Monday, October 3, 2022

Is Low Blood Sugar Bad For You

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No Symptoms Be Alarmed

The Best Ways to Treat a Low Blood Sugar

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 it’s 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.

How Can I Help If I Think Someone Is Having A Hypo

The symptoms of hypos can often be mistaken for drunkenness. So if you see someone acting oddly, especially if you know or suspect they have diabetes, check if they have:

  • A medical alert bracelet or similar.
  • An insulin pen or syringe, or glucose testing kit.
  • Glucose gel or sugary sweets.

Then:

  • Help them sit down quietly.
  • If they have their own glucose gel, help them take it.
  • Otherwise, give them sugary sweets, two teaspoons of sugar, or a glass of sugary drink or fruit juice .
  • Keep a careful eye on their level of responsiveness, breathing and pulse.
  • If they get better, make sure they check their blood glucose.
  • If they don’t improve, call 999.

What Else Can I Do To Help Manage My Blood Sugar Levels

Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular physical activity can all help. Other tips include:

  • Keep track of your blood sugar levels to see what makes them go up or down.
  • Eat at regular times, and dont skip meals.
  • Choose foods lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
  • Track your food, drink, and physical activity.
  • Drink water instead of juice or soda.
  • Limit alcoholic drinks.
  • For a sweet treat, choose fruit.
  • Control your food portions .

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Is There A Test To Diagnose Prediabetes

There are three blood tests that can diagnose prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Hemoglobin A1c

  • Hemoglobin A1c measures the average blood sugar over the last 3 months. It is a measure of how much sugar is attached to your red blood cells.
  • A pre-diabetes level is 5.7% and 6.4%.
  • An HbA1c > 6.5% is considered a diabetes glucose level.

Fasting blood sugar levels

  • Fasting blood sugar or serum glucose is a measure of your blood sugar first thing in the morning before you have eaten anything.
  • Prediabetes also can be identified with serum glucose, or blood sugar level. A fasting blood sugar test of 100-125 mg/dl indicates prediabetes.

Oral glucose tolerance test

  • Prediabetes and diabetes also can be diagnosed with an oral glucose tolerance test. This test measures how high blood sugar levels get at fixed time intervals after consuming a high sugar content beverage. This test is most commonly used to diagnose diabetes related to pregnancy .

Prediabetes glucose levels are shown here in a chart of normal, prediabetes, and diabetes lab test numbers so you can make comparisons.

Prediabetes Chart

The best foods for prediabetes are

  • healthy proteins and fats,
  • some fruits, and
  • some low glycemic index carbohydrates like quinoa, oatmeal, and brown rice.

The foods to eat for prediabetes are real foods in their natural or whole form. There needs to be a balance of fat, protein, and carbohydrate. Drinking lots of water or unsweetened tea also is important.

Food to avoid for prediabetes management

How To Treat It

What is Low Blood Sugar?

If you have hypoglycemia, you need to have food or a drink that is a fast-acting carbohydrate. Good sources include fruit juice, regular soda, glucose tablets, or glucose gel. A good rule of thumb is to eat or drink 15 grams of carbohydrate, wait 15 minutes, and then test your blood again. If your blood glucose is still lower than 70 mg/dl, take another 15 grams and test again 15 minutes later. Although you may feel like you want to eat more, be aware that eating too much can send your glucose too high.

CARBS IN A HURRY

There are about 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate in:

  • 4 ounces of juice or soda

  • 8 ounces of skim milk

  • 56 Life Savers candies

If you use glucose tabs or gel, check the package, because doses vary from brand to brand.

A person who passes out from hypoglycemia should not be given food or drink. Instead, he or she needs a shot of glucagon. If your health care provider thinks that you may be at risk of a severe low, you will be given a prescription for a glucagon kit, which you should have with you at all times. Your friends, family, and other people around you, like a coworker or coach, will need to learn how to give you a glucagon shot if you are unable to treat yourself. If you have a severe low and glucagon is not available, someone must call 911.

