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When Blood Sugar Is Too Low What To Do

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How Common Is Low Blood Glucose

Treating Low Blood Sugar

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

Causes Not Related To Diabetes

According to the Endocrine Society, non-diabetes-related hypoglycemia is rare but can occur. There are two types:

  • fasting hypoglycemia, often associated with an underlying condition
  • reactive hypoglycemia, which occurs within a few hours of a meal

Causes of fasting hypoglycemia may include:

  • binge drinking or heavy alcohol consumption
  • liver, heart, or kidney disease
  • tumors that affect the pancreas
  • low hormone levels
  • certain medications, such as salicylates or sulfa

Causes of reactive hypoglycemia include:

  • a person with prediabetes
  • enzyme deficiency
  • stomach surgery

Doctors are still not clear about what exactly causes reactive hypoglycemia. However, they know people with this condition tend to have excessive insulin in their blood.

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How Can I Check My Blood Sugar

Use a blood sugar meter or a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, youll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.

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Dont Drive When You Have Low Blood Sugar

Pin on Healthy Diabetic Life

It’s dangerous. If you’re driving and you have hypoglycemia symptoms, pull off the road, check your blood sugar, and eat a sugary food. Wait at least 15 minutes, check your blood sugar, and repeat these steps if needed. Eat a protein and carbohydrate source before you drive on. Be prepared. Keep a sugar source, such as glucose tablets, in your car at all times for emergencies.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia

Symptoms of hypoglycemia can start quickly, with people experiencing them in different ways. The signs of hypoglycemia are unpleasant. But they provide good warnings that you should take action before blood sugar drops more. The signs include:

  • Shaking or trembling.
  • Tingling or numbness in the face or mouth.

During a severe hypoglycemic event, a person may:

  • Be unable to eat or drink.
  • Have a seizure or convulsions .
  • Lose consciousness.
  • Slip into a coma or die .

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What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis

If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms.

When too many ketones are produced too fast, they can build up in your body and cause diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. DKA is very serious and can cause a coma or even death. Common symptoms of DKA include:

  • Fast, deep breathing.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

If you think you may have DKA, test your urine for ketones. Follow the test kit directions, checking the color of the test strip against the color chart in the kit to see your ketone level. If your ketones are high, . DKA requires treatment in a hospital.

DKA happens most in people with type 1 diabetes and is sometimes the first sign of type 1 in people who havent yet been diagnosed. People with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but its less common.

What Is Hypoglycaemia

Low Blood Sugar / High Blood Sugar

Hypoglycaemia or low blood glucose occurs when your blood glucose level is less than 4 mmol/L, or where symptoms of hypoglycaemia are experienced at a level close to this.

Normally, when blood glucose lowers, your body lowers the amount of insulin it is putting out. This stabilises blood glucose by stopping glucose moving into your bodys cells and releasing stored glucose from your liver. This may not happen if you have diabetes.

When you have diabetes and are taking insulin , you can still get the same low blood glucose level if you run out of glucose coming in from your food. But when your body senses that your blood glucose is becoming lower and it tries to switch off its insulin, it cant. This is because you have injected your insulin .

This means the insulin continues to move glucose into your bodys cells and your liver doesnt start releasing stored glucose. So, your blood glucose level keeps going down and can soon be dangerously low.

Because your brain needs glucose all the time to function, if you cut off the supply of glucose and do not take action, you will eventually become unconscious.The following video from Diabetes UK helps explain the common symptoms, causes and treatment.

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What If The 15

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.

How Quickly Does Novolog Flexpen Lower Blood Sugar

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The Causes Of Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar levels can happen to kids with diabetes because of the medicