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What To Do If My Blood Sugar Is Low

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Hyperglycemia can turn into a medical emergency like DKA and HHS that requires immediate intervention by your practitioner or a local emergency department. If you have two blood sugar readings of 300 mg/dL or more or have blood sugar above your target range for more than a week, seek immediate medical help.

Signs of hyperglycemia include:

  • Ketones in your urine
  • Stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath

How Is Hypoglycemia Diagnosed

If you suspect you have low blood sugar, its important to check your blood sugar right away. If you dont have a blood glucose meter and youre on diabetes medications that increase insulin, talk with your doctor about getting a meter.

If you experience low blood sugar often say, a few times a week see your doctor right away to find out why. Your doctor will begin your visit by requesting your medical history, asking questions about your eating habits, and learning more about the symptoms youre experiencing.

If you dont have diabetes but suspect you have hypoglycemia, talk with your doctor about your symptoms. Your doctor will use three criteria, sometimes referred to as Whipples triad, to diagnose low blood sugar:

  • Signs and symptoms of low blood sugar. Your doctor may require you to fast, or abstain from drinking and eating for an extended period of time, so they can observe your low blood sugar signs and symptoms.
  • Documentation of low blood sugar when your signs and symptoms occur. Your doctor will order a blood test to analyze your blood sugar levels in a laboratory.
  • Disappearance of the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar. Your doctor will want to know whether the signs and symptoms go away when your blood sugar levels are raised.

Choose Low Glycemic Index Foods

The glycemic index measures and ranks various foods by how much they cause blood sugar levels to rise. Research shows that following a low glycemic index diet decreases fasting blood sugar levels.

Low glycemic index foods are those that score below 55 on the glycemic index. Examples of low glycemic foods include:

  • sweet potatoes
  • fruit

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Seeking Treatment For Low Blood Sugar

Since the condition can quickly lead to serious complications, dogs with suspected hypoglycemia should be taken to a vet as soon as possible. Once there, a doctor will perform a physical examination and take note of your dogs symptoms. The next step will be to determine, and ultimately stabilize, your dogs blood sugar levels. This testing is usually done with an instrument called a glucometer, like the FreeStyle Libre.

In some cases, your dogs vet may give your dog glucose or corn syrup orally. For more severe symptoms, dogs may require an intravenous injection of concentrated dextrose, a simple syrup made from corn or wheat. They may also perform further diagnostic tests to monitor your pet for liver disease and check on other organs. Both the length of your dogs stay at the vet clinic and the treatment options available to them will depend on the underlying cause of their condition.

In general, dogs respond quickly to treatment. If overexertion is the cause of their low blood sugar, they may simply need to rest. Getting your dog proper nutrition can also help turn things around. In some cases, though, like with excess insulin in diabetic dogs, an ongoing management plan must be created.

Is There A Specific Diet For Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes Mellitus Blood Sugar Range

The goal of managing type 1 diabetes is to keep blood sugar at normal levels to ward off future problems. Taking control of your blood sugar is the only way that youre going to save yourself from a lot of trouble later on, Sandra J. Arevalo, RDN, national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells Health.

All people with type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin for the rest of their lives, but diabetes is a highly individual disease. Every person will need different amounts of insulin at different times, and the insulin must be carefully calibrated with not just food but also exercise, stress, sickness, your body size, and metabolismall of which can affect blood sugar. In the beginning, theres a trial-and-error period to find the right combinations of insulin and diet . It takes time to find that magic number, says Arevalo. Type 1 diabetes is also not static, she adds. It will change as time goes on. For this reason and others, there is no one diabetes diet.

One way to start a dietary plan is with the Diabetes Food Pyramid, based on the well-known Food Pyramid from the US Department of Agriculture. Depending on how many calories you need, the plan recommends:

Alcohol, sweets, and fatty foods should only be taken in moderation.