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How Is Hypoglycemia Treated

When your blood sugar levels are too low, eating something made of carbohydrates is key. If you have diabetes, try to keep high-carbohydrate snacks on hand.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that your snack have at least 15 grams of carbohydrates. Some good snacks to keep on hand include:

  • glucose tablets
  • honey or table sugar
  • jelly beans or gum drops

You also can take glucose tablets to rapidly raise your blood sugar if its low. These are available without a prescription. Its important to check how many grams are in each tablet before taking them. Aim to get 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrates.

Wait 15 minutes after eating or taking a glucose tablet, and test your blood sugar again. If your blood sugar is not going up, eat another 15 grams of carbohydrates or take another dose of glucose tablets. Repeat this until your blood sugar level starts to rise.

If your regularly scheduled meal is not for a while, eat a small snack after the low blood sugar episode.

Be sure not to overeat! This could lead to blood sugar levels that are too high.

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.

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Low Blood Sugar And Chronic Kidney Disease

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis from a physician.

The most common cause of kidney disease is diabetes. The bodies of people with diabetes do not use the hormone insulin properly or does not make insulin at all, so insulin injections or other diabetes medications are required. Because insulin helps keep the amount of sugar in the blood at a normal level, people with diabetes are at risk for both low blood sugar and high blood sugar , especially when there are changes in diet, activity or medications. Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low.

Kidney disease and the risk for low blood sugar

The greatest risk of low blood sugar occurs in someone who has both chronic kidney disease and diabetes. Whether or not someone has diabetes, a person with CKD is at risk for low blood sugar because of changes in appetite and meal routine. When kidney function declines insulin and other diabetes medications remain in the system longer because of decreased kidney clearance. For a person with diabetes, insulin and other diabetes medications that lower blood sugar may require an adjustment to prevent low blood sugar.

Causes of low blood sugar

Common causes of low blood sugar include:

People with chronic kidney disease sometimes experience a loss of appetite that can lead to skipping meals or not eating enough. This often causes a drop in blood sugar.

Symptoms of low blood sugar

  • Headache

What Should I Do If My Blood Sugar Gets Too Low

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Low blood sugar is also called hypoglycemia . It means your blood sugar level drops below 70. Having low blood sugar is dangerous and needs to be treated right away. Anyone with diabetes can have low blood sugar. You have a greater chance of having low blood sugar if you take insulin or certain pills for diabetes.

Carry supplies for treating low blood sugar with you. If you feel shaky, sweaty, or very hungry, check your blood sugar. Even if you feel none of these things, but think you may have low blood sugar, check it.

If your meter shows that your blood sugar is lower than 70, do one of the following things right away:

  • chew 4 glucose tablets
  • drink 4 ounces of fruit juice
  • drink 4 ounces of regular soda, not diet soda or
  • chew 4 pieces of hard candy

After taking one of these treatments, wait for 15 minutes, then check your blood sugar again. Repeat these steps until your blood sugar is 70 or above. After your blood sugar gets back up to 70 or more, eat a snack if your next meal is 1 hour or more away.

If you often have low blood sugar, check your blood sugar before driving and treat it if it is low.

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Listen To Your Doctor

If you follow a meal plan or take medications that increase insulin to manage low blood sugar, its important to stick to the plan your doctor prescribed to help prevent drops in your blood sugar level.

Not eating the right foods or taking the right medications at the right times can cause your blood sugar to drop. Check in often with your doctor so they can adjust your treatment plan if and when necessary.

Signs And Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar

Each person’s reaction to low blood sugar is different. Learn your own signs and symptoms of when your blood sugar is low. Taking time to write these symptoms down may help you learn your own symptoms of when your blood sugar is low. From milder, more common indicators to most severe, signs and symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • Feeling shaky
  • Color draining from the skin
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Feeling weak or having no energy
  • Blurred/impaired vision
  • Tingling or numbness in the lips, tongue or cheeks
  • Headaches
  • Nightmares or crying out during sleep
  • Seizures

The only sure way to know whether you are experiencing low blood sugar is to check your blood sugar, if possible. If you are experiencing symptoms and you are unable to check your blood sugar for any reason, treat the hypoglycemia.

A low blood sugar level triggers the release of epinephrine , the fight-or-flight hormone. Epinephrine is what can cause the symptoms of hypoglycemia such as thumping heart, sweating, tingling and anxiety.

