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What Happens If You Get Low Blood Sugar

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What Should I Do If This Happens

Hypoglycaemia – How to Treat and Prevent Low Blood Sugar

People and their partners or roommates should learn to recognize the signs of nighttime hypoglycemia. Be prepared! Ask your doctor for an emergency glucagon kit. This kit contains a fast-acting medication that can be injected if the person cant be woken up. Store the kit in a bedside drawer for easy access.

DO NOT PUT ANYTHING INTO A PERSON’S MOUTH IF THEY ARE ASLEEP OR CANNOT SIT UP.

  • If the person cannot be woken: If there is no emergency glucagon kit, call 911. If the person has a glucagon kit, the partner or roommate should follow the instructions to fill the syringe and inject the medicine. Once fully awake, he/she should eat a meal and check their blood glucose every few hours using a home test kit. After giving the injection, the persons doctor should be notified.

  • If the person can be woken up and sit without support: They should be given a fast-acting glucose source. Good options include hard candy, fruit juice or glucose paste or tablets, which can be purchased at most pharmacies. Once the person is fully awake, they should eat a meal and check their blood glucose every few hours using a home test kit.

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 Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia tends to present as a cluster of symptoms, and they often occur together. The most common signs of dangerously low blood sugar include:

  • Dizziness, disorientation, light-headedness, and an inability to think clearly
  • Hunger, especially if youve just eaten
  • Heightened irritability, confusion, and anxiety
  • Clamminess and sweating, with cold hands and feet
  • Drastic mood swings

If you have one or more of these symptoms contact your doctor.

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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

  • Eat or drink 15 to 20 grams of glucose or carbohydrates right away. Examples include
  • four glucose tablets or one tube of glucose gel.
  • 1/2 cup of fruit juicenot low-calorie or reduced-sugar juice. If you have kidney disease, dont drink orange juice because it has a lot of potassium. Apple, grape, or cranberry juice are good options.
  • 1/2 can of sodanot low-calorie or reduced-sugar soda.
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar, honey, or corn syrup.
  • Wait 15 minutes and check your blood glucose level again. If your glucose level is still low, eat or drink another 15 to 20 grams of glucose or carbohydrates.
  • Check your blood glucose level again after another 15 minutes. Repeat these steps until your glucose level is back to your target range.
  • If your next meal is more than 1 hour away, have a snack to keep your blood glucose level within a range that is healthy for you. Try crackers or a piece of fruit.
  • What Are The Complications Of Low Blood Glucose

    Low Blood Sugar

    Mild-to-moderate low blood glucose can be easily treated. But severely low blood glucose can cause serious complications, including passing out, coma, or death.

    Repeated episodes of low blood glucose can lead to

    • high blood glucose levels, if worry or fear of low blood glucose keeps you from taking the medicines you need to manage your diabetes8
    • hypoglycemia unawareness, a condition in which you dont notice any symptoms of low blood glucose until your blood glucose level has dropped very low

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    Where Can I Find Support

    The Hypoglycemia Support Foundation, established nearly 40 years ago, is a national group that offers many resources, including advocacy. They offer salons so that you can personally connect with people like you who are also dealing with bouts of low blood sugar.

    Occasionally blood sugar crashes are so extreme they require emergency room care for an immediate dextrose IV treatment. If you have diabetes, wear a medical bracelet that does TK thing? What will this bracelet have on it? A number of one of your contacts? Can you answer and smooth out with this line? have a circle of people who serve as close contacts and are aware of your condition and how to help.

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    Signs Of Low Blood Sugar At Night

    LOW blood SUGAR in Diabetics (hypoglycemia). Everything you NEED to know!

    If your blood sugar drops while you are sleeping, your partner or other family members may notice that you are sweating and behaving differently. Signs of low blood sugar at night include:

    • Restlessness.
    • Attempting to get out of bed or accidentally rolling out of bed.
    • Sleepwalking.
    • Nightmares.
    • Sweating.

    You may wake up with a headache in the morning if your blood sugar was low during the night.

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    Complications From Spells Of Hypoglycemia

    Mildly low blood sugar levels are somewhat common for people with diabetes however, severely low blood sugar levels can be life threatening. They may lead to seizures and nervous system damage if left untreated long enough. Immediate treatment is critical.

    Its important to learn to recognize your symptoms and treat them fast. For people at risk for low blood sugar, having a glucagon kit a medication that raises blood sugar levels is important. Talk with your doctor for more information.

    You may also want to talk with friends, family members, exercise partners, and co-workers about how to care for you if your blood sugar drops too low.

    Its important for them to learn to recognize low blood sugar symptoms and know how to use the glucagon kit, as well as understand the importance of calling 911 if you lose consciousness.

    Wearing a medical identification bracelet is a good idea. It can help emergency responders care for you properly if you need emergency attention.

    Treat low blood sugar as soon as possible. Avoid driving if you are experiencing low blood sugar, as it can increase your risk for having an accident.

    There are several ways that you can prevent low blood sugar.

    Low Blood Sugar Risks With Insulin And Sulfonylureas

    There are different types of drugs used to manage diabetes. They are put into different classes depending on how they work.

    • Those who manage their blood sugar with diet and exercise don’t have to worry much. The risk of hypoglycemia is the same as non-diabetics.
    • Reassuringly, those who only take drugs that limit the amount of sugar released from the liver and slow down the absorption of carbohydrates in the intestines , also have a very low risk.
    • Those using insulinotropic agents , which stimulate or affect the production of insulin, need to be especially careful, as does anyone using insulin.
    • Shockingly, while insulin-dependent people with diabetes experience many more low blood sugars, it is the patient group using sulfonylureas who have more severe low blood sugars requiring emergency assistance. That may ultimately be because those using insulin understand the risks for lows and are often better prepared for them.

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    Insulin And Blood Sugar

    Insulin is an important hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar levels. The pancreas makes insulin. It helps control your blood sugar levels by assisting the cells that absorb sugar from the bloodstream.

    If you have type 1 diabetes, your body doesnt make insulin. This means you have to inject insulin every day.

    If diet and exercise arent enough to manage blood sugar, those with type 2 diabetes may be prescribed medications to help keep blood sugar levels within target ranges.

    If you have type 2 diabetes, your body produces insulin, but may not use it properly or produce enough of it. Your cells dont respond to insulin, so more sugar keeps circulating in the blood.

    Exercise can help the cells respond better and be more sensitive to insulin. The proper diet can also help you avoid spikes in blood sugar. This can help keep your pancreas functioning well since high blood sugar levels decrease pancreatic function.

    Knowing Blood Sugar Levels

    How To Treat Low Blood Sugar (Diabetes Type 2)

    If you have diabetes, the frequency of testing your blood glucose level depends on your treatment plan, so follow your doctors advice on the appropriate times for you.

    Common times to check are in the morning, before and after meals, before and after exercise, at bedtime, and if you feel sick. Some people may not need to check their blood sugar daily.

    What you eat and what you do for physical activity affect your blood sugar. But theres no way to know what effect they have unless you test your blood sugar.

    Blood glucose meters are used to test blood sugar levels so you can see if your levels are within the target range. Your doctor will also work with you on your individualized range.

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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.

    Treating Low Blood Sugar

    You are at risk of having a low blood sugar reaction if you:

    • Skip or delay a meal or snack
    • Take too much insulin or eat too few carbohydrates
    • Exercise
    • Drink alcohol, especially without eating carbohydrates

    Check your blood sugar if you have any of these symptoms:

    • Weakness and/or fatigue

    If your blood sugar is less than 70 milligrams per deciliter :

    • Eat 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate
    • Wait 15 minutes and then recheck your blood sugar
    • If your blood sugar is still less than 100 mg/dl, take another 15 grams of carbohydrate and retest your blood sugar in another 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary.

    Important: If you have frequent low blood sugars speak to your doctor. You may need changes in your medication and/or meal plan.

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    What Extreme Conditions Can Occur If Hypoglycemia Is Left Untreated

    Although severe episodes which can trigger potentially life-threatening comas are rare, they require immediate emergency room care, so its best to make sure you are tracking your blood sugar so that you never have to worry about getting to that point. A drop in blood sugar means less fuel for your brain, so its critical for your body to receive enough glucose. Hypoglycemia that leads to extended, reduced brain function is the biggest concern, as this can lead to seizures and loss of basic bodily functions controlled by the brain, which can ultimately lead to death, explains Dr. Dyer.

    Prediabetes Symptoms & Signs

    What a High Blood Sugar Feels Like

    Prediabetes is a common condition in which the blood sugar level is higher than normal but not yet high enough to be considered diagnostic of diabetes. Prediabetes is a precursor of type 2 diabetes and increases a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or stroke. The condition has also been referred to as impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose .

    While some people with prediabetes may experience some of the signs and symptoms of diabetes, in most people, prediabetes does not cause specific signs or associated symptoms. Therefore, many people are unaware that they have prediabetes. Symptoms of diabetes include

    • excessive thirst,

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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.

    What To Do If Your Blood Sugar Is Too Low

    Although type 2 diabetes is characterized by blood sugar that is too high, some people take insulin and others medications that can occasionally drive blood sugar too low.

    When blood sugar is too lowgenerally less than 70 mg/dLit’s called hypoglycemia, and it can become a medical emergency.

    You can lose consciousnessHypoglycemia is more likely to occur when you start taking a new medication or if you exercise more than usual.

    As blood sugar drops to low levels, you may feel:

    Shaky Irritable Sweaty

    This can occur within 10 to 15 minutes, and in extreme cases you can even lose consciousness and experience seizures if you don’t consume some glucose .

    You’ll need to test your blood sugar to confirm that you’re having hypoglycemiasome people become irritable if blood sugar is too high, so it’s not always obvious.

    If you drink sugar-containing juice, or some other form of carbohydrate, it should bring blood sugar back into the normal range. You can also purchase glucose pills or gels in the pharmacy that can get blood sugar back on track.

    You should always have a glucose source in the car, says Yvonne Thigpen, RD, diabetes program coordinator at Mount Clemens Regional Medical Center in Mt. Clemens, Mich. You never know when youll hit construction or get stuck in traffic, she says.

    It usually occurs between midnight and 1 a.m. and I always wake up soaking wetbut only from the waist up. My head, shoulders, and upper back are just dripping with sweat, he says.

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    Possible Causes With Diabetes

    Diabetes affects your bodys ability to use insulin. Think of insulin as the key that unlocks your cells, letting glucose in for energy.

    People with diabetes use a variety of treatments to help their bodies use the glucose in their blood. Among these are oral medications that increase insulin production and insulin injections.

    If you take too much of these types of medications, your blood sugar may drop too low. People also sometimes experience low blood sugar when planning to eat a big meal, but then they do not eat enough.

    Skipping meals, eating less than normal, or eating later than normal but taking your medication at your normal time can also lead to low blood sugar levels.

    Unplanned excess physical activity without eating enough can also cause a drop in blood sugar levels.

    Drinking alcohol when youre on these medications can also lead to low blood sugar, especially if it replaces food. When the body is trying to get rid of alcohol it becomes worse at managing blood sugar levels.

    Signs And Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar

    How Long Does It Take To Die From Hypoglycemia ...

    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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