How Is Hypoglycemia Treated
When your blood sugar levels are too low, eating carbohydrates is key. If you have diabetes, try to keep high carbohydrate snacks on hand.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that your snack have at least 15 grams of carbohydrates. Some good snacks to keep on hand are:
- jelly beans or gumdrops
- fresh or dried fruit
You also can take glucose tablets to rapidly raise your blood sugar if its low. These are available without a prescription. Its important to check how many grams are in each tablet before taking them. Aim to get 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrates.
Wait 15 minutes after eating or taking a glucose tablet and test your blood sugar again. If your blood sugar is not going up, eat another 15 grams of carbohydrates or take another dose of glucose tablets. Repeat this until your blood sugar level starts to rise.
Be sure not to overeat. This could lead to blood sugar levels that are too high.
If your blood sugar remains unresponsive, contact your doctor or emergency services right away. When in doubt, treat.
Symptoms of low blood sugar usually get worse if theyre left untreated. Make an appointment to see your doctor if you have diabetes and experience low blood sugar levels often, or if you have symptoms, even if you dont have diabetes.
How Can I Treat Low Blood Sugar
If youve had low blood sugar without feeling or noticing symptoms , you may need to check your blood sugar more often to see if its low and treat it. Driving with low blood sugar can be dangerous, so be sure to check your blood sugar before you get behind the wheel.
Carry supplies for treating low blood sugar with you. If you feel shaky, sweaty, or very hungry or have other symptoms, check your blood sugar. Even if you dont have symptoms but think you may have low blood sugar, check it. If your blood sugar is lower than 70 mg/dL, do one of the following immediately:
- Take four glucose tablets.
- Drink four ounces of fruit juice.
- Drink four ounces of regular soda, not diet soda.
- Eat four pieces of hard candy.
Wait for 15 minutes and then check your blood sugar again. Do one of the above treatments again until your blood sugar is 70 mg/dL or above and eat a snack if your next meal is an hour or more away. If you have problems with low blood sugar, ask your doctor if your treatment plan needs to be changed.
Preventing Low Blood Sugar Levels
Here are some other tips to help you avoid low blood sugar levels:
- Eat all your meals and snacks on time and try not to skip any.
- Take the right amount of insulin.
- If you exercise longer or harder than usual, have an extra snack.
- Don’t take a hot bath or shower right after an insulin shot.
- Stick to your diabetes management plan.
- Check your blood sugar levels regularly, so you can tell if your blood sugars are running too low and your treatment plan needs adjustment.
- Carry something containing sugar with you at all times and take it right away if you have symptoms. Don’t wait to see if the symptoms will go away they may get worse!
Alcohol and drugs can cause major problems with your blood sugar levels, so avoiding them is another way to prevent diabetes problems. Drinking can be particularly dangerous even deadly for people with diabetes because it messes up the body’s ability to keep blood glucose in a normal range. This can cause a very rapid drop in blood glucose in people with diabetes. Drug or alcohol use is also dangerous because it may affect someone’s ability to sense low blood sugar levels.
Learning how to recognize the signs of low blood sugar levels and get them back to normal is an important part of caring for diabetes. Keeping track of your blood sugar levels and recording lows when they occur will help you and your diabetes health care team keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range.
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What Is Normal Blood Sugar
When we eat, glucose — which is our body’s main source of energy — enters our bloodstream from our food. Then our pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin in just the right amount to help the glucose go from the bloodstream to our body’s various cells to be used as energy. This process usually keeps the glucose in our bloodstream in a healthy range, being neither too high, nor too low.
This range is measured in milligrams of blood glucose per deciliter, or mg/dL. Dr. Saleh Aldasouqi, Chief of Endocrinology at Michigan State University, explains to CNET: “Normal blood sugar is defined as anywhere from 70 to 110 mg/dL within a healthy physiology, as a person without diabetes or other related diagnosed condition. Sugar below 70 is generally considered low, and above 110 is considered high .”
What Else Should I Do
- Always carry fast acting carbohydrates with you
- Wear identification that says you have diabetes
- Make a note of any hypos you have and discuss it with your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator
- Make sure your family, friends, co-workers, school staff and carers know how to recognise and treat hypoglycaemia
- Look for the cause of your hypo so you can try to prevent it from occurring again
- Contact your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator if you are having hypos often
- If youre taking medication called Acarbose carry pure glucose with you such as glucose tablets, glucose gel or Lucozade
- Eat carbohydrates if you are drinking alcohol
- Test your blood glucose level and ensure it is above 5mmol/L before driving a motor vehicle.