If the blood sugar level continues to drop, the brain does not get enough glucose and stops functioning as it should. This can lead to blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, confused thinking, slurred speech, numbness, and drowsiness. If blood sugar stays low for too long, starving the brain of glucose, it may lead to seizures, coma and very rarely death.

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How Can I Prevent Low Blood Sugar

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.

Avoiding The Blood Sugar Slump

What Is Diabetic Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar Levels ...

While giving in to your craving for a Snickers might seem like the right thing to do when youâre in the midst of a blood sugar crash, your sugary snack will only give you a temporary fix before leaving you feeling low again. The best way to dodge a sugar slump is to avoid the foods that cause them. Instead, pick foods that keep your blood sugar relatively steady.

Avoiding sugary drinks and snacks is probably sound advice for everyone seeking better control over their blood sugar. But some experts advise highly restrictive diets that limit all carbohydrates. However, studies have shown that diets high in carbohydrates from plants can improve blood sugar control after eating by increasing the activity of gut microbes, which protect against unhealthy blood sugar reactions.

Rather than avoiding certain food groups, like carbohydrates, we advise eating a varied diet tailored to your unique biology. After all, our PREDICT-1 study has shown us that the same foods can cause different blood sugar responses in different people, so there is no one-size-fits-all advice for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.

To understand what causes your sugar crashes, and how you can avoid them and maintain your energy levels, you need to know how YOUR body responds to food. You are unique, and your diet should be too.

But how can you know what foods are best for your body? That’s where the ZOE program comes in.

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Pay Attention To Volume

Resist grabbing a whole bag of chips or other food to snack on. Measuring out portions and choosing small plates to help with portion control are mindful eating habits to work on developing.

Once youve finished one helping, give yourself time before going back for a second. You may even want to try another stress-relieving technique, like deep breathing, in the meantime.

What About Exercise And Prediabetes

All exercise helps reverse prediabetes by using up sugar in the bloodstream and improving insulin sensitivity. An exercise plan should focus on two things:

  • Be physically active every day. This could be a walk after dinner, doing yard work or gardening, playing with the kids, swimming, biking, dancing, etc. Tracking the number of steps you take each day with a smartphone or fitness tracker can be very helpful.
  • Focus on building more muscle a few times a week.
  • Increasing muscle strength makes the cells of the muscle “hungrier , and that equals a healthier metabolism. You can build muscle by using weights, your own body weight, or resistance bands. If you choose weight training start slowly, and ask for help using the equipment safely and properly. Begin with low weights, and gradually work up to heavier weights. Lifting one round of heavy weights for only 6-8 repetitions has more benefit than one round of light weights for 10 or more repetitions. If you can do more than 10 repetitions, add more weight.

    This plan also is great if you are in a hurry. You can complete a full workout in just 20 minutes twice a week. Work up to this gradually to avoid injury.

    And, as always check with your health-care professional before starting any exercise program and get help using equipment properly to avoid injury.

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    How Can I Check My Blood Sugar

    Use a blood sugar meter or a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, youll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.

    Treating Severely Low Blood Sugar

    How To Treat Low Blood Sugar

    Blood sugar below 55 mg/dL is considered severely low. You wont be able to treat it using the 15-15 rule. You also may not be able to check your own blood sugar or treat it by yourself, depending on your symptoms. Make sure your family members, friends, and caregivers know your signs of low blood sugar so they can help treat it if needed.

    Injectable glucagon is the best way to treat severely low blood sugar. A glucagon kit is available by prescription. Speak with your doctor to see if you should have a kit. Be sure to learn how and when to use it. Let family members and others close to you know where you keep the glucagon kit and make sure theyve been trained in how to use it too.

    Its important to contact a doctor for emergency medical treatment immediately after receiving a glucagon injection. If a person faints due to severely low blood sugar, theyll usually wake up within 15 minutes after a glucagon injection. If they dont wake up within 15 minutes after the injection, they should receive one more dose. When the person is awake and able to swallow:

    • Feed the person a fast-acting source of sugar .
    • Then, have them eat a long-acting source of sugar .

    Its also important that friends, family, co-workers, teachers, coaches, and other people you may be around often know how to test your blood sugar and treat severely low blood sugar before it happens.

    If any of the following happens, your friend, relative, or helper should call 911:

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