What Are The Treatment Options For Hypoglycemia
Children with hypoglycemia have different symptoms, and these vary from one child to another. But no matter what your childs symptoms, the overriding goal is the same to bring the blood sugar back up to normal as rapidly as possible and return your child to good health.
Most often, your childs blood sugar can be brought back up to normal by eating or drinking something that has sugar in it, such as fruit juice, regular soda, table sugar, maple syrup, candy, glucose tablets, glucose gel, or cake frosting. Consider encouraging your child to:
- eat regular meals throughout the day
- eat frequent snacks
For children with diabetes, the goal is to consistently maintain a blood sugar level that is in a healthy range. This involves testing blood sugar often, learning to recognize the earliest symptoms of low blood sugar, and treating the condition quickly, based on instructions given by your childs healthcare providers.
If your child has recurrent or severe hypoglycemia, the first thing is to determine the cause, because different causes have different treatments. While the cause is determined, some children will receive glucose intravenously in the hospital to make sure their blood-sugar level stays normal.
Some causes of hypoglycemia can be treated with changes in your childs diet or medication. For some rare cases of severe hypoglycemia that dont respond to medical treatment, the doctor may recommend surgery to remove most of the pancreas.
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.
- Read more detail on how to treat hypoglycemia
If A Person Is Unconscious
If a person loses consciousness because of severe hypoglycaemia, they need to be put into the recovery position and given an injection of the hormone glucagon . The injection will raise their blood glucose level.
The injection should be carried out by a friend or family member who knows what they’re doing, or by a trained healthcare professional.
You should dial 999 to request an ambulance if:
- a glucagon injection kit isn’t available
- there’s nobody available who’s trained to give the injection
- the injection is ineffective after 10 minutes
Never try to put food or drink into the mouth of someone who’s unconscious as they could choke.
If you’re able to give a glucagon injection and the person regains consciousness, they should eat some longer-acting carbohydrate food, such as a few biscuits, a cereal bar or a sandwich.
You should continue to monitor the person for signs of recurring symptoms in case they need to be treated again.
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How To Deal With Low Blood Sugar
âWhen blood sugars are low, the first goal is to bring them up to above 70 mg/dL with a simple and fast-acting source of sugar,â says Crean. âOnce your blood sugar is above this goal, you want to eat a balanced meal or snack that contains some additional carbohydrates, plus protein and fat to help keep it stable.â Think: A handful of whole-grain crackers topped with a tablespoon of peanut butter.
The general rule of thumb is to consume 15 grams of carbs, then wait 15 minutes before checking your blood sugar again. If itâs still too low, repeat the process. âA good premeal blood sugar range to comfortably stay within would be 80 to 130 mg/dL,â says Crean.
Here are some super-convenient ways to get your blood sugar back on track, stat.
How Do Carbs Affect Blood Sugar
Carbs in food make your blood sugar levels go higher after you eat them than when you eat proteins or fats. You can still eat carbs if you have diabetes. The amount you can have and stay in your target blood sugar range depends on your age, weight, activity level, and other factors. Counting carbs in foods and drinks is an important tool for managing blood sugar levels. Make sure to talk to your health care team about the best carb goals for you.
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Check Your Blood Sugar Often
Talk with your provider about when you should check your blood sugar every day. People who have low blood sugar need to check their blood sugar more often.
The most common causes of low blood sugar are:
- Taking your insulin or diabetes medicine at the wrong time
- Taking too much insulin or diabetes medicine
- Taking insulin to correct high blood sugar without eating any food
- Not eating enough during meals or snacks after you have taken insulin or diabetes medicine
- Waiting too long after taking your medicine to eat your meals
- Exercising a lot or at a time that is unusual for you
- Not checking your blood sugar or not adjusting your insulin dose before exercising
- Drinking alcohol
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.
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What Factors Affect Blood Sugar
You can guess that carbohydrate intake and insulin production are at least partly responsible for your blood sugar levels. But the list is much longer almost every lifestyle choice you make can affect your blood sugar. Heres just a partial list.
- Exercise can affect insulin sensitivity, leading to lower blood sugar for up to 48 hours.
- Alcohol intake increases insulin production, causing low blood sugar.
- Stress hormones like cortisol can raise blood sugar, because your body wants access to energy in order to escape what it perceives as a dangerous situation.
