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What Is Low Blood Glucose

7 Alarming Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Too High

Low blood glucose, also called low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, occurs when the level of glucose in your blood drops below what is healthy for you. For many people with diabetes, this means a blood glucose reading lower than 70 milligrams per deciliter .1 Your number might be different, so check with your doctor or health care team to find out what blood glucose level is low for you.

What If The 15

If you dont feel better after three tries, or if your symptoms get worse, call your healthcare provider or 911. Healthcare providers can use a medication called glucagon. They inject it with a needle or squirt it up your nose. Glucagon is also available for home use. Your healthcare provider can prescribe it and teach a family member or friend how to use it in the event of severe hypoglycemia.

How To Lower Blood Sugar When Its High

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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.

How Common Is Low Blood Glucose

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Low blood glucose is common among people with type 1 diabetes and among people with type 2 diabetes who take insulin or some other diabetes medicines. In a large global study of people with diabetes who take insulin, 4 in 5 people with type 1 diabetes and nearly half of those with type 2 diabetes reported a low blood sugar event at least once over a 4-week period.2

Severely low blood glucose, defined as when your blood glucose level drops so low you cant treat it yourself, is less common. Among U.S. adults with diabetes who take insulin or some diabetes medicines that help the pancreas release insulin into the blood, 2 in 100 may develop severely low blood glucose each year.3

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Symptoms Of Blood Blood Sugar Levels

Symptoms of blood sugar levels differ depending on if it is high or low. To determine which way the blood sugar have moved, the symptoms for each are typically:

High Blood Sugar Symptoms
Slow healing wounds Turning pale

If symptoms are left untreated, more extreme circumstances can happen such as fainting, weakness, disorientation, vomiting and dehydration. When you notice symptoms, usually more than one at one time, it is advised to see a doctor right away.

It is important to get the right treatment so that you can return to a healthy normal blood sugar level and inhibit it from occurring again.

Treatment methods vary from the severity of the blood sugar level, whether it is high or low and if the patient has existing medical conditions, such as diabetes. Here are ways in which blood sugar levels can be treated:

Causes Of Low Blood Sugar

There are many reasons why you may have low blood sugar, including:

  • Taking too much insulin.
  • Not eating enough carbs for how much insulin you take.
  • Timing of when you take your insulin.
  • The amount and timing of physical activity.
  • Drinking alcohol.
  • How much fat, protein, and fiber are in your meal.
  • Hot and humid weather.
  • Unexpected changes in your schedule.
  • Spending time at a high altitude.
  • Going through puberty.

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How To Check Blood Sugar Without A Meter

Diabetes is a chronic condition where the body either doesnt make enough insulin or doesnt use insulin properly or both. This can lead to a higher than normal blood sugar level.

Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to complications, such as:

For these reasons, its important to monitor your blood sugar if you have diabetes.

Prior to using meters, people with diabetes would monitor their blood sugar by testing their urine. This method, however, wasnt as accurate, nor did it provide real-time results.

If you self-test your blood sugar several times a day using a glucometer, or meter, it requires that you prick your finger to draw blood to test. Due to the discomfort of this method, you might look for a way to monitor your level without this tool.

If finger pricks are very bothersome for you, dont worry theres hope. Advances in blood sugar monitoring technology could mean no more finger pricks in the future.

If you have diabetes, there are several portable devices you can use to check your blood sugar level and not all of them require a finger prick.

Overdose Of Diabetes Medication

Hypoglycaemia – How to Treat and Prevent Low Blood Sugar

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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Does Everyone Have Symptoms From Hypoglycemia

Some people dont have symptoms or dont notice them. Healthcare providers call that situation hypoglycemia unawareness. People with such a challenge arent aware when they need to do something about their blood sugar. Theyre then more likely to have severe episodes and need medical help. People with hypoglycemia unawareness should check their blood sugar more often.

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.

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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.
  • Use a continuous glucose monitor or flash monitor to see how your blood sugar levels are changing. Ask your diabetes care team about getting a monitor if you do not already have one.
  • 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.

