Tips To Prevent Blood Sugar From Dropping At Night
Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar or low blood glucose, occurs when blood glucose levels drop below normalwhich is typically below a level of 70 milligrams per deciliter . With levels more commonly dipping at nighttime, otherwise referred to as nighttime hypoglycemia, this condition affects mostly patients with diabetes.
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What Causes Hypoglycemia In A Child
Hypoglycemia can be a condition by itself. Or it can be a complication of diabetes or other disorder. Its most often a problem in someone with diabetes. It occurs when theres too much insulin. This is also called an insulin reaction.
Causes in children with diabetes may include:
Too much insulin or oral diabetes medicine
The wrong kind of insulin
Incorrect blood-glucose readings
Tingling feelings around the mouth
Nightmares and confusion on awakening
The symptoms of hypoglycemia can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Severe Low Blood Sugar
As your low blood sugar gets worse, you may experience more serious symptoms, including:
- 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.
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How To Treat Low Blood Sugars
This interactive video from Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia explains how the body is affected by low blood sugars and what you can do to correct a low blood sugar when detected. Topics include what a low blood sugar is, other names for low blood sugars, signs and symptoms of a low blood sugar, causes of a low blood sugar, ways to treat a low blood sugar, and who needs to know how to treat a low blood sugar in your childs daily life.
When Blood Sugar Is Too Low
Glucose is a sugar that comes from the foods we eat, and it’s also formed and stored inside the body. It’s the main source of energy for the cells of our body, and is carried to each cell through the bloodstream. Our brains depend on glucose to function, even when we’re sleeping.
The is the amount of glucose in the blood. When these levels drop too low, it’s called hypoglycemia . Very low blood sugar levels can cause serious symptoms that need to be treated right away.
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When It’s Time To Call A Doctor
If any of the symptoms mentioned have begun to impact your life, such as fatigue so severe you can’t stay awake through the day, it’s a good idea to consult your physician. Dr. Fruge warns that “unstable blood sugar levels could put you at higher risk of heart disease and stroke and it is a red flag for serious health issues” — so blood sugar issues should be taken seriously.
You should also see a doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia and haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes or any other underlying condition.
If you do have diabetes and your hypoglycemia isn’t responding to the treatments described above, that’s another good cue to call your health care provider.
If testing reveals you have Type 1 diabetes, you’ll need to continue to test your blood sugar levels as often as instructed by your physician, take insulin regularly and participate in regular exercise. This may mean you will need a new glucose monitoring system, so ask your doctor what they recommend. If you’re diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you’ll most likely need to do the same as for Type 1, as well as working with health care professionals to make lifestyle changes such as improving nutrition and planning workouts. Medication may be necessary as well.
Healthy eating, regular exercise and other lifestyle changes can help alleviate symptoms and possibly even reverse prediabetes.
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Bg Spikes After A Low
In about 20% of cases, rebound hyperglycemia occur after a a low. Over-correction with carbohydrates is the main cause of rebound hyperglycemia. It is recommended to give no more than 20 grams of carbohydrate for correction of blood glucose between 3-4 mmol/L50-70 mg/dl and as noted previously, to check BG levels as needed in 15 minute increments, giving 15 grams more of carbs until levels rise.
Read How to Prevent Eye Complications with Type 1 Diabetes by the Joslin Center and read All About Glucagon.
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Diet And Sugar Levels
Whilst insulin helps to lower sugar levels by allow cells to take in glucose from the blood, the food we eat raises sugar levels. When we eat, carbohydrate in food gets broken down into glucose during digestion and gets absorbed into the blood stream.
Our diet therefore plays a significant role in the control of our blood sugar levels.
No Symptoms Be Alarmed
Surprisingly, the most dangerous episodes of hypoglycemia occur with little or no warning. When low blood glucose occurs on a regular basis, the body can become used to the warning signs and the person may stop noticing symptoms. This is a particularly dangerous condition known as hypoglycemic unawareness. People with this condition might not realize they have low blood glucose until its dangerously low seizures and coma are sometimes the first indication of a problem. The good news is that this condition can often be reversed allowing people to once again notice the signs of low blood glucose if hypoglycemia is avoided for a few weeks through careful monitoring of blood glucose.
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Cause Of Low Blood Sugar
Some common causes of low blood sugar levels include:
- When some people, even those who are not diabetic, eat very high carbohydrate, low-protein, low-fat meals or snacks , the high-carbohydrate foods enter the bloodstream very quickly and stimulate the pancreas to make a lot of insulin. All that insulin causes the blood sugar level to fall quickly and it can actually fall below the normal range and cause symptoms. This is called postprandial hypoglycemia.
- When diabetics take insulin, they can take more insulin than is needed, and this will cause a low blood sugar level.
