drops too low while you’re asleep

    If you keep getting a low blood sugar level, talk to your diabetes care team about things you can do to help prevent it.

    Examples Of Appropriate Snacks May Be:

    Diabetes and Seizures: What Are They? What Are The Symptoms?
    • 6 saltine crackers
    • 1 slice toast and 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 cup milk

    The food eaten for a reaction need not be subtracted from a meal plan.

    Obtain a blood sugar when symptoms occur if you are able. If symptoms are severe, treat the reaction first and then obtain a blood sugar. Do not drive nor operate equipment if you feel your blood sugar is low.

    If your blood sugar drops low enough for you to become unconscious, you must be taken to the hospital and/or treated with glucagon.

    Glucagon is a hormone that causes the blood sugar to rise. It can only be given by injection. It is used to treat a low blood sugar if a person becomes semi-conscious or unconscious due to a severe low blood sugar. Please ask your nurse for instruction on glucagon. Your doctor will need to write a prescription for glucagon so you can have it available at home.

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