How Are Low Blood Sugar Levels Treated
Your diabetes health care team will give you guidelines for treating low blood sugar levels, depending on your symptoms. If you can, try to test your blood sugar levels to make sure that your symptoms are because of hypoglycemia. If you can’t test blood sugar immediately, don’t delay in treating your symptoms you can always check your blood sugar after you’ve taken steps to get your blood sugar back up into the normal range.
When blood sugar levels are low, the goal is to get them back up quickly. To do that, you should take in sugar or sugary foods, which raise the blood sugar level quickly. Your health care team might suggest that you:
- Eat, drink, or take something that contains sugar that can get into the blood quickly. Your doctor may tell you to have really sugary foods or drinks or might give you glucose tablets or gel to take all of these can help to raise your blood sugar level fast, which is what you need to do when it’s low.
- Wait about 10 minutes to let the sugar work.
- Recheck your blood sugar level with a glucose meter to see if blood sugar levels are back to normal.
- Get a glucagon shot , if your symptoms are severe or get worse after you eat, drink, or take glucose.
Sometimes, blood sugar levels can get so low that you may not be awake enough to eat or drink something to get them back up. When this happens, you may need a glucagon shot.
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.
These Foods Can Help You Maintain Optimum Glucose Levels In The Blood When Eaten On A Regular Basis It Is Important To Not Go Without Eating For Too Many Straight Hours During A Single Day
When you need to raise your blood sugar, try to eat simple carbohydrates and sugars that digest fast and can provide you some relief. In such cases, quickly drink a cup of orange juice or soda. You can try any fruit juice for that matter. Eat a few candies or one tablespoon of maple syrup or honey. You can eat a banana or an orange a few raisins or prunes. When your blood sugar is extremely low, you can eat any sugary food to raise it quickly to avoid complications. Jam, jellies and peanut butter with crackers are good options. Diabetic patients must keep some nuts or snacks with them always.
Also Check: Is 127 Blood Sugar High
Glucose Tablets: A Quick Fix
If your blood sugar has dropped too low, a quick-acting carbohydrate is needed to bring blood sugar levels back up, says OConnor. Glucose tablets are tailor-made to help. This inexpensive fix for low blood sugar is widely available at pharmacies and large chain stores like Walmart and Target.
Usually, three to four glucose tablets are needed to bring levels back up. We recommend that patients who are prone to hypoglycemia carry glucose tablets with them and put them in several locations in their home and car, says OConnor. Glucose is also sold in gel form in small packets, and as a beverage.
Sweet Potatoes And Yams
Regular potatoes have a high GI score, but sweet potatoes and yams have low scores and are very nutritious.
Reporting the findings of an animal study, the researchers also note that sweet potato consumption may lower some markers of diabetes.
Although there is still no conclusive evidence to suggest that sweet potatoes can help stabilize or lower blood sugar levels in humans, they are undoubtedly a nutritious food with a low GI score.
People can substitute sweet potatoes or yams for potatoes in a variety of dishes, from fries to casseroles.
Recommended Reading: Which Sugar Is Good For Diabetics
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.
Get the CNET Health and Wellness newsletter
- More From CNET
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.
Read Also: Does Too Much Sugar Cause Eczema
Treating Severely Low Blood Sugar
Blood sugar below 55 mg/dL is considered severely low. You wont be able to treat it using the 15-15 rule. You also may not be able to check your own blood sugar or treat it by yourself, depending on your symptoms. Make sure your family members, friends, and caregivers know your signs of low blood sugar so they can help treat it if needed.
Injectable glucagon is the best way to treat severely low blood sugar. A glucagon kit is available by prescription. Speak with your doctor to see if you should have a kit. Be sure to learn how and when to use it. Let family members and others close to you know where you keep the glucagon kit and make sure theyve been trained in how to use it too.
Its important to contact a doctor for emergency medical treatment immediately after receiving a glucagon injection. If a person faints due to severely low blood sugar, theyll usually wake up within 15 minutes after a glucagon injection. If they dont wake up within 15 minutes after the injection, they should receive one more dose. When the person is awake and able to swallow:
- Feed the person a fast-acting source of sugar .
