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What Constitutes Low Blood Sugar

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Treating An Episode Of Hypoglycaemia

Healthy Eating & Living : What Is Low Blood Sugar?

The immediate treatment for hypoglycaemia is to have some sugary food or drink to end the attack.

For example, this could be:

  • a glass of fruit juice or non-diet soft drink
  • between three and five dextrose tablets
  • a handful of sweets

At first you should avoid fatty foods and drinks, such as chocolate and milk, because they don’t usually contain as much sugar and the sugar they do contain may be absorbed more slowly.

After having something sugary, you should have a longer-acting carbohydrate food, such as a few biscuits, a cereal bar, a piece of fruit or a sandwich.

It will usually take around 15 minutes to recover from a mild episode of hypoglycaemia. If you have a blood glucose meter, measure your blood sugar again after 15 to 20 minutes. If it’s still too low , you should have some more sugary food or a drink before testing;your levels;again in another 15 to 20;minutes.

When treating someone else with hypoglycaemia, if the above treatment isn’t effective, you may be able to help them by applying glucose gel to the inside of their cheeks, and gently massaging the outside of their cheeks.

It may take 10 to 15 minutes before they feel better. This shouldn’t be done if the person is drowsy or unconscious because of the risk of choking.

How To Help Others Help You

Knowing the signs of low blood sugar, having an action plan, and being prepared with your glucose meter and glucose tablets are vital, but sometimes you might need to rely on other people to help when youre blood sugar drops too low. Take these additional steps so youre prepared and they are, too:

Teach your loved ones.;If youre unable to help yourself, friends, family, or colleagues may need to treat you with an injection of glucagon, a hormone that tells your liver to release stored glucose, the American Diabetes Association says. For this reason, its a good idea to teach those close to you what to do. If they dont know how to give you the injection or if glucagon isnt available, they must call 911 and get you the help you need, Evans says. Low blood sugar thats sustained for a prolonged time can lead to irreversible brain damage, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Wear an ID bracelet.;Evan suggests that everyone with;diabetes;should get a tattoo or wear a medical ID bracelet. The bracelet should say diabetes and whether youre on;insulin;or take other medications, the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston recommends.

Talk to your doctor about your low blood sugar risk.;If you have frequent bouts of hypoglycemia, be sure to talk with your doctor. The solution may be as simple as changing how much or the kind of diabetes medicine you take. However,;never make any changes to your medication regimen;without your doctors approval.

American Diabetes Association Diet Plan Food Recommendation

The following foods are considered to be most helpful for diabetics:

  • All kinds of beans green and black beans, pinto beans and navy beans. Beans are full of protein and energy. One half cup of beans contains equal protein to that in an ounce of meat.
  • Berries raspberries, blueberries and strawberries are full of antioxidants, vitamins and fibers.
  • Whole grains avoid flours that are processed too much and instead go for the less processed forms like whole wheat and whole grain options.

Tomatoes are good antioxidants and are very versatile since you can simply eat them as they are, peel or slice them, and even add them as toppings in your food. These are rich in iron, Vitamin C and E, and are good for your heart as well.

The bottom-line.

Monitoring your blood sugar levels alongside exercise and diet can help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Other strategies that can help prevent high blood sugar include:

  • taking the amount of insulin prescribed by your doctor if you have type 1 diabetes,

Also Check: What Number Is Considered Low For Blood Sugar

Ut University Health Services

  • dizzy
  • confused

For some people, a blood sugar below 90 mg/dL can make them feel like this. For others, it takes a lower blood sugar to cause these symptoms.

You must watch your blood sugar level closely. Regular testing of your blood sugar may allow you to detect and treat hypoglycemia before it causes serious symptoms. You may be able to prevent ever having low blood sugar.

Some high blood pressure medicines called beta blockers hide the symptoms of hypoglycemia. If you are taking medicine for high blood pressure, ask your healthcare provider if the medicines you are taking could have this effect.

You should know the difference between the symptoms of low blood sugar and high blood sugar . High blood sugar doesn’t always cause symptoms, but when it does the symptoms may include blurry vision, extreme thirst, and a lot of urination.

After You Have Low Blood Sugar

Effects of Low Blood Sugar on the Body

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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What Should I Do If My Blood Sugar Gets Too High

High blood sugar is also called hyperglycemia . It means that your blood sugar level is higher than your target level or over 180. Having high blood sugar levels over time can lead to long-term, serious health problems.