- Rarely, nondiabetics can have an insulin-producing tumor in their pancreas that causes frequent low blood sugar levels.
- Other causes of hypoglycemia include: starving the body for prolonged periods by skipping or delaying meals, sudden and dramatic increase in physical activity , or excessive alcohol intake on an empty stomach.
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How Can I Prevent Low Blood Glucose
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 glucose, 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 glucose, the lower his or her risk of hypoglycemia. This is because you can see when blood glucose 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 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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Stick To Your Medication And Insulin Regimen
Skipping a dose of medication or insulin can be harmful to your body and increase your blood sugar levels.
Its important to stick to your treatment plan and follow your doctors instructions for taking your medication.
Healthful lifestyle habits can help people manage their blood sugar levels over the long term, such as eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, staying hydrated, and getting good sleep.
How Can I Be Better Prepared For Hypoglycemia
You can take some steps to be ready for hypoglycemia:
- Be aware of the symptoms and treat them early.
- Carry some fast-acting carbs with you all the time.
- Check your glucose levels frequently, especially around meals and exercise.
- Inform family, friends and co-workers so they know what do if you need help.
- Talk to your healthcare provider regularly to make and update your plan.
- Wear a medical bracelet that lets people know you have diabetes. Carry a card in your purse or wallet with instructions for hypoglycemia.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hypoglycemia is quite common in people with diabetes. If not treated, it can cause troubling symptoms, and even serious health problems. Fortunately, you can avoid hypoglycemic episodes by monitoring your blood sugar. You can also make small adjustments to eating and exercising routines.
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Your Hypoglycemia Action Plan
If you experience symptoms of hypoglycemia, its important to take action. Start with these steps:
Test your blood sugar. If you recognize any of these symptoms and believe your blood sugar may be too low, the first step you should take is to test your blood sugar with your glucose meter, Tan says. Anything less than 70 milligrams per deciliter is considered low blood sugar, according to the National Library of Medicine . However, target levels are often individualized, so talk with your healthcare provider about your optimal numbers, Tan adds.
Eat or drink fast-acting carbs. If you have low blood sugar, you need to take action right away. Your best bet is to consume about 15 grams of carbohydrates, the NLM says. Some options include:
- ½ cup or 4 ounces of orange juice
- ½ cup or 4 ounces of regular soda
- 1 tablespoon of sugar dissolved in water
- 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup
- 5 or 6 hard candies, jelly beans, or gumdrops
- 1 tablespoon of cake frosting
- 2 tablespoons of raisins
- ½ cup of applesauce
You can also take three to four glucose tablets or a tube of glucose gel. Everyone who takes medications for diabetes should always have glucose tablets with them, Galindo urges.
Wait, then retest. The next step is to wait 15 minutes, then test your blood sugar again. If blood sugar has reached 100 mg/dl or greater, youre fine. If not
Who Is At Risk Of Hypoglycaemia
People with diabetes who inject insulin or who take certain diabetes tablets are at risk of low blood glucose.
There are other medical conditions that may cause a person to produce too much insulin and people can experience symptoms of low blood glucose levels even when they do not take insulin or certain diabetes medications. If so it is important to have this investigated by your doctor.
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
- 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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Exercise Food And Alcohol
For people with type 1 diabetes, maintaining the correct blood glucose level involves balancing how much insulin you inject, the amount of food you eat, and how much energy you burn during exercise.
Hypoglycaemia may occur if youve taken your dose of insulin as usual, but your carbohydrate intake is lower than normal or has been used up more quickly. This may happen if you delay or miss a meal or snack, dont eat enough carbohydrate, or exercise more than usual.
People with diabetes whove drunk too much alcohol, or drank alcohol on an empty stomach, can also get hypoglycaemia.
However, its not always possible to identify why a particular episode of hypoglycaemia has occurred, and sometimes it happens for no obvious reason.
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- Hypoglycemia is a condition where your blood sugar levels drop below the normal range. A blood sugar reading that is below 70 mg/dL is considered low.
- In diabetes, the most common causes of low blood sugar levels are the use of insulin or other diabetic medications, insufficient food intake after taking diabetes medication, or increased physical activity. Apart from diabetes, low blood sugar levels can occur due to factors such as excess alcohol consumption, long-term starvation, overproduction of insulin in the body, hormone deficiencies, etc.
- Common symptoms of low blood sugar levels include irregular or fast heartbeat, shakiness, anxiety, sweating, irritability, hunger, nausea, fatigue, and lightheadedness.
- Consuming certain foods can help in managing episodes of hypoglycemia. These foods include carbohydrate rich-foods such as bread and pasta, sugary foods such as pastries and candies, starchy vegetables such as corn and peas, fruits such as bananas, and caffeinated beverages such as tea and coffee.
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