- Medications, especially statins and diuretics, can raise blood sugar. Statins are used to treat cholesterol, and diuretics for high blood pressure.
- Diet is a major player in blood sugar. Eating too many simple carbs at once can cause levels to skyrocket, while protein intake leads to a slower increase in blood sugar.
- Dehydration raises blood sugar, because with less water in your body the glucose concentration will be higher.
Other surprising factors can affect your blood sugar, like a sunburn or gum disease, so if youre dealing with a blood sugar issue and cant figure out whats causing your spikes and dips, talk to a health care professional.
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The Dangers Of Low Blood Sugar And What You Can Do About It
Your blood sugar fluctuates throughout the day, going up or down depending on the food you eat, how much you exercise, the medications you take, and even your stress level.
Most of the time you probably wont notice these fluctuations because theyre within whats considered a target range. However, if your blood sugar gets too low below 70 mg/DL it can be dangerous, especially if you have diabetes.
This condition is called hypoglycemia and its especially common among patients with diabetes who take certain types of medications. A large global study found that 4 out of every 5 patients with type 1 diabetes, and nearly half of those with type 2 diabetes, reported low blood sugar at least once over a four-week period.1
As long as youre aware of the symptoms of hypoglycemia, there are plenty of things you can do to bring your blood sugar back to a healthy level. However, if left untreated, hypoglycemia can cause serious side effects and potentially land you in the hospital.
The hypoglycemia-diabetes connection
Your body converts carbohydrates in foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, and bread products into glucose, and requires insulin to transport it into cells and tissues for energy. Normally, when your blood sugar levels drop too low, your body either produces more glucose or releases extra glucose that has been stored in the liver and muscles.
Know the warning signs of hypoglycemia
Treating low blood sugar
Posted date: April 12, 2022
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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.
- 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 .
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
- 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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Hypoglycemia Can Occur At Night
“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.
He checks his blood sugar, and if it’s low, he goes straight to the refrigerator and drinks some pineapple juice, and eats a peanut butter sandwich. He waits 45 minutes or so and then checks his blood sugar again. If it’s in the normal range, he heads back to bed.
Examples Of Appropriate Snacks May Be:
- 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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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.
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 .
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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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
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.
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High Or Low Blood Sugar
Nausea is a symptom of both high and low blood sugar, so it is important to check your levels at home with your glucometer before deciding on your next steps. If you are experiencing blood glucose highs and lows regularly or more frequently than usual, tell your healthcare provider. They can help determine the cause and a plan of action to keep your blood sugar levels within the normal range.
Medication And Supplements May Contribute To Blood Sugar Changes
Illness itself can increase blood sugar levels, but so can illness-fighting medication. A number of over-the-counter and prescription drugs even some vitamins and supplements can raise blood sugar. Examples include corticosteroids, asthma medication, birth control pills, certain antidepressants, and some medication for severe acne, Dodell says. While the exact causes arent completely clear, research suggests that changes in blood flow as well as direct effects on insulin release and receptors may explain why blood-pressure-lowering medication has the potential to spike blood sugar.
Its therefore important to let your doctor know about each and every medication you take, whether OTC or prescribed by another doctor, he says. They may be able to help you find an alternative medication that is better for your blood sugar levels or, alternatively, simply help you manage your blood sugar despite any sugar-increasing medicine.
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When To See A Doctor
According to the University of Michigan, blood sugar levels of 300 mg/dL or more can be dangerous. They recommend calling a doctor if you have two readings in a row of 300 or more.
See your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar levels. Symptoms of this include:
- increased thirst
- high levels of sugar in urine
Ask your doctor how often to check your blood sugar and about your ideal blood sugar levels.
If you dont currently see a doctor who specializes in diabetes, known as an endocrinologist, you can find one by searching the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists website.
You can find a certified diabetes educator by visiting the American Diabetes Associations website and searching by zip code.
Talk to your doctor if you have consistently high blood sugar readings or symptoms of chronic hyperglycemia.
Checking your blood sugar and then treating hyperglycemia early will help prevent any complications.
Health problems can arise when someone has high blood sugar regularly and without treatment.
Examples of complications include:
- nerve damage, called diabetic neuropathy, that may affect sensations in the feet and hands
- diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the blood vessels in the eyes that affects vision
- increased risks for kidney problems
- increased risks for heart problems
Taking steps to keep your blood sugar at target levels can help to minimize the likelihood that these complications will occur.