If you feel very tired, thirsty, have blurry vision, or need to pee more often, your blood sugar may be high.

Check your blood sugar and see if it is above your target level or over 180. If it is too high, one way to lower it is to drink a large glass of water and exercise by taking a brisk walk. Call your health care team if your blood sugar is high more than 3 times in 2 weeks and you dont know why.

What Are Target Blood Sugar Levels For People With Diabetes

A target is something that you aim for or try to reach. Your health care team may also use the term goal. People with diabetes have blood sugar targets that they try to reach at different times of the day. These targets are:

  • Right before your meal: 80 to 130
  • Two hours after the start of the meal: Below 180

Talk with your health care team about what blood sugar numbers are right for you.

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Treating Severely 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:

How Long Will The Effects Last

What is Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)?

The effects of low blood sugar will continue and may even get worse until treatment brings your blood sugar level back to normal. It may take several minutes for the symptoms to go away after you start treatment. This may be a temporary problem while you and your healthcare provider are adjusting your medicine. If you are always prone to having low blood sugar, you may need to take special care for the rest of your life to keep your blood sugar at the proper level.

Also Check: How To Stop Sugar Cravings And Lose Weight

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.

S For Treating A Person With Symptoms Keeping Them From Being Able To Treat Themselves

  • If the glucagon is injectable, inject it into the buttock, arm or thigh, following the instructions in the kit. If your glucagon is inhalable, follow the instructions on the package to administer it into the nostril.
  • When the person regains consciousness , they may experience nausea and vomiting.;
  • Dont hesitate to call 911. If someone is unconscious and glucagon is not available or someone does not know how to use it, call 911 immediately.

    Do NOT:

    • Inject insulin
    • Provide food or fluids

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    Hypoglycemia And Low Blood Sugar

    What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia? While each child may experience symptoms of hypoglycemia differently, the most common include: shakiness dizziness sweating hunger headache irritability pale skin color sudden moodiness or behavior changes, such as crying for no apparent reason clumsy or jerky movements difficulty paying attention or confusion What causes hypoglycemia? The vast majority of episodes of hypoglycemia in children and adolescents occur when a child with diabetes takes too much insulin, eats too little, or exercises strenuously or for a prolonged period of time. For young children who do not have diabetes, hypoglycemia may be caused by: Single episodes: Stomach flu, or another illness that may cause them to not eat enough fasting for a prolonged period of time prolonged strenuous exercise and lack of food Recurrent episodes: accelerated starvation, also known as ketotic hypoglycemia, a tendency for children without diabetes, or any other known cause of hypoglycemia, to experience repeated hypoglycemic episodes. medications your child may be taking a congenital error in metabolism or unusual disorder such as hypopituitarism or hyperinsulinism.Continue reading >>

    How Do I Treat An Episode Of Hypoglycemia

    Hypoglycemia Low Blood Sugar in Adults

    The American Diabetes Association recommends the 15-15 rule for an episode of hypoglycemia:

    • Eat or drink 15 grams of carbs to raise your blood sugar.
    • After 15 minutes, check your blood sugar.
    • If its still below 70 mg/dL, have another 15 grams of carbs.
    • Repeat until your blood sugar is at least 70 mg/dL.

    If you have symptoms of hypoglycemia but cant test your blood sugar, use the 15-15 rule until you feel better.

    Note: Children need fewer grams of carbs. Check with your healthcare provider.

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    Exams And Tests For Hypoglycemia

    The doctor will assess the adequacy of the patient’s medications. Changes in eating habits or in their medication regimen may be recommended. A blood test known as the hemoglobin A1c may be performed to assess the patient’s blood sugar control over the past three-month period.

    Kidney function and liver function may be checked. If low sugar is unexplained, then further tests are indicated to assess adrenal gland function and to rule out insulinoma or other problems as causes of hypoglycemia.

    Causes Of High Blood Sugar

    High blood sugar can be caused by various conditions, including:

    • Gestational diabetes which occurs when high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance appear during pregnancy. If this happens, the mother should be closely monitored as high blood sugar levels during pregnancy can lead to various complications for the baby and the mother as well.
    • Type 1 diabetes where the immune system launches an attack on insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. As a result, insulin production is reduced or stopped and the blood glucose levels rise. People diagnosed with type 1 diabetes regulate their blood sugar level by taking insulin through a pen, insulin pump, or needle. According to the American Diabetes Association, only 5% of people with diabetes have type 1 Diabetes.
    • Type 2 diabetes where the pancreas produces insulin but the body does not use it properly. In this case, the body is unable to use insulin to keep blood glucose level steady . If you have type 2 diabetes, you may need to make exercise or diet changes, or take pills or insulin to help manage your blood sugar levels.
    • Cystic fibrosis: Studies suggest there may be a link between cystic fibrosis and diabetes
    • Medications: Certain steroids and beta blockers can raise blood sugar levels.

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    Slurred Speech And Clumsiness

    Your sugar-starved brain may change the way you sound. Slurred speech is a common symptom associated with blood sugar levels that drop below 40 mg/dL, according to University of Michigan Health Systems. Combined with clumsiness another sign of low blood sugar ;you may seem as though you’ve had a few too many cocktails, even if you haven’t touched a drop, according to the National Health Service.

    For more on managing low blood sugar, check out Diabetes Daily’s article “How to Treat Lows Without Sabotaging Your Diet!

    Examples Of Appropriate Snacks May Be:

    All About Low Blood Sugar! (Part 1)
    • 6 saltine crackers
    • 1 slice toast and 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 cup milk

    The food eaten for a reaction need not be subtracted from a meal plan.

    Obtain a blood sugar when symptoms occur if you are able. If symptoms are severe, treat the reaction first and then obtain a blood sugar. Do not drive nor operate equipment if you feel your blood sugar is low.

    If your blood sugar drops low enough for you to become unconscious, you must be taken to the hospital and/or treated with glucagon.

    Glucagon is a hormone that causes the blood sugar to rise. It can only be given by injection. It is used to treat a low blood sugar if a person becomes semi-conscious or unconscious due to a severe low blood sugar. Please ask your nurse for instruction on glucagon. Your doctor will need to write a prescription for glucagon so you can have it available at home.

    Also Check: How To Manage High Blood Sugar Levels

    If A Person Is Unconscious

    If a person loses consciousness;because of;severe hypoglycaemia, they need to be put into the;recovery position and given an injection of the hormone glucagon;. The injection will raise their blood glucose level.

    The injection should be carried out by a friend or family member who knows what they’re doing, or by a trained healthcare professional.

    You should dial 999 to request an ambulance if:

    • a glucagon injection kit isn’t available
    • there’s nobody available who’s trained to give the injection
    • the injection is ineffective after 10 minutes

    Never try to put food or drink into the mouth of someone who’s unconscious as;they could choke.

    If you’re able to give a glucagon injection and the person regains consciousness, they should;eat some longer-acting carbohydrate food, such as a few biscuits, a cereal bar or a sandwich.

    You should continue to monitor the person for signs of recurring symptoms;in case they need to be treated again.

    What Causes Low Blood Glucose In People With Diabetes

    Low blood glucose levels can be a side effect of insulin or some other medicines that help your pancreas release insulin into your blood. Taking these can lower your blood glucose level.

    Two types of diabetes pills can cause low blood glucose

    • sulfonylureas, usually taken once or twice per day, which increase insulin over several hours
    • meglitinides, taken before meals to promote a short-term increase in insulin

    The following may also lower your blood glucose level

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    Satisfy Your Cravings With Fruits

    Keep some low-carb fruit on hand to satisfy your sweet tooth. Avocados, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb, coconut, watermelon and grapefruit are just a few examples. These delicious low-sugar foods are filling and full of flavor and you can enjoy them without guilt.

    One cup of strawberries, for instance, provides 48.9 calories, 1 gram of protein, 0.5 gram of fat and 11.7 grams of carbs, including 3 grams of fiber and 7.4 grams of sugars. Avocado is even lower in carbs. One cup has 240 calories, 3 grams of protein, 22 grams of fat and 12.8 grams of carbs, including 1 gram of sugar and 10.1 grams of fiber; if you subtract the fiber, you have 2.7 grams of net carbs.

    Read more:10 Reasons to Not Cut Carbs Completely Out of Your Diet

    There are many other low-sugar foods you can include in your diet. Cruciferous veggies, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds, Greek yogurt and dark chocolate are just a few to mention. Snack on almonds or hard boiled eggs between meals, start your day with a high-protein breakfast and re-create your favorite recipes using low-carb ingredients like stevia, raw cocoa, flax meal or coconut flour.

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