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What Do I Do If My Blood Sugar Is Low

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When Are Hypoglycemia And Hyperglycemia An Emergency

Insulin Questions: How do I treat my low blood sugar?

Mild hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia are usually treatable at home.

If you have mild hypoglycemia, consuming a small amount of glucose can quickly raise your blood sugar.

If you skipped a dose of medication and have symptoms of mild hyperglycemia, taking your insulin or diabetes medication can help stabilize your blood sugar level.

Hypoglycemia is an emergency if you experience confusion, blurry vision, or seizures.

Hyperglycemia is an emergency if you have:

  • shortness of breath

What Are The Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar

Its important to recognize the signs and symptoms of blood sugar dropping quickly.

These symptoms could include:

  • An accelerated heartbeat

When someone experiences a low blood sugar , their brain tells their body they need to eat. The tendency to eat until we feel well may fix the low blood sugar, but it may also be too much of a sugar intake that will require additional insulin later. This is why its important to be aware of carbohydrate intake.

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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
  • Check your blood sugar level 15 minutes later. If the level is still less than 100 mg/dL, eat another 15 grams of carbohydrate. When the level returns to 100 mg/dL, eat a snack or meal that contains carbohydrates. This will help prevent another drop in blood sugar.
  • Teach people close to you how to use your glucagon kit. Your blood sugar may be too low for you to be awake. People need to know when and how to use your kit.
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    What To Eat When You Have Low Blood Sugar

    When your blood sugar dips, it can leave you feeling hungry, shaky, and lightheaded. This can happen to anyone who hasnt eaten in several hours. When blood sugar drops below normal levels, its called hypoglycemia. In people with diabetes, hypoglycemia can be a life-threatening complication of diabetes medication, other health problems like infection, or inadequate caloric intake.

    You can lower your chances of low blood sugarand treat it when it occurswith some simple steps.

    How To Better Control Blood Sugar

    how can i lower my blood sugar immediately ~ Blood Sugar Remedies

    Those with diabetes can avoid dysglycemia by following a few simple tips:

    • Test it. Set up a schedule for testing your blood sugar and stick to it.
    • Log it. Keep a written record of your blood sugar or use your meter or your phone to save your readings.
    • Watch for trends. Be aware of your blood sugar trends, and pay attention to when your levels go up or down.
    • Establish routines. Your blood sugar will be more stable if you have routines for eating and exercising.
    • Know your symptoms. Learn how you feel when your blood sugar is low and when it is high.

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    Low Blood Sugar: Best Bites When Youre On The Go

    Despite your best planning, you might find yourself experiencing low blood sugar when youre out and about, with no glucose tablets in reach. Here are tips to keep in mind:

    Best bites at work Smart foods to keep in a drawer at work are 4-ounce cans or cartons of any type of 100 percent juice hard candy like peppermints or Life Savers and small boxes of raisins the ones that contain about 2 tablespoons, says Hope Warshaw, RD, a certified diabetes educator and author of Diabetes Meal Planning Made Easy.

    If you dont have these items on hand, head to the nearest vending machine for any snack containing carbohydrates or sugary candy but skip the chocolate. We do not recommend using chocolate as a treatment for hypoglycemia, despite what you might have read, says OConnor. She explains that the fat in chocolate slows down how fast the sugar and carbohydrates in the candy can get into the bloodstream.

    If youre choosing foods to help treat hypoglycemia, you should also pay attention to where they fall on the glycemic index, or GI. The higher a food ranks on the GI, the more quickly your body breaks it down into sugar. Life Savers have a GI of 70, while raisins have a GI around 60.

    How Does Hypoglycemia Occur Without Diabetes

    Hypoglycemia usually happens to people living with diabetes, but its possible to have low blood sugar without diabetes.

    Blood sugar, or glucose, is what your body uses for energy. After eating a meal or drinking a beverage, the hormone insulin allows sugar to enter your bodys cells, where its used for energy. Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas.

    Hypoglycemia occurs when you have too much insulin in your bloodstream. This might happen if you dont eat for several hours, such as 8 hours or more. A drop in blood sugar means there isnt enough glucose in your bloodstream to fuel your brain and body.

    Low blood sugar without diabetes can also occur if you take a medication that lowers your blood sugar. These include pain relievers like:

    • some antibiotics

    Other causes of low blood sugar without diabetes include binge-drinking and increased physical activity.

    Plus, some medical conditions can increase the amount of insulin your pancreas produces. These include a pancreatic tumor, adrenal gland disorders, and hepatitis.

    You could also experience low blood sugar if you have prediabetes, or if you eat a lot of refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, and pastries.

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    No Symptoms Be Alarmed

    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.

    What Happens When Sugar Is Low

    What Is a Low Blood Sugar and What Can You Do About It

    Low blood sugar levels can also cause a variety of problems within your central nervous system. Early symptoms include weakness, lightheadedness, and dizziness. Headaches can occur from a lack of glucose, especially if you have diabetes. You may also feel signs of stress, such as nervousness, anxiety, and irritability.

    How do you feel when your sugar is low?

  • a fast or pounding heartbeat
  • becoming easily irritated, tearful, anxious or moody.
  • What is the best thing to eat when your blood sugar is low? Fruits that provide the appropriate amount of carbohydrates include half a banana, 15 grapes, two tablespoons of raisins or a small apple or orange. Fruit juice can also boost blood sugar levels. Norton suggests half a cup of your favorite fruit juice, such as apple, orange, pineapple or cranberry juice.

