What Are The Signs Of Dangerously Low Blood Sugar
Severe hypoglycemia is an extreme case of low blood sugar that occurs when a persons body cant supply the brain with glucose to properly function. During severe hypoglycemia, you may experience more serious symptoms than you normally feel when you have low blood sugar. Symptoms of hypoglycemia often follow a progression:
Shakes, sweatiness, and elevated heart rate
Hunger and weakness
Loss of consciousness
Its important to take these signs seriously when they occur. In many cases, the release of body hormones such as adrenaline will signal that your glucose levels are trending low this is what causes initial symptoms. When the body doesnt release these hormones or respond to the warning signals of hypoglycemia, this is referred to as hypoglycemia unawareness. If you have hypoglycemia unawareness you may not notice or experience the early symptoms of low blood sugar. People with diabetes who experience this condition are at increased risk of prolonged low glucose levels and should talk to their healthcare team about changes to their diabetes treatment plan and wearing a continuous glucose monitor , which can provide them with real-time glucose readings and set off an alarm when their glucose levels are too high or low.
For a list of common symptoms of low blood sugar, click here.
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.
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.
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Check Your Blood Sugar Often
Talk with your provider about when you should check your blood sugar every day. People who have low blood sugar need to check their blood sugar more often.
The most common causes of low blood sugar are:
- Taking your insulin or diabetes medicine at the wrong time
- Taking too much insulin or diabetes medicine
- Taking insulin to correct high blood sugar without eating any food
- Not eating enough during meals or snacks after you have taken insulin or diabetes medicine
- Waiting too long after taking your medicine to eat your meals
- Exercising a lot or at a time that is unusual for you
- Not checking your blood sugar or not adjusting your insulin dose before exercising
- Drinking alcohol
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.
KJ Callihan is a freelance writer with a background in mental health and education. Her writing often covers product reviews and lists, animals and pet care, food and hospitality, health, wellness, and culture. When she isn’t crafting the perfect sentence, you may find her bingeing true crime documentaries, browsing mid-Michigan farmer’s markets, and tasting her son’s latest homemade cuisine
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.
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Any Concerns Call A Medical Professional
If you have any concerns over low levels with gestational diabetes then always seek advice from a medical professional.
If you experience any changes in babys movements as a result of low levels then you should always call your maternity assessment unit for advice.
For more information on your babys movements, please see Kicks Count website.
Why Do People With Diabetes Need To Track Blood Sugar Levels
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Educate lecturers, college personnel and different youngster care providers about taking care of your baby with kind 1 diabetes Whether you are newly recognized or have lived with diabetes for years, taking excellent care of your toes is essential Learn greatest practices .
Causes And Risk Factors Of Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia occurs when your blood sugar levels are less than or equal to 70 mg/dL and certain symptoms are present. It can be caused by a number of factors, depending on whether or not you also have diabetes.
Verywell / Theresa Chiechi
Here’s what you need to know about the causes and risk factors of hypoglycemia:
Recognizing Low Blood Sugar
Individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes learn to monitor their blood sugar levels closely. When blood sugar drops below normal levels, they learn to recognize the signs, such as dizziness or nausea. Diabetics often have a glucometer to determine if low blood sugar is the cause. Test strips can also determine if blood sugar levels have dropped too low. They can then take measures to raise their blood sugar to a normal range.
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How To Tell If Your Blood Sugar Is Low
Symptoms of hypoglycemia are different for everyone and can occur at different blood sugar levels.
Early-stage symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
- Increased heartbeat
- Confusion or irritability
Early symptoms may be subtle or hard to detect. Sometimes you may not experience any symptomsthis is known as hypoglycemia unawareness. People who have had diabetes for five to 10 years, who have low blood sugar often, or who take certain medications are more likely to have hypoglycemia unawareness. Hypoglycemia unawareness is also common for people who have nocturnal hypoglycemialow blood sugar in the middle of the night that often goes undetected.
