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
Hypoglycemia Can Occur At Night
“It usually occurs between midnight and 1 a.m. and I always wake up soaking wetbut only from the waist up. My head, shoulders, and upper back are just dripping with sweat,” he says.
He checks his blood sugar, and if it’s low, he goes straight to the refrigerator and drinks some pineapple juice, and eats a peanut butter sandwich. He waits 45 minutes or so and then checks his blood sugar again. If it’s in the normal range, he heads back to bed.
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 Low Blood Sugar
Preventing low blood sugar is better than having to treat it. Always have a source of fast-acting sugar with you.
- When you exercise, check your blood sugar levels. Make sure you have snacks with you.
- Talk to your provider about reducing insulin doses on days that you exercise.
- Ask your provider if you need a bedtime snack to prevent low blood sugar overnight. Protein snacks may be best.
Do not drink alcohol without eating food. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day and men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day. Family and friends should know how to help. They should know:
- The symptoms of low blood sugar and how to tell if you have them.
- How much and what kind of food they should give you.
- When to call for emergency help.
- How to inject glucagon, a hormone that increases your blood sugar. Your provider will tell you when to use this medicine.
If you have diabetes, always wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace. This helps emergency medical workers know you have diabetes.
For More Information About Diabetes
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The logbook will enable you and your doctor to modify treatments and actions to obtain the best management of your diabetes.
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Talk to your health care provider about the right glucose meter for you, and how to use it.
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How Is Hypoglycemia Diagnosed In A Child
The healthcare provider will ask about your childs symptoms and health history. He or she may also ask about your familys health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. Your child may also have blood tests to check blood sugar levels.
When a child with diabetes has symptoms of hypoglycemia, the cause is most often an insulin reaction.
For children with symptoms of hypoglycemia who dont have diabetes, the healthcare provider may:
Measure levels of blood sugar and different hormones while the child has symptoms
See if symptoms are relieved when the child eats food or sugar
Do tests to measure insulin action
Your child may need to do a supervised fasting study in the hospital. This lets healthcare providers test for hypoglycemia safely.
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General Information About Normal Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar, clinical name hypoglycemia, is a condition in which blood sugar levels in the body fall too low. Generally, a blood sugar level between 80 and 100 milligrams per deciliter is considered to be in normal range. When this level falls below 80, individuals may develop symptoms of low blood sugar.
This condition often occurs in people with diabetes, when they try to control high glucose levels and the level falls too low. However, low blood sugar can occur from other causes, such as going for long periods without eating, from certain medications and from specific medical conditions.
What Are The Complications Associated With Hypoglycemia
Its important to manage your hypoglycemia because it can cause long-term health problems. Your body needs glucose to function. Without the right level of glucose, your body will struggle to perform its normal functions. As a result, you may have difficulty thinking clearly and performing even simple tasks.
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What Is A High Blood Glucose Reading
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What Should I Do If I Have Symptoms Of A Low Blood Sugar Level
- Check your blood sugar level, if possible. Your blood sugar level is too low if it is at or below 70 mg/dL.
- Eat or drink 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate. Fast-acting carbohydrates will raise your blood sugar level quickly. Examples of 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates:
- 4 ounces of fruit juice
- 4 ounces of regular soda
- 2 tablespoons of raisins
- 1 tube of glucose gel or 3 to 4 glucose tablets
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Treating Low Blood Sugar At Night
There are two ranges of blood sugars to treat if your child is low because they need more carbohydrates if their blood sugar is less than 50.
Nighttime Low Blood Sugar Treatment For Children UNDER 5 Years Old:
|Blood Sugar 50 or less||Blood Sugar 51-100|
- Any 15 gram carbohydrate item
- 14 cup = 2 ounces
- 12 cup = 4 ounces
Do you still have questions about managing your childs blood sugar levels during the day or at night? Contact the diabetes team at Childrens Diabetes Center, Childrens Hospital & Medical Center at for more information about how to treat your childs blood sugar levels to keep them safe.
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What Are Clinical Trials For Low Blood Glucose
Clinical trialsand other types of clinical studiesare part of medical research and involve people like you. When you volunteer to take part in a clinical study, you help doctors and researchers learn more about disease and improve health care for people in the future.
Researchers are studying many aspects of low blood glucose levels in diabetes, such as
- how to diagnose and treat low blood glucose among people with diabetes
- medicines that can treat symptoms of low blood glucose in people with hypoglycemia unawareness
- educational approaches to reduce fear of low blood glucose, which can make it harder for you to control your diabetes
How To Treat Low Blood Sugar
If you think you have low blood sugar, be sure to check it.
Keeping your blood sugar levels on target as much as possible can help prevent or delay long-term, serious health problems. While this is important, closely managing your blood sugar levels also increases your chance for low blood sugar . Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low. If you think you have low blood sugar, check it. If you arent able to check it, go ahead and treat it.
Untreated low blood sugar can be dangerous, so its important to know what to do about it and to treat it immediately.
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Treatment For Reactive Hypoglycemia
Treatment depends on whatâs causing your hypoglycemia.
If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar levels. For people with diabetes, a reading below 70 mg/dL means youâre hypoglycemic.
Eat 15 grams of carbohydrates, then check your blood sugar after 15 minutes. If itâs still below 70 mg/dL, have another serving. Repeat until your blood sugar is at least 70 mg/dL. Talk to your doctor to see if you need a new treatment plan.
If you know the specific cause of your hypoglycemia, your doctor will treat that cause. For example, if a medicine or tumor is triggering your hypoglycemia, you may need a new drug or possibly surgery.
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What To Do If Blood Sugar Is Too High
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Signs That Blood Sugar Levels Are Low
There are a bunch of symptoms that someone with low blood sugar might have. It’s not the same for everybody. The symptoms are as minor as feeling hungry and as serious as having seizures or passing out. Have you ever had low blood sugar? If so, do you remember how it felt? Noticing those problems early can help you if it happens again.
If you have diabetes and you have low blood sugar, you may:
- feel hungry or have “hunger pains” in your stomach
- feel shaky or like you’re trembling
- have a rapid heart rate
- feel sweaty or have cold, clammy skin
- have pale, gray skin color
- have a headache
- be unsteady or stagger when walking
- have blurred or double vision
If you think your blood sugar level could be low, tell a parent, teacher, or whoever is taking care of you. An adult can help you test your blood and get you treatment so you start feeling better.
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