- Then, have them eat a long-acting source of sugar .
Its also important that friends, family, co-workers, teachers, coaches, and other people you may be around often know how to test your blood sugar and treat severely low blood sugar before it happens.
If any of the following happens, your friend, relative, or helper should call 911:
Why Am I Having Lows
If you are experiencing low blood glucose and youre not sure why, bring a record of blood glucose, insulin, exercise, and food data to a health care provider. Together, you can review all your data to figure out the cause of the lows.
The more information you can give your health care provider, the better they can work with you to understand what’s causing the lows. Your provider may be able to help prevent low blood glucose by adjusting the timing of insulin dosing, exercise, and meals or snacks. Changing insulin doses or the types of food you eat may also do the trick.
Don’t Miss: Can Too Much Sugar Cause Urinary Tract Infection
Drink Water And Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water could help you keep your blood sugar levels within healthy ranges.
In addition to preventing dehydration, it helps your kidneys flush out any excess sugar through urine.
One review of observational studies showed that those who drank more water had a lower risk of developing high blood sugar levels (
You can do so at home using a portable blood glucose meter, which is known as a glucometer. You can discuss this option with your doctor.
Keeping track allows you to determine whether you need to adjust your meals or medications. It also helps you learn how your body reacts to certain foods .
Try measuring your levels regularly every day and keeping track of the numbers in a log. Also, it may be more helpful to track your blood sugar in pairs for example, before and after exercise or before and 2 hours after a meal.
This can show you whether you need to make small changes to a meal if it spikes your blood sugar, rather than avoiding your favorite meals altogether. Some adjustments include swapping a starchy side for non-starchy veggies or limiting them to a handful.
Checking your blood glucose and maintaining a daily log enables you to adjust foods and medications when necessary to better manage your blood sugar levels.
Good Snack Before Bed For Low Blood Sugar
Snacking before bed is often said to be detrimental to your health, but a small bite to eat before hitting the hay can actually help stabilize your blood sugar levels while you sleep. Long periods of fasting — like overnight — can result in body processes that lead to suboptimal blood sugar levels.
Recommended Reading: Does Donating Blood Lower Blood Sugar
Signs And Symptoms Of Low Blood Glucose
Each person’s reaction to low blood glucose is different. Learn your own signs and symptoms of when your blood glucose is low. Taking time to write these symptoms down may help you learn your own symptoms of when your blood glucose is low. From milder, more common indicators to most severe, signs and symptoms of low blood glucose include:
- Feeling shaky
- Color draining from the skin
- Feeling sleepy
- Feeling weak or having no energy
- Blurred/impaired vision
- Tingling or numbness in the lips, tongue, or cheeks
- Nightmares or crying out during sleep
The only sure way to know whether you are experiencing low blood glucose is to check your blood glucose levels, if possible. If you are experiencing symptoms and you are unable to check your blood glucose for any reason, treat the hypoglycemia.
A low blood glucose level triggers the release of epinephrine , the fight-or-flight hormone. Epinephrine is what can cause the symptoms of hypoglycemia such as thumping heart, sweating, tingling, and anxiety.
If the blood sugar glucose continues to drop, the brain does not get enough glucose and stops functioning as it should. This can lead to blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, confused thinking, slurred speech, numbness, and drowsiness. If blood glucose stays low for too long, starving the brain of glucose, it may lead to seizures, coma, and very rarely death.
If You Dont Have Diabetes
Your blood sugar can fall if you wait too long to eat, such as if youâre fasting. It can also happen about 4 hours after a meal. This is reactive hypoglycemia. Or you might have symptoms similar to hypoglycemia if you have postprandial syndrome. This syndrome happens if you eat a lot of simple carbs and your body releases too much insulin to deal with it.
Use these tips to avoid having your blood sugar drop too low from either cause:
Eat small meals and snacks spread throughout the day. Aim for every 3-4 hours.