    What causes blood sugar to drop suddenly?

    Low blood sugar Not eating enough food or skipping meals, taking too much medicine , exercising more than usual, or taking certain medicines that lower blood sugar can cause your blood sugar to drop rapidly.

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    Q: I Have Type 2 Diabetes And Take Insulin Injections If My Blood Sugar Is Low Should I Still Take My Insulin

    A: Let me say that if you are experiencing a low blood sugar with symptoms, you should always treat first, worry about your insulin later. Common symptoms of , the official term for low blood sugar, are shakiness, confusion, heart racing, vision changes, being uncoordinated, and feeling cold, clammy, or sweaty. If hypoglycemia continues without treatment, it can lead to a loss of consciousness.

    We define hypoglycemia as a blood sugar below 70 mg/dL regardless of symptoms. Many people experience blood sugars much lower than this without concern but for someone on , it can be quite dangerous to keep your blood sugar that low, especially if the person doesnt experience symptoms of low blood sugar.

    Ideally, we would like to see blood glucose kept in a relatively normal range, which the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology defines as 80 to 120 mg/dL. If you can do that safely, without hypoglycemia, then you are well managed! If there are reasons your provider has counseled against this guideline, educate yourself about the reasons and follow their guidance.

    When anticipating where your blood sugar may be headed, it is important to remember that insulin isnt a time machine it cant work backwards. So, when you ask if you should take your insulin when your sugar is lowbe prepared for these follow-up questions:

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    Treating Low Blood Glucose If You Take Medicines That Slow Down Digestion

    Some diabetes medicines slow down the digestion of carbohydrates to keep blood glucose levels from rising too high after you eat. If you develop low blood glucose while taking these medicines, you will need to take glucose tablets or glucose gel right away. Eating or drinking other sources of carbohydrates wont raise your blood glucose level quickly enough.

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    How Often Should I Check My Blood Sugar

    The number of times that you check your blood sugar will depend on the type of diabetes that you have and the type of medicine you take to treat your diabetes. For example, people who take insulin may need to check more often than people who do not take insulin. Talk with your health care team about how often to check your blood sugar.

    The common times for checking your blood sugar are when you first wake up , before a meal, 2 hours after a meal, and at bedtime. Talk with your health care team about what times are best for you to check your blood sugar.

    What Causes A Low Blood Sugar Level

    Diabetes

    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.

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    How To Test Your Blood Sugar At Home

    To perform a blood sugar test, you will need to prick your finger with a lancet . Youll put a small sample of blood from this onto a strip inserted into the blood glucose meter.

    Before you test your blood sugar at home, its important to find out from your doctor what a healthy blood sugar range is for you. Your doctor will determine this range based on factors such as:

    • the type of diabetes you have
    • how long youve had diabetes
    • whether you have any other chronic health conditions

    If you dont have a blood sugar testing machine on hand and are experiencing signs or symptoms of low blood sugar with diabetes, your symptoms may be enough to diagnose low blood sugar.

    Manage Your Carb Intake

    Your carb intake strongly influences your blood sugar levels .

    Your body breaks carbs down into sugars, mainly glucose. Then, insulin helps your body use and store it for energy.

    When you eat too many carbs or have insulin-function problems, this process fails, and blood glucose levels can rise.

    Thats why the American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes manage their carb intake by counting carbs and being aware of how many they need .

    Some studies find that this can help you plan your meals appropriately, further improving blood sugar management (

    Foods that are high in fiber include:

    The recommended daily intake of fiber is about 25 grams for women and 35 grams for men. Thats about 14 grams for every 1,000 calories .

    Summary

    Eating plenty of fiber can aid blood sugar management. Soluble dietary fiber appears to be more effective than insoluble fiber for this purpose.

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    When To Go To The Er

    High blood sugar can be very concerning because your body can start burning fat for energy instead of blood glucose.

    This can cause conditions such as DKA and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome . These conditions are medical emergencies and can be fatal if left untreated.

    DKA is a serious complication of type 1 diabetes. Its rare in people with type 2 diabetes, but can occur.

    Symptoms that can indicate you should go to the emergency room include:

    • ketones in your urine, as diagnosed using a urine dipstick test

    High blood sugar levels can cause a fluid imbalance in the body and can cause the blood to become acidic in a manner that doesnt support life.

    Medical treatments for these conditions include administering intravenous insulin on a continuous basis and IV fluids to correct dehydration.

    Summary

    High blood sugar can become a medical emergency. Go to the ER if you suspect DKA or HHS.

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    Hypoglycaemia – How to Treat and Prevent Low Blood Sugar

    A blood sugar less than 70 is too low.

    • Take 10 to 15 grams of quick-acting carbohydrate right away, such as:
    • Drink 3 to 4 ounces of juice
    • Drink 3 to 4 ounces of soda pop that has sugar
    • Chew 3 to 4 glucose tabs
  • Wait at least 15 to 30 minutes. If you still feel signs of low blood sugar, then recheck your blood sugar.
  • If your blood sugar is still less than 70, take another 10 to 15 grams of quick-acting carbohydrate.
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    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:

    • 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.

    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 dont improve, call 999 .

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    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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