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What Does It Feel Like To Have Low Blood Sugar

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When Blood Sugar Is Too Low


Hypoglycemia is the medical word for low blood sugar level. It needs to be treated right away. Why? Because glucose, or sugar, is the bodyâs main fuel source. That means your body including your brain needs glucose to work properly.

When blood sugar levels go lower than theyâre supposed to, you can get very sick. Your parents and your diabetes health care team will tell you what your blood sugar levels should be and what to do if they get too low.

Symptoms Of A Low Blood Sugar Level

A low blood sugar level can affect everyone differently. You’ll learn how it makes you feel, although your symptoms may change over time.

Early signs of a low blood sugar level include:

  • a fast or pounding heartbeat
  • becoming easily irritated, tearful, anxious or moody

If a low blood sugar level is not treated, you may get other symptoms, such as:

  • unusual behaviour, slurred speech or clumsiness
  • seizures or fits
  • collapsing or passing out

A low blood sugar level, or hypo, can also happen while you’re sleeping. This may cause you to wake up during the night or cause headaches, tiredness or damp sheets in the morning.

Symptoms Of Blood Sugar Dropping Too Fast

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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.
  • Use a continuous glucose monitor or flash monitor to see how your blood sugar levels are changing. Ask your diabetes care team about getting a monitor if you do not already have one.
  • 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 you’re 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.

High Blood Sugar How To Control

4 Early Warning Signs That You Should Check Your Blood Sugar Levels ...

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Examples Of Easily Digestible Carbohydrates

  • 1/2 cup of juice or regular soda
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 4 or 5 saltine crackers
  • 3 or 4 pieces of hard candy or glucose tablets
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar

Very low blood sugar is a medical emergency. If you or someone else with diabetes is experiencing severe symptoms, such as unconsciousness, its important to administer a medication called glucagon and contact emergency services immediately.

If youre at risk for low blood sugar, its important to talk with your doctor about getting a prescription for glucagon.

You should never give an unconscious person anything by mouth, as it could cause them to choke. If you have diabetes, make sure your family and friends know not to do this if you lose consciousness.

Low blood sugar can occur for a number of reasons. Its usually a side effect of diabetes treatment.

Possible Causes Without Diabetes

Even if you dont have diabetes, you may experience low blood sugar. However, hypoglycemia is much less common in people without diabetes.

Some possible causes of low blood sugar in people who dont have diabetes are:

  • certain medications, such as quinine
  • some medical conditions, such as hepatitis and kidney disorders
  • a tumor that produces excess insulin
  • endocrine disorders, such as adrenal gland deficiency

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Dealing With An Episode

The symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia can be mitigated by taking certain steps to return blood glucose levels to normal:

First, follow the 15-15 Rule, which involves eating 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates and checking your blood sugar after 15 minutes. If its still below 70 mg/dL, have another serving.

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Checking For Low Blood Sugar Levels

What a Low Blood Sugar Feels Like

The warning signs of hypoglycemia are the bodys natural response to low blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels fall too low, the body releases the hormone adrenaline, which helps get stored glucose into the bloodstream quickly. This can make someone:

  • have an increased heart rate

If the hypoglycemia isnt treated, more serious symptoms may happen, such as drowsiness, confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

The only way to know for sure if youre having a low blood sugar level is to test. Blood sugar levels can be tested with a . This computerized device measures and displays the amount of glucose in a blood sample. But if you cant quickly check your blood sugar level, its important to treat yourself for hypoglycemia immediately to prevent symptoms from getting worse.

Sometimes a person with diabetes may have symptoms of low blood sugar levels, but blood sugar levels are not actually low. This is a called a false reaction. The hormone adrenaline is not just released when blood sugar drops too low its also released when blood sugar levels fall quickly when theyre too high. If youre having a false reaction, you might actually have blood sugar levels in a healthy range but feel as if you have low blood sugar. Testing blood sugar levels before treating yourself for hypoglycemia can help you figure out if youre having a false reaction.

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Low Blood Sugar Symptoms But Normal Levels

High blood sugar usually feels bad. Kerri Sparling of the blog Six Until Me said, Its a thick feeling in the base of your brain, like someonesreplaced your gray matter with sticky jam.

Other people report physical symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, headaches, blurry vision, thirst, and frequent urination. These symptoms often drive people to seek help, which is a good thing.