Young children and the elderly are also vulnerable to low blood sugar because of their reduced ability to recognize symptoms and communicate them.
Not knowing you have low blood sugar can delay treatment, causing your blood sugar levels to drop to more dangerous levels.
The symptoms of later stages of hypoglycemia are more serious and obvious:
- Loss of coordination
- Loss of consciousness
If you have diabetes and are using insulin or taking other medications that can cause your blood sugar to drop, you should have access to a blood glucose monitor. People with diabetes also use various forms of continuous glucose monitors to track their blood sugar. If you suspect you have low blood sugar based on symptoms or your CGM is alerting you that your levels are low, you can test with the blood glucose monitor to confirm.
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How Do I Check My Blood Sugar
Checking your blood sugar is simple and can be done at home with the right equipment. The most traditional and effective way of doing so is with a glucose meter. You wash your hands to wash away germs, prick your finger with a needle, apply the blood from the pricked finger to a test strip and insert it into the machine. Your blood sugar level will appear on the meters display. Alternatively, there are a few modern methods that have been developed. They show results but are considered not to be as accurate as glucose meters.
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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 youre 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.
Can You Prevent Low Blood Sugar
Hypoglycemia might sound a little scary, so you might wonder if you can avoid it. No matter how well they take care of themselves, kids with diabetes will sometimes have low blood sugar levels. But taking these steps can help:
- Try to eat all your meals and snacks on time and dont skip any.
- Take the right amount of insulin.
- If you exercise longer or harder than usual, have an extra snack.
- Dont take a hot bath or shower right after an insulin shot.
- Stick to your diabetes management plan.
What else can you do? Wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace that says you have diabetes. Then, if you are not feeling well, whoevers helping you even if the person doesnt know you will know to call for medical help. Medical identification also can include your doctors phone number or a parents phone number. The quicker you get help, the quicker youll be feeling better.
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How Much Sugar To Get Diabetes
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Treatment For Low Blood Sugar Levels
For those with low blood sugar levels, management and treatment is a little easier to do yourself. If you find your blood sugar is too low and you notice symptoms, always seek medical attention. They will aid you with what necessary precautions to take if the reading is extremely low.
Most of the time, the following treatment methods are advised to do at home yourself. Having a sugary drink or snack can help increase blood sugar levels and balance out and improve any symptoms. Even a small juice of juice or sweets can improve weakness and similar symptoms.
After youve consumed a sugary drink or snack, it is recommended to test your blood sugar level again. If it has increased and you feel better then you should consume a carbohydrate containing meal, such as bread, biscuits or milk. It is advised to eat a small meal to prevent any further drop in blood sugar.
For normal people without diabetes, it is sometimes advised to consume daily supplements that are beneficial for increasing insulin sensitivity and balancing your blood, its sugars and pressures. You can seek medical advice for those from a doctor. Some options may include supplements such as Garcinia Cambogia, which has shown results for increasing insulin sensitivity.
You may be wondering exactly how you can read and calculate your blood sugar level, as it advised to do so for both treatments. If you wish to calculate your blood sugar level, here is how to do so:
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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.
How To Treat Severe Lows With Emergency Glucagon
Every emergency hypoglycemia kit should include glucose tablets or sugary snacks, glucagon, a glucose monitor , and emergency contact information. Emergency glucagon is available by prescription and can be injected or administered by nasal spray.
If you are a parent or caregiver for a child with diabetes, talk to their healthcare professional about the correct dose of emergency glucagon for children.
The recent development of ready-to-use and premixed glucagon has made it easier to administer rescue glucagon quickly and effectively in emergency situations. These next-generation glucagon options can save care-partners time, particularly if the person with severe hypoglycemia has lost consciousness.
To learn more about how to prepare for low blood sugar events, read Hypoglycemia Preparedness: How to Know Before You Go Low.” Read Lets Talk About the Lows for tips for communicating with loved ones about low blood sugar emergencies.
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