Avoiding High Blood Sugar And Dka

Normal Glucose Levels for Children

No matter how well they take care of themselves, people with diabetes will sometimes have high blood sugar levels. But the best way to avoid problems is to keep your blood sugar levels as close to your desired range as possible, which means following your diabetes management plan. Checking your blood sugar levels several times a day will let you know when your blood sugar level is high. Then you can treat it and help prevent DKA from happening.

High blood sugar levels dont always cause symptoms, and a person who isnt testing regularly might be having blood sugar levels high enough to damage the body without even realizing it. Doctors may use the HbA1c test to find out if someone has been having high blood sugar levels over time, even if the person has not had obvious symptoms.

Here are some other tips for avoiding high blood sugar levels and preventing DKA:

  • Try to eat all your meals and snacks on time and not skip any.
  • Take the right amount of insulin.
  • Check your blood sugar levels regularly and your ketone levels when your diabetes management plan recommends it.
  • Stick to your diabetes management plan.

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What Are Blood Sugar Targets

A blood sugar target is the range you try to reach as much as possible. These are typical targets:

  • Before a meal: 80 to 130 mg/dL.
  • Two hours after the start of a meal: Less than 180 mg/dL.

Your blood sugar targets may be different depending on your age, any additional health problems you have, and other factors. Be sure to talk to your health care team about which targets are best for you.

Preventing Low Blood Sugar

Eating regular meals and snacks is the best way to keep blood sugar on an even keel. Here are some guidelines for those who have had recurring bouts of hypoglycemia:

  • Try not to skip or delay meals. Dont go more than three hours without eating something.

  • Avoid drinking alcohol on an empty stomach. Alcohol can cause blood sugar to drop.

  • Have a light snack before exercising. Good choices are crackers and peanut butter, yogurt and fruit, half a turkey sandwich, or a bowl of whole grain cereal with milk. A snack at bedtime can help keep blood sugar levels normal during the night.

  • If you have diabetes, you need to match your carbohydrate intake to your diabetes medications to avoid low blood sugar. A dietitian or diabetes educator can help you put together an eating plan. If you take mealtime insulin like insulin aspart , insulin lispro , or insulin glulisine , make sure you eat the right amount of carbohydrates at your meal to match your insulin dosage. Skipping meals or not eating enough carbohydrates can cause your blood sugar level to dip significantly.

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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.

When Should I Check My Blood Sugar

How to Measure Your Blood Sugar – Mayo Clinic Patient Education

How often you check your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have and if you take any diabetes medicines.

Typical times to check your blood sugar include:

  • When you first wake up, before you eat or drink anything.
  • Two hours after a meal.

If you have type 1 diabetes, have type 2 diabetes and take insulin, or often have low blood sugar, your doctor may want you to check your blood sugar more often, such as before and after youre physically active.

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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.

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:

    • Provide food or fluids

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    Low Blood Sugar And Driving

    Having a low blood sugar while driving could be dangerous for you and others.

    You can usually still drive if you’re at risk of low blood sugar. But you’ll need to take extra precautions to reduce the chance of this happening while driving.

    You also need to tell the Driver & Vehicle Agency and your car insurance company about your condition.

    For more information, see:

    How Do I Treat Low Blood Glucose

    low blood sugar in morning symptoms

    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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    What Can Cause Low Blood Sugar Levels

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

    • skipping meals and snacks
    • not eating enough food during a meal or snack
    • exercising longer or harder than usual without eating some extra food
    • getting too much insulin
    • not timing the insulin doses properly with meals, snacks, and exercise

    Also, some things may increase how quickly insulin gets absorbed into the bloodstream and can make hypoglycemia more likely. These include:

    • taking a hot shower or bath right after having an insulin injection increases blood flow through the blood vessels in the skin, which can make the insulin be absorbed more quickly than usual
    • injecting the shot into a muscle instead of the fatty layer under the skin
    • injecting the insulin into a part of the body used a lot in a particular sport .

    All of these situations increase the chances that a person may get hypoglycemia.

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