The plate method can simplify things. Half of your plate should be non-starchy vegetables. Meat or another protein occupies one-fourth, and the final one-fourth is a grain or starch.

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How Do I Check For Ketones

There are two ways to check for ketones:

  • Step 7
  • Do not touch the test end of the strip.
  • Dip the test end of the strip into the cup of fresh urine.
  • Take it out right away.
  • Remove extra urine by drawing it along the rim of the cup.
  • Exactly 15 seconds after dipping it in the urine, compare the ketone strip with the color chart on the bottle of ketone strips.
  • If you have ketones, follow these instructions.
  • Ketone strip storage

    • Keep ketone strips at room temperature between 59° and 86° F. Keep them out of direct sunlight.
    • Step 8 After opening the first time, write the date on the bottle.
    • Always put the lid back on right away after opening.
    • Do not keep them in the bathroom because the moisture could ruin the strips.
    • Throw the ketone strips away 6 months after first opening if they are not gone.
    • Do not use them after the expiration date. Call your pharmacy for a refill.

    Steps to check for blood ketones:

  • Gather the supplies:
  • Wash and dry your hands.
  • Take the blood ketone strip out of the foil wrapper.
  • Put a test strip into meter and it will turn on.
  • Use a small needle, called a lancet, to poke your finger. Get a drop of blood on your fingertip.
  • Touch the window of the test strip to the drop of blood on your finger. The test strip sucks the drop of blood into the strip.
  • In a few seconds, your blood ketone reading will show on the screen of the meter.
  • Exercise Food And Alcohol

    For people with type 1 diabetes, maintaining the correct blood glucose level involves balancing how much insulin you inject, the amount of food you eat, and how much energy you burn during exercise.

    Hypoglycaemia may occur if you’ve taken your dose of insulin as usual, but your carbohydrate intake is lower than normal or has been used up more quickly. This may happen if you delay or miss a meal or snack, don’t eat enough carbohydrate, or exercise more than usual.

    People with diabetes who’ve drunk too much alcohol, or drank alcohol on an empty stomach, can also get hypoglycaemia.

    However, it’s not always possible to identify why a particular episode of hypoglycaemia has occurred, and sometimes it happens for no obvious reason.

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    When It’s Time To Call A Doctor

    If any of the symptoms mentioned have begun to impact your life, such as fatigue so severe you can’t stay awake through the day, it’s a good idea to consult your physician. Dr. Fruge warns that “unstable blood sugar levels could put you at higher risk of heart disease and stroke and it is a red flag for serious health issues” — so blood sugar issues should be taken seriously.

    You should also see a doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia and haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes or any other underlying condition.

    If you do have diabetes and your hypoglycemia isn’t responding to the treatments described above, that’s another good cue to call your health care provider.

    If testing reveals you have Type 1 diabetes, you’ll need to continue to test your blood sugar levels as often as instructed by your physician, take insulin regularly and participate in regular exercise. This may mean you will need a new glucose monitoring system, so ask your doctor what they recommend. If you’re diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you’ll most likely need to do the same as for Type 1, as well as working with health care professionals to make lifestyle changes such as improving nutrition and planning workouts. Medication may be necessary as well.

    Healthy eating, regular exercise and other lifestyle changes can help alleviate symptoms and possibly even reverse prediabetes.

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    If you dont feel better after three tries, or if your symptoms get worse, call your healthcare provider or 911. Healthcare providers can use a medication called glucagon. They inject it with a needle or squirt it up your nose. Glucagon is also available for home use. Your healthcare provider can prescribe it and teach a family member or friend how to use it in the event of severe hypoglycemia.

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    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

    Talk To Your Doctor Or Nurse

    If you use insulin and your blood sugar is frequently or consistently low, ask your doctor or nurse if you:

    • Are injecting your insulin the right way
    • Need a different type of needle
    • Should change how much insulin you take
    • Should change the kind of insulin you take

    Do not make any changes without talking to your doctor or nurse first.