Stick with healthy eating habits. This should include a variety of fruits, vegetables, and sources of lean protein. The fiber in plant foods, along with lean protein, will give you lasting energy and wonât crash your blood sugar. If you plan to eat or drink something sweet, do so as part of a balanced meal.
Limit caffeine. Its effects can mimic hypoglycemia symptoms.
Limit or avoid alcohol. Alcohol can cause hypoglycemia, especially if you have a drink without eating something. If you drink, keep it moderate: no more than one serving a day for women or two for men. A serving is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor. And donât drink on an empty stomach.
Read Also: Does Almond Milk Contain Sugar
Foods That Wont Spike Your Blood Sugar Levels
When making food choices while managing blood sugar levels, it is important to select ones that wont cause your blood sugar to increase quickly and significantly. Look for whether foods have complex or simple carbohydrates and opt for complex carbohydrates when possible.
Below are 10 foods that wont spike your blood sugar levels and some ideas for incorporating them into your meals.
Diabetes: 10 Foods And Drinks To Help Manage Blood Sugar
- Sub Heading
Diabetes friendly food options are as close as your kitchen.
- Main Image
5 MIN. READ
When you have prediabetes or diabetes, a healthy diabetes meal plan is key to managing your blood sugar. Sometimes it can be tricky to know which foods and drinks are good choices, but these 10 picks can help keep your numbers in check.
Whether they’re lentils, kidney, pinto, black or garbanzo, beans are a low-glycemic index food. That means their carbohydrates are gradually released so they’re less likely to cause blood sugar spikes. They’re so beneficial that one study found that eating a daily cup of beans for three months as part of a low-glycemic index diet lowered HbA1c by half a percentage point.
Try it! Swap in beans for half the meat in tacos or your favorite chili recipe.
You might think that there’s no room in a diabetic meal plan for fruit, but apples are also low glycemic. Aiming for foods like apples that are low or medium on the glycemic index is one way to manage blood sugar levels. And eating an apple a day has its benefits they are high in fiber, vitamin C as well as fat-free! Not to mention a portable and easy snack option.
Try it!Toss an apple in your lunch bag or grab one between meals. Bake them and add cinnamon for warm treat.
Try it! For healthy snacking on-the-go, pack one-ounce portions of almonds into single-serve containers.
5. Chia Seeds
6. Glucerna® Shakes and Bars
Don’t Miss: What To Do If Sugar Level Is Low
What Is The Outlook For People With Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia can be managed when you and your healthcare provider understand what causes your blood sugar to go down. Give your healthcare provider as much information as possible about any hypoglycemic episodes. Fixing the problem may be as simple as changing the times you take medication, eat and exercise. Minor changes to the types of food you eat may also help.
Best Fruits For Blood Sugar
With all of this in mind, lets look at how some common fruits impact blood sugar.
First up: the best options. These fruits tend to have a relatively mild impact on blood sugar and contain beneficial polyphenol compoundsincluding anthocyanins and flavonoidsthat may help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood glucose through a variety of mechanisms.
- Levels Zone score: 7.0 *
- Avg glucose rise: 22 mg/dL
Raspberries provide a fair amount of fiber for relatively little sugar. Plus, theyre high in a specific category of polyphenols called anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Studies suggest that eating berries may help decrease post-meal glucose spikes and increase insulin sensitivity. In the lab, they appear to promote the growth of insulin-producing cells and increase glucose uptake by cells. Since blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries are also unlikely to spike your blood sugar, keep berries in your kitchen rotation. Theyre delicious on their own or paired with nuts or chia seeds.
- Levels Zone Score: 6.2
- Avg glucose rise: 27 mg/dL
- Levels Zone score: 6.5-7
- Avg glucose rise: 27 mg/dL
- Levels Zone score: 6.5
- Avg glucose rise 26 mg/dL
Coconut, 1 ounce unsweetened flakes
- Sugar: 2 grams
- Levels zone score: 8
- Avg glucose rise: 17 mg/dL
Don’t Miss: Is 212 Blood Sugar High
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 lifesavers
- 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: