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What Happens When Your Sugar Goes Low

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What Is A Continuous Glucose Monitor

What happens to your blood sugar when you work out?

Besides a glucometer, you can also monitor your blood sugar with a continuous glucose monitor. These monitors are devices connected to the body all day, allowing quick access to information anytime you need it. These monitors help prevent surprise highs or lows in blood sugar and address them quickly.

There are other things you can do to avoid blood sugar crash if you have diabetes, including:

  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Avoiding sugary foods and drinks outside of mealtimes
  • Eating small portions
  • Avoiding restricting or cutting out full food groups

How To Treat Someone Whos Having A Seizure Or Fit

Follow these steps if someone has a seizure or fit caused by a low blood sugar level:

  • Stay with them and stop them hurting themselves lie them down on something soft and move them away from anything dangerous .
  • After the seizure or fit stops, give them a sugary snack.
  • Tell your diabetes care team if you ever have a severe hypo that caused you to have a seizure or fit.

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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

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    How Can I Prevent Hypoglycemic Episodes

    The key to preventing hypoglycemic events is managing diabetes:

    • Follow your healthcare providers instructions about food and exercise.
    • Track your blood sugar regularly, including before and after meals, before and after exercise and before bed.
    • Take all your medications exactly as prescribed.
    • When you do have a hypoglycemic event, write it down. Include details such as the time, what you ate recently, whether you exercised, the symptoms and your glucose level.

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

    Only happens when you have low blood sugar  Glucology Store

    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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    Monitoring And Controlling Blood Sugar Levels

    Use home blood sugar tests to determine whether your blood sugar is in your target range. Work with your doctor to set your individual treatment goals. If you can consistently maintain this level of control, you will have very few blood sugar level emergencies.

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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 in glucose for energy.

    If you have diabetes, a variety of treatments can help the cells in your body use the glucose in your blood. Among these are insulin injections and oral medications that increase insulin production.

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

    Skipping meals, eating less than usual, or eating later than usual but taking your medication at your usual 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 your body is trying to get rid of alcohol, it becomes worse at managing blood sugar levels.

    Can You Prevent Low Blood Sugar

    Treating Low Blood Sugar

    Hypoglycemia might sound a little scary, so you might wonder if you can avoid it. No matter how well they take care of themselves, kids with diabetes will sometimes have low blood sugar levels. But taking these steps can help:

    • Try to eat all your meals and snacks on time and donât skip any.
    • Take the right amount of insulin.
    • If you exercise longer or harder than usual, have an extra snack.
    • Donât take a hot bath or shower right after an insulin shot.
    • Stick to your diabetes management plan.

    What else can you do? Wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace that says you have diabetes. Then, if you are not feeling well, whoeverâs helping you even if the person doesnât know you will know to call for medical help. Medical identification also can include your doctorâs phone number or a parentâs phone number. The quicker you get help, the quicker youâll be feeling better.

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    Your Diabetes Devices And Hypoglycemia

    Several insulin pumps are now available that make managing blood sugar levels easier, particularly when connected to a glucose meter or a CGM.

    Some of the most important advantages of CGM devices are the improved insulin control and the ability to detect trends and lows early. With improved technology, it is now possible for parents to track blood sugar trends in their kids even when they are hundreds of miles apart .

    In addition, automated insulin delivery systems, also known an artificial pancreas or a hybrid closed-loop system, will automatically adjust insulin to match your bodys need to help you spend more time in your target range.

    Resources that provide people with T1D and their families with more detailed information about pumps and CGM devices are available through JDRF here. For people looking for a deeper understanding of technology that helps people with T1D better manage their blood sugar, JDRF resources are available here.

    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.

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    How Do I Treat Hypoglycemia

    A mild case of hypoglycemia can be treated through eating or drinking 15-20g of fast acting carbohydrate such as glucose tablets, sweets, sugary fizzy drinks or fruit juice.

    Some people with diabetes may also need to take 15-20g of slower acting carbohydrate if the next meal is not due.

    A blood test should be taken after 15-20 minutes to check whether blood glucose levels have recovered. Severe hypoglycemia may require an ambulance, for example if loss of consciousness occurs or a seizure persists for more than 5 minutes.

    Severe hypos can be treated with glucagon if a glucagon injection kit is available and in date.

    Other Causes Of Low Blood Sugar

    Hypoglycemia Causes and Natural Solutions

    While low blood sugar is often associated with diabetes, it can also be affected by other factors. According to Dr. Danine Fruge,Medical Director of the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida, the causes of blood sugar problems can include not only diabetes, prediabetes , reactive hypoglycemia or other health issues, but also by not eating enough, taking too much insulin or even taking certain diabetes medications.

    Other medications can also cause hypoglycemia, like quinine, or Qualaquin, which is used to treat malaria, or various medications for kidney failure. Exercising more than usual can also cause it, especially while taking such medications.

    Some other potential causes for low blood sugar include:

    • Heavy drinking without eating
    • Eating without ingesting enough carbohydrates
    • Eating fewer carbs than usual without reducing insulin amounts, or improper balancing of liquid/solid carbs and timing of insulin
    • Hormone deficiencies due to adrenal or pituitary tumor disorders, or in children without sufficient growth hormone
    • Long-term starvation, such as that which can occur with anorexia nervosa
    • Serious illness like hepatitis, kidney disorders and liver disease
    • Pancreatic tumors that make the body secrete too much insulin

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    High Blood Glucose: Diabetic Ketoacidosis

    If your insulin level is too low, your blood glucose could become so high that it is unsafe. You might develop a serious problem called diabetic ketoacidosis . This usually happens in people with Type 1 diabetes and those with glucose levels over 500.

    If you have DKA, chemicals called ketones start to make a lot of acid in your body. The acid and high blood glucose can make you very sick. You might also become dehydrated . You can prevent DKA by carefully giving yourself the correct insulin dose every day.

    If you have any of the following symptoms of DKA, get to your local emergency department right away. You need to be treated with insulin and fluids that are given to you through an IV :

    • Dry mouth, eyes or skin
    • Feeling very weak or tired
    • Fruity-smelling breath
    • Stomach pain, nausea or vomiting

    You Can Have Hypoglycemia Without Knowing It

    Some patients with diabetic nerve damage, known as neuropathy, may not experience any of the symptoms of hypoglycemia, even when their blood sugar is very low.

    In that case, you may need to test your blood more often and rely on family and friends to help you notice if blood sugar starts to drop.

    “My mom is one of them,” says Thigpen. “Her blood sugar can go down to 30 mg/dl and all she says is she’s kind of tired.” In those cases, family members can help determine if blood sugar is heading into the danger zone.

    “You want to offer them a source of quick-acting carbohydrates,” says Thigpen. “The gold standard of that treatment would be 15 grams of glucose,” she says, which can be purchased over-the-counter in pill or gel form at the pharmacy.

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    What Drinks And Foods Raise Blood Sugar Fast

    The acute management of low blood sugar involves the rapid delivery of a source of easily absorbed sugar. Regular soft drinks, juice, lifesaver candies, table sugar, and the like are good options. In general, 15 grams of glucose is the dose that is given, followed by an assessment of symptoms and a blood glucose check if possible. If after 10 minutes there is no improvement, another 10-15 grams should be given. This can be repeated up to three times. At that point, the patient should be considered as not responding to the therapy and an ambulance should be called.

    The equivalency of 10-15 grams of glucose are:

    • 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:

    What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar

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

    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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    Low Blood Glucose During Sleep

    Your blood glucose level can drop while you sleep and stay low for several hours, causing serious problems.7 Symptoms of low blood glucose while you sleep can include

    • crying out or having nightmares
    • sweating enough to make your pajamas or sheets damp
    • feeling tired, irritable, or confused after waking up

    Although you may not wake up or notice any symptoms, low blood glucose can interfere with your sleep, which may affect your quality of life, mood, and ability to work. Having low blood glucose during sleep can also make you less likely to notice and respond to symptoms of low blood glucose during the day.

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    A Low Blood Sugar Level Without Diabetes

    A low blood sugar level is uncommon in people who do not have diabetes.

    Possible causes include:

    • a gastric bypass
    • other medical conditions, such as problems with your hormone levels, pancreas, liver, kidneys, adrenal glands or heart
    • some medicines, including quinine

    See a GP if you think you keep getting symptoms of a low blood sugar level. They can arrange some simple tests to check if your blood sugar level is low and try to find out what’s causing it.

    Listen To Your Doctor

    What Does Type 1 Diabetes Feel Like

    If you follow a meal plan or take medications that increase insulin to manage low blood sugar, its important to stick to the plan your doctor prescribed to help prevent drops in your blood sugar level.

    Not eating the right foods or taking the right medications at the correct times can cause your blood sugar to drop. Check in often with your doctor so they can adjust your treatment plan if and when necessary.

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    Preventing Low Blood Sugar

    Preventing low blood sugar is better than having to treat it. Always have a source of fast-acting sugar with you.

    • When you exercise, check your blood sugar levels. Make sure you have snacks with you.
    • Talk to your provider about reducing insulin doses on days that you exercise.
    • Ask your provider if you need a bedtime snack to prevent low blood sugar overnight. Protein snacks may be best.

    Do not drink alcohol without eating food. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day and men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day. Family and friends should know how to help. They should know:

    • The symptoms of low blood sugar and how to tell if you have them.
    • How much and what kind of food they should give you.
    • When to call for emergency help.
    • How to inject glucagon, a hormone that increases your blood sugar. Your provider will tell you when to use this medicine.

    If you have diabetes, always wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace. This helps emergency medical workers know you have diabetes.

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