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Nighttime Low Blood Sugars
You may experience a low blood sugar night. The low blood sugar might wake you up and your symptoms might be similar to those you have during the day. However, the symptoms may be different. You might have nightmares, sleep poorly, perspire, or feel hot and cold. In the morning you may have a headache, feel nauseated, or feel confused. Notify your doctor if this happens. Check your blood sugar at the time you have the symptoms.
Treatment for a low blood sugar that occurs at night is the same as described earlier.
Your doctor may request that you check a 3:00 a.m. blood sugar 1 to 2 times per week in order to detect any low blood sugars during the night.
Disclaimer: This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information provided is intended to be informative and educational and is not a replacement for professional medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.
The Lifestyle Cures Plate #1 Method:
- 4 main food groups Vegetables, fruits, legumes, & whole grains
- 4 helpful & healthy additions to your plate oils, nuts, and seeds, dairy and dairy alternatives, herbs and spices, & protein
Veggies and Fruits
½ Plate portion of vegetables and fruit, where the majority is made up of veggies and the rest is of fruit.
On your plate ¼ portion should consist of legumes.
On your plate ¼ plate portion should also consist of whole grains.
Oil, nuts, & seeds
Refer below to portion size measurements with hands for the amount that should be used.
Herbs & spices
You can use as much or as little of these that you want there is no restriction as to how much you are allowed to use.
Dairy & dairy alternatives
There should not be an emphasis on dairy or its alternatives. And if you can, try and have more plant-based milk instead whenever the option is available.
Normally protein is considered to be one of the main food groups on a plate. However, we have moved protein to the side and replaced it with legumes. The reason behind that is that you can get a majority of protein from legumes as well.
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A Low Blood Sugar Level And Driving
You may still be allowed to drive if you have diabetes or you’re at risk of a low blood sugar level for another reason, but you’ll need to do things to reduce the chance of this happening while you’re driving.
You also need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and your car insurance company about your condition.
For more information, see:
How To Treat Someone Whos Unconscious Or Very Sleepy
Follow these steps:
They may need to go to hospital if theyre being sick , or their blood sugar level drops again.
Tell your diabetes care team if you ever have a severe hypo that caused you to lose consciousness.
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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.
Other Causes Of Low Blood Sugar
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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Q: I Have Type 2 Diabetes And Take Insulin Injections If My Blood Sugar Is Low Should I Still Take My Insulin
A: Let me say that if you are experiencing a low blood sugar with symptoms, you should always treat first, worry about your insulin later. Common symptoms of , the official term for low blood sugar, are shakiness, confusion, heart racing, vision changes, being uncoordinated, and feeling cold, clammy, or sweaty. If hypoglycemia continues without treatment, it can lead to a loss of consciousness.
We define hypoglycemia as a blood sugar below 70 mg/dL regardless of symptoms. Many people experience blood sugars much lower than this without concern but for someone on , it can be quite dangerous to keep your blood sugar that low, especially if the person doesnt experience symptoms of low blood sugar.
Ideally, we would like to see blood glucose kept in a relatively normal range, which the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology defines as 80 to 120 mg/dL. If you can do that safely, without hypoglycemia, then you are well managed! If there are reasons your provider has counseled against this guideline, educate yourself about the reasons and follow their guidance.
When anticipating where your blood sugar may be headed, it is important to remember that insulin isnt a time machine it cant work backwards. So, when you ask if you should take your insulin when your sugar is lowbe prepared for these follow-up questions:
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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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.
High Blood Sugar And The Brain
People with high blood sugar can get confused, weak, and dizzyjust like people experiencing low blood sugarbut for a completely different reason. Its not the lack of fuel for the brain its the pollution that comes from burning fat. When the rest of the body is burning fat, byproducts known as ketones are released into the bloodstream. Ketones are very acidic and the brain is finicky it cant work in an environment with too much acid and begins to malfunction. Its a dangerous condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis .
Note that diabetic ketoacidosis differs from nutritional ketosis, which is the aim of the ketogenic or keto diet. In the keto diet, levels of ketones are much lower than in DKA.
It takes an excessive amount of ketones in the blood to affect the brain, so high blood sugar levels dont often affect the brain for dayssometimes weeks. In that time, the actual sugar levels can go up or down. Its the lack of insulin and the burning of fat rather than the presence of extra sugar that causes the problem.
So, giving sugar to people with high blood sugar isnt going to helpthey already have too much. But its not going to hurt, either.
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