    Sometimes hypoglycemia can be due to accidently taking the wrong medicines. Check your medicines with your pharmacist.

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    How Does My Veterinarian Diagnose Canine Low Blood Sugar

    Low blood sugar is not a disease itself rather, it is a symptom of an underlying disease or problem. To find out what the underlying disease or problem is, you should take your dog to the veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.

    Your veterinarian will diagnose your dog by reviewing their health history and running a series of blood tests. The blood tests may include a blood chemical profile, a complete blood profile, and a complete blood count. Additionally, your veterinarian may want to run a urinalysis.

    Be sure to give your dogs complete medical history to the veterinarian, along with what they are currently eating, any recent dietary changes, the last time they were in heat , and any medications or supplements they are on. Your veterinarian will take all of this information along with the results of the various blood tests and urinalysis to reach a complete diagnosis.

    How Can I Be Better Prepared For Hypoglycemia

    How To Help Low Blood Sugar

    You can take some steps to be ready for hypoglycemia:

    • Be aware of the symptoms and treat them early.
    • Carry some fast-acting carbs with you all the time.
    • Check your glucose levels frequently, especially around meals and exercise.
    • Inform family, friends and co-workers so they know what do if you need help.
    • Talk to your healthcare provider regularly to make and update your plan.
    • Wear a medical bracelet that lets people know you have diabetes. Carry a card in your purse or wallet with instructions for hypoglycemia.

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Hypoglycemia is quite common in people with diabetes. If not treated, it can cause troubling symptoms, and even serious health problems. Fortunately, you can avoid hypoglycemic episodes by monitoring your blood sugar. You can also make small adjustments to eating and exercising routines.

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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.

    Maintain A Healthy Weight

    Losing weight helps control blood sugar levels. Being overweight is linked to increased incidents of diabetes and greater occurrences of insulin resistance.

    Studies show that reducing weight by even only 7 percent can reduce the chances of developing diabetes by 58 percent.

    It is important to note that a person does not need to achieve ideal body weight to benefit from losing 1020 pounds and keeping it off. Doing so will also improve cholesterol, reduce the risk of complications, and improve a persons general sense of well-being.

    Eating a healthful diet full of fruits and vegetables and getting enough exercise can help a person lose weight or maintain their currently healthy weight.

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    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:

    • vegetables
    • legumes
    • whole grains

    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 .

    Summary

    Eating plenty of fiber can aid blood sugar management. Soluble dietary fiber appears to be more effective than insoluble fiber for this purpose.

    Further Tips After A Hypoglycaemic Episode

    Do This And Bring Your Blood Sugar Down Quickly
    • Don’t exercise for the rest of the day after a severe hypoglycaemic episode.
    • After a severe hypo your blood glucose needs to be checked more often. Checking your blood glucose level more often will help you know if your blood glucose level is dropping again.
    • Try and work out why you had the low blood glucose.
    • Did you do more exercise or more intense exercise than usual?
    • Did you forget that you had taken insulin or diabetes tablets, and take another dose?
    • Did you inject into a new area or an area that warmed up with exercise and absorbed more quickly?
    • Was there not enough carbohydrate in your last meal?
    • Is there a particular time of day that hypoglycaemia occurs for you?
  • Tell your doctor and diabetes educator that you have had hypoglycaemia, especially if it was severe or is happening more often. Your insulin or diabetes medication may need to be adjusted.
  • Wear or carry some form of identification, such as a MedicAlert medical ID, to indicate that you have diabetes and are taking insulin or sulphonylureas.
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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.

    Summary

    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.

    Tried And True Tips For Testing Your Blood Sugar

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    Testing your blood sugar is something you can do to understand the role food, exercise, medication, and stress play on your blood sugar. These tips will ensure you know why, how, and when to test to help you feel your best and prevent complications.

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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.

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    Posted date: April 12, 2022

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