Other people can get used to high sugars. They may feel few or no symptoms. Thats not good, because blood vessel damage is still going on, even if you cant feel it.

To get cutting-edge diabetes news, strategies for blood glucose management, nutrition tips, healthy recipes, and more delivered straight to your inbox, !

If your body gets comfortable with higher blood sugars, normal sugars may start to feel bad. A woman named Angela posted to Diabetes Daily, I feel so crappy when my is in the 90s. That seems to be about 50% of the time. Sometimes I test when Im feeling GOOD and its . I want a low A1C, but I dont want to feel fuzzy all the time either.

What is happening is that Angelas body adjusted to higher sugars. Now shes getting tighter control, but shes not used to it. On another site, diabetes educator Janet Mertz explained, Because your body is accustomed to the higher levels, the lower numbers may now be perceived as too low. Your body reacts like youre having low blood sugar . It generally takes a couple of weeks for the body to adjust to the new, healthier numbers.

What Is Hypoglycemia And Low Blood Sugar

Hypoglycemia is the state of having a blood glucose level that is too low to effectively fuel the bodys cells.

Glucose, which comes from carbohydrates found in foods, is a main source of energy for all of the cells of the body and, especially, the brain. While the body is quite good at extracting glucose from the foods we eat, it relies on a hormone called insulin to actually get the glucose inside the cells of specific organs: the liver, fat, and muscle.

We can think of insulin as holding the key to a cell without insulin, the glucose just remains in the blood, where its also known as blood sugar. During an episode of hypoglycemia, theres not enough glucose in the blood. The normal range is approximately 70 to 150 mg/dl .

Hypoglycemia is most common in newborns. In older children, its most often seen as a complication of insulin therapy for diabetes but can sometimes have other causes as well.

In the majority of cases, hypoglycemia is temporary, easily treated, and usually does not have serious consequences. There are several rare disorders in which hypoglycemia is recurrent and potentially life-threatening. However, with timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment, these can be effectively managed.

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How Common Is Low Blood Glucose

Low blood glucose is common among people with type 1 diabetes and among people with type 2 diabetes who take insulin or some other diabetes medicines. In a large global study of people with diabetes who take insulin, 4 in 5 people with type 1 diabetes and nearly half of those with type 2 diabetes reported a low blood sugar event at least once over a 4-week period.2

Severely low blood glucose, defined as when your blood glucose level drops so low you cant treat it yourself, is less common. Among U.S. adults with diabetes who take insulin or some diabetes medicines that help the pancreas release insulin into the blood, 2 in 100 may develop severely low blood glucose each year.3

Examples Of Appropriate Snacks May Be:

High blood sugar: Symptoms, causes, and healthy levels
  • 6 saltine crackers
  • 1 slice toast and 1/2 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.

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Treating An Episode Of Hypoglycaemia

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.

When Should I See A Doctor

To diagnose hypoglycemia, your doctor will do a physical exam and ask you questions about your health and any medicines you take,advises University of Michigan Health.You will need blood tests to check your blood sugar levels. Some tests might include not eating and watching for symptoms. Other tests might involve eating a meal that could cause symptoms of low blood sugar several hours later. The results of these types of tests can help diagnose the cause. You may also need tests to look for or rule out health problems that could be affecting your blood sugar levels.

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How Is Hypoglycemia Treated

Your doctor will need to identify the cause of your hypoglycemia to determine the right long-term therapy for you.

Glucose will help boost your blood sugar levels in the short term. One way to get additional glucose is to consume 15 grams of carbohydrates.

Drinking fruit juice is an easy way to get extra glucose into your bloodstream. These sources of glucose often briefly correct hypoglycemia, but then another drop in blood sugar often follows.

Eating foods that are high in complex carbohydrates, such as pasta and whole grains, will sustain blood sugar levels after a period of hypoglycemia.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia can become so severe that they interfere with daily routines and activities. If you have severe hypoglycemia, you might need to carry glucose tablets or injectable glucose .

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What a High Blood Sugar Feels Like

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A Low Blood Sugar Level And Driving

You may still be allowed to drive if you have diabetes or youâre at risk of a low blood sugar level for another reason, but youâll need to do things to reduce the chance of this happening while youâre driving.

You also need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and your car insurance company about your condition.

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