How Is Hypoglycemia Treated
When your blood sugar levels are too low, eating 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 are:
- hard candies
- jelly beans or gumdrops
- fresh or dried fruit
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.
Be sure not to overeat. This could lead to blood sugar levels that are too high.
If your blood sugar remains unresponsive, contact your doctor or emergency services right away. When in doubt, treat.
Symptoms of low blood sugar usually get worse if theyre left untreated. Make an appointment to see your doctor if you have diabetes and experience low blood sugar levels often, or if you have symptoms, even if you dont have diabetes.
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
Insulin Is The Fastest Way To Lower Blood Sugar
Michael Menna, DO, is a board-certified, active attending emergency medicine physician at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York.
High blood sugar is common in people with diabetes. It occurs when there is too much glucose in your blood and not enough insulin in your body. The quickest way to lower high blood sugar is an insulin injection.
For those who are not prescribed insulin, exercise is your best option for bringing blood sugar levels down. Taking missed medication, drinking lots of water, and using stress-management tools can also help to lower blood sugar quickly.
This article discusses the four best ways to lower your blood sugar quickly. It also explains what causes high blood sugar and warning signs that your blood sugar is dangerouly high.
Verywell / Theresa Chiechi
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What Causes Low Blood Sugar
There are different causes of hypoglycemia, such as:
Too much insulin: Injecting insulin lowers blood sugar more quickly than any other diabetes medication. The risk of low blood sugar is highest with short- and rapid-acting insulins. Fast-acting insulin is usually taken around meals because eating raises blood sugar, so it works quickly to counteract the rise in blood sugar. Taking short- and rapid-acting insulins without eating may result in a hypo.
Long-acting or basal insulin works the slowest out of all of the types of insulin. It is usually injected once or twice a day. Long-acting insulin mimics the bodys natural ability to constantly release a small amount of insulin throughout the day and night.
Intermediate-acting insulin works more slowly than fast-acting but is faster than basal insulin. They are often injected twice per day.
Insulin doses can overlap, which increases the risk of hypoglycemia. For example, taking a morning dose of intermediate-acting insulin as well as a dose of rapid-acting insulin before lunch can cause a stacking up of insulin levels in the body and increase the risk of a hypo.
- Gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is the slowing of stomach emptying, which can occur as a complication of diabetes. When food isnt emptied from the stomach very quickly, it isnt available to be digested and converted into sugar in the bloodstream. Hypoglycemia risk increases in people with gastroparesis who also take insulin.
How To Treat Low Blood Sugar At Night
Having a low blood sugar at night is the worst. THE WORST! If you are treating your diabetes with insulin, you know what Im talking about. That feeling when you wake up in the middle of the night soaked in sweat and shaking due to low blood sugar.
Your whole body goes into stress mode, and all you can think about is EATING! I absolutely hate it, so I wanted to share my approach on how to treat low blood sugar at night with you guys.
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Insufficient Sleep Can Throw Blood Sugar Out Of Whack
Restless nights hurt more than your mood and energy they may also spell trouble for your blood sugar. A review published in December 2015 in Diabetes Therapy concluded that a lack of sleep may hinder glucose control and insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes.
âSleep is restorative,â Bonsignore says. âNot getting enough sleep is a form of chronic stress on the body, and anytime you have added stress, youâre going to have higher blood sugar levels.â
Unfortunately, people with type 2 diabetes commonly report troubles sleeping, McDermott says. Those with high body-mass indexes are at particular risk for sleep apnea, in which breathing frequently starts and stops during sleep.
To improve your sleep quality and duration, work to get into a consistent sleep routine where you go to bed and wake at the same time every day. Your goal: Nab seven to nine hours of sleep per night, per recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation. If you continue to have sleep troubles or suspect you have sleep apnea , reach out to a sleep medicine specialist for support, Bonsignore says.
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What Results Should You Expect From A Hypoglycemia Diet
Following a diet geared towards preventing diabetes, hypoglycemia offers many benefits, including improved blood glucose levels and reduced incidence of severe hypoglycemia.
Those taking insulin should be assured they are eating in the best way possible to prevent complications from hypoglycemia.
While a hypoglycemia diet is healthy and balanced, its not intended as a weight-loss diet.
However, if someone makes changes, such as reducing added sugar intake and increasing fiber, then weight loss could be a secondary outcome.
How long does it take for a hypoglycemia diet to be effective?
Eating in a way to prevent hypoglycemia should be effective almost immediately.
If a person were skipping meals, drinking sugary drinks, and having unbalanced meals, the correction of these issues would become clear quickly after adopting healthier eating habits.
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What Causes A Low Blood Sugar Level
In people with diabetes, the main causes of a low blood sugar level are:
- the effects of medicine especially taking too much insulin, medicines called sulfonylureas , medicines called glinides , or some antiviral medicines to treat hepatitis C
- skipping or delaying a meal
- not eating enough carbohydrate foods in your last meal, such as bread, cereals, pasta, potatoes and fruit
- exercise, especially if it’s intense or unplanned
- drinking alcohol
Sometimes there’s no obvious reason why a low blood sugar level happens.
Very occasionally, it can happen in people who do not have diabetes.
Treating Low Blood Sugars Quickly And Accurately
Its easy to panic when having a low glucose. Your heart is racing, your body is pumping out adrenaline, and your stomach says Feed me! FEED ME!!! Your brain isnt working logically, and if you live alone you may be afraid if you dont eat that chocolate cake, you might pass out and not wake up.
But binging to correct lows only causes rebound highs. Your body will also be raising your blood glucose by releasing stored glucose from the liver. Dual responses from you and your liver keep the roller coaster going. So eat quickly, but restrain yourself from piling on more carbs in a binge til you stop shaking routine. If you are on an AID, remember that your basal delivery has been reduced for some time beforehand, reducing the number of carbs that you need for treatment.
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What Is Normal Blood Sugar
When we eat, glucose — which is our body’s main source of energy — enters our bloodstream from our food. Then our pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin in just the right amount to help the glucose go from the bloodstream to our body’s various cells to be used as energy. This process usually keeps the glucose in our bloodstream in a healthy range, being neither too high, nor too low.
This range is measured in milligrams of blood glucose per deciliter, or mg/dL. Dr. Saleh Aldasouqi, Chief of Endocrinology at Michigan State University, explains to CNET: “Normal blood sugar is defined as anywhere from 70 to 110 mg/dL within a healthy physiology, as a person without diabetes or other related diagnosed condition. Sugar below 70 is generally considered low, and above 110 is considered high .”
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
- Skipping meals
- 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
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When To Call 911
Your friend, relative, or coworker should call 911 for help if:
- You pass out and no glucagon is available
- You need a second dose of glucagon
- You had glucagon, but are still confused
- Your blood sugar stays too low 20 minutes after treatment or doesnt respond to your usual treatments
The emergency medical technicians can give you IV sugar . This raises your blood sugar level right away. You might need to stay in the hospital for a few hours.
NEVER be afraid to call 911 or ask someone to call 911 for you if you are concerned .
Other things to know about hypoglycemia:
It takes time for blood sugar to rise after eating, and its important to give your first treatment time to work. Use the table above to guide your treatment and timing instead of eating until you feel better, which will almost always lead to eating too much.
Hypoglycemia can be common with certain types of exercise. Managing blood sugar during and after physical activity is important and is something that a lot of people with T1D have questions about. JDRF has a number of resources available for people with T1D and their families, many of which can be found here.
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
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What Causes Low Blood Glucose
- Symptoms occur when blood glucose levels fall below 70 mg/dl a condition known as hypoglycemia.
- In most cases, low blood glucose results from overtreatment: Either taking too much diabetes medication or not eating enough food. Higher doses of medicine than the person actually requires can also lead to hypoglycemia.
- People who aim for too-low values on their A1C test tend to experience more frequent drops in blood glucose.
- Vigorous exercise doesn’t just burn calories, it also burns blood glucose! Hypoglycemia can occur unless blood glucose levels are carefully monitored during and after exercise.
- Not eating on a regular basis can deprive the body of glucose and make it difficult to prevent hypoglycemia. Eat balanced meals throughout the day and always keep a snack on hand.
How To Prevent Low Blood Sugars In The Future
There is probably no way to completely eliminate low blood sugars at night, but I have learned how to limit them quite a bit. What I do is pretty simple I try to learn from my mistakes. If I have a low during the night, Ill go back and see how my bolus and basal patterns were the day before, what I ate, and what I did.
For example, my last low blood sugar was at 4 am a few nights ago, and when I went back and analyzed the data, this is what I found:
Since it was 4 am and my last snack was at 11 pm, the low couldnt be due to my last bolus. I also hadnt changed my basal amount. However, I had moved my workout to later in the evening. So my conclusion was that to limit future nighttime lows, I should take less basal insulin before I go to bed if I work out later in the evening. Thats a pretty easy fix. I reduced my nightly basal and now Im sleeping through the night again and waking up with perfect sugars.
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What Medicine Is Used For Type 2 Diabetes Besides Metformin And Glipizide
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How Do I Treat Low Blood Glucose
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
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Signs Of Low Blood Sugar
With hypoglycemia, the blood sugar falls below the normal, healthy levels mentioned earlier, which can occur for a variety of reasons.
“Although some people with blood sugar problems may not experience symptoms,” Dr. Aldasouqi continued, “there are some key things to look out for. For those with low blood sugar, someone might have symptoms like anxiety, sweating, increased heart rate, confusion, and may go into what is called ‘a hypoglycemic coma’… The term ‘diabetic coma’ is also used by some.”
Other symptoms of low blood sugar may include:
- Tingling or numb lips, tongue or cheek
- Blurry vision