Thursday, June 16, 2022

What Happens When Blood Sugar Is Low

Digestive Endocrine And Circulatory Systems

Low Blood Sugar

After you eat, your digestive system breaks down carbohydrates and turns them into glucose. Essentially, glucose is your bodys fuel source.

As your sugar levels rise, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin, which helps glucose get taken up and used by cells throughout your body. If you have insulin-dependent diabetes, you must take the right about of insulin to get the job done.

Any excess glucose goes to your liver for storage.

When you go a few hours without eating, blood sugar levels go down. If you have a healthy pancreas, it releases a hormone called glucagon to make up for the absence of food. This hormone tells your liver to process the stored sugars and release them into your bloodstream.

If everything works as it should, your blood sugar levels should remain in the normal range until your next meal.

Insufficient blood sugar levels can cause a rapid heartbeat and heart palpitations. However, even if you have diabetes, you may not always have obvious symptoms of low blood sugar. This is a potentially dangerous condition called hypoglycemia unawareness. It happens when you experience low blood sugar so often that it changes your bodys response to it.

Normally, low blood sugar causes your body to release stress hormones, such as epinephrine. Epinephrine is responsible for those early warning signs, like hunger and shakiness.

Causes Of Low Blood Sugar

There are many reasons why you may have low blood sugar, including:

  • Taking too much insulin.
  • Not eating enough carbs for how much insulin you take.
  • Timing of when you take your insulin.
  • The amount and timing of physical activity.
  • Drinking alcohol.
  • How much fat, protein, and fiber are in your meal.
  • Hot and humid weather.
  • Unexpected changes in your schedule.
  • Spending time at a high altitude.
  • Going through puberty.
  • Menstruation.

What Drinks And Foods Raise Blood Sugar Fast

  • 4 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1/2 can of regular soda or juice

Many people like the idea of treating low blood sugar with dietary treats such as cake, cookies, and brownies. However, sugar in the form of complex carbohydrates or sugar combined with fat and protein are much too slowly absorbed to be useful in acute treatment.

Once the acute episode has been treated, a healthy, long-acting carbohydrate to maintain blood sugars in the appropriate range should be consumed. Half a sandwich is a reasonable option.

If the hypoglycemic episode has progressed to the point at which the patient cannot or will not take anything by mouth, more drastic measures will be needed. In many cases, a family member or roommate can be trained in the use of glucagon. Glucagon is a hormone that causes a rapid release of glucose stores from the liver. It is an injection given intramuscularly to an individual who cannot take glucose by mouth. A response is usually seen in minutes and lasts for about 90 minutes. Again, a long-acting source of glucose should thereafter be consumed to maintain blood sugar levels in the safe range. If glucagon is not available and the patient is not able to take anything by mouth, emergency services should be called immediately. An intravenous route of glucose administration should be established as soon as possible.

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Overdose Of Diabetes Medication

A common cause of hypoglycaemia is taking too much insulin for your current needs. Insulin is a medication that helps control your blood glucose levels. It’s commonly used to treat type 1 diabetes and is also recommended for some people with type 2 diabetes.

A fall in blood glucose levels can also occur after taking too much oral hypoglycaemia medication, such as sulphonylurea, which causes a release of insulin. This medication is often used to lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Nighttime Low Blood Sugar

Low Blood Sugar (hypoglycemia)

While low blood sugar can happen at any time during the day, some people may experience low blood sugar while they sleep. Reasons this may happen include:

  • Having an active day.
  • Being physically active close to bedtime.
  • Taking too much insulin.
  • Drinking alcohol at night.

Eating regular meals and not skipping them can help you avoid nighttime low blood sugar. Eating when you drink alcohol can also help. If you think youre at risk for low blood sugar overnight, have a snack before bed.

You may wake up when you have low blood sugar, but you shouldnt rely on that. A continuous glucose monitor can alert you with an alarm if your blood sugar gets low while youre sleeping.

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The Effects Of Low Blood Sugar On Your Body

Every cell in your body needs energy to function. The main source of energy might come as a surprise: Its sugar, also known as glucose. Blood sugar is essential to proper brain, heart, and digestive function. It even helps keep your skin and vision healthy.

When your blood sugar levels fall below the normal range, its called hypoglycemia. There are many identifiable symptoms of low blood sugar, but the only way to know if you have low blood sugar is by taking a blood glucose test.

Learn more about the symptoms of low blood sugar, as well as the long-term effects on the body.

most common reasons for low blood sugar are some medications used to treat diabetes, such as insulin.

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas can no longer produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas doesnt make enough insulin, or your body cant use it properly. Too much insulin or oral diabetic medication can lower the blood sugar level, leading to hypoglycemia.

However, contrary to popular belief, low blood sugar isnt exclusive to diabetes, though it is rare. It can also happen if your body makes more insulin than it should.

Another possible cause of low blood sugar is drinking too much alcohol, especially over long periods of time. This can interfere with the livers ability to create a buildup of glucose and then release it into your bloodstream when you need it.

Other causes include:

When You Have Low Blood Sugar

First, eat or drink 15 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate, such as:

  • Three to four glucose tablets
  • One tube of glucose gel
  • Four to six pieces of hard candy
  • 1/2 cup fruit juice
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup soft drink
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Fifteen minutes after you’ve eaten a food with sugar in it, check your blood sugar again. If your blood sugar is still less than 70 mg/dL, eat another serving of one of the foods listed above. Repeat these steps until your sugar becomes normal.

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When Blood Sugar Is Too Low

Glucose is a sugar that comes from the foods we eat, and it’s also formed and stored inside the body. It’s the main source of energy for the cells of our body, and is carried to each cell through the bloodstream. Our brains depend on glucose to function, even when we’re sleeping.

The is the amount of glucose in the blood. When these levels drop too low, it’s called hypoglycemia . Very low blood sugar levels can cause serious symptoms that need to be treated right away.

What If I Have Severe Low Blood Glucose And Cant Treat Myself

What is Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)?

Glucagona hormone that raises blood glucose levelsis the best way to treat severely low blood glucose. Available as an injection or a nasal spray, glucagon will quickly raise your blood glucose level. Your doctor can prescribe you a glucagon kit for use in case of an emergency.

If your blood glucose level drops very low, you wont be able to treat it by yourself. Be prepared to address severely low blood glucose by

  • talking with your doctor or health care team about when and how to use a glucagon emergency kit. If you have an emergency kit, regularly check the date on the package to make sure it hasnt expired.
  • teaching your family, friends, and coworkers when and how to give you glucagon. Tell them to call 911 right away after giving you glucagon or if you dont have a glucagon emergency kit with you.
  • wearing a medical alert identification bracelet or pendant. A medical alert ID tells other people that you have diabetes and need care right away. Getting prompt care can help prevent the serious problems that low blood glucose levels can cause.

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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.

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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    Signs That Blood Sugar Levels Are Low

    There are a bunch of symptoms that someone with low blood sugar might have. It’s not the same for everybody. The symptoms are as minor as feeling hungry and as serious as having seizures or passing out. Have you ever had low blood sugar? If so, do you remember how it felt? Noticing those problems early can help you if it happens again.

    If you have diabetes and you have low blood sugar, you may:

    • feel hungry or have “hunger pains” in your stomach
    • feel shaky or like you’re trembling
    • have a rapid heart rate
    • feel sweaty or have cold, clammy skin
    • have pale, gray skin color
    • have a headache
    • be unsteady or stagger when walking
    • have blurred or double vision
    • feel confused
    • have seizures
    • pass out

    If you think your blood sugar level could be low, tell a parent, teacher, or whoever is taking care of you. An adult can help you test your blood and get you treatment so you start feeling better.

    How Do I Treat Low Blood Glucose

    Low Blood Sugar

    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.
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    Treating Mild To Moderate Hypoglycemia

    If you start feeling any of the symptoms listed above, check your blood sugar as soon as possible, then follow the chart below to treat low blood sugar. If you have any concerns, or cant test immediately, its best to treat first and check when possible.

    If your blood sugar is

    Eat this

    What to do next

    51 to 70 mg/dL

    10 to 15 grams of fast-acting carbs, such as 4 ounces of fruit juice, 6 to 8 hard candies, or 3 to 4 glucose tablets.

    Test your blood sugar again in 15 minutes. Repeat the treatment if necessary.

    Under 50 mg/dL

    Eat 20 to 30 grams of fast-acting carbs, such as 8 ounces of fruit juice, 12 to 16 hard candies, or 6 to 8 glucose tablets.

    Test your blood sugar again in 15 minutes. Repeat the treatment if necessary.

    What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar

    Different people may feel low blood sugar levels differently. People with low blood sugar may:

    • feel hungry or have “hunger pains” in their stomach
    • feel shaky or like they’re trembling
    • have a rapid heart rate
    • feel sweaty or have cold, clammy skin
    • have pale, gray skin color
    • have a headache
    • have seizures or convulsions
    • lose consciousness

    If you have diabetes, try to remember how your body reacts when your blood sugar levels are low. It may help you figure out when you’re having a low blood sugar level more quickly the next time.

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    Do Not Drive When You Have Low Blood Sugar

    It’s very dangerous. If you’re driving and you have hypoglycemia symptoms, pull off the road, check your blood sugar, and eat a sugary food. Wait at least 15 minutes, check your blood sugar, and repeat these steps if necessary. Eat a protein and carbohydrate source before you drive on.

    Be prepared. Keep a sugar source in your car at all times for emergencies.

    How To Recognize Hypoglycemia

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

    The first signs of hypoglycemia include feeling sweaty, shaky, and hungry. However, not everyone has these symptoms or notices them in time to prevent low blood sugar from getting worse. Its also important to know that your symptoms of hypoglycemia will change the longer you have T1D.

    As hypoglycemia gets worse, symptoms can include:

    • Feeling weak
    • Having difficulty walking or seeing clearly
    • Acting strange or getting disoriented
    • Having seizures

    Severe hypoglycemia may make you faint or pass out. This is dangerous if you are driving, climbing stairs, or doing other activities where you need to stay aware of things around you.

    Hypoglycemia can happen at night. If it does, you are likely to wake up, but its important not to rely on your body to wake you up. A continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, can alert you and those around you with an alarm to let you know if your blood sugar starts getting low while you are sleeping.

    Its a good idea to check your blood sugar often when lows are likely, such as in hot weather or when you travel. Your CGM can also let you know when your blood sugar is getting lower.

    Watch out for hypoglycemia unawareness.

    You might not have early warning signs of low blood sugar. This is called hypoglycemia unawareness, and it raises the risk of having severe lows. It is more likely if:

    • You have had diabetes longer than 5 or 10 years
    • You have frequent episodes of hypoglycemia
    • You take certain medicines, such as beta blockers for high blood pressure

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    Check Your Blood Sugar Often

    Regularly checking your blood sugar level can help you keep it in your target range. If youve had low blood sugar episodes in the past, you may want to check your blood sugar levels before driving or operating machinery.

    Talk with your doctor about when and how often you should check your blood sugar.

    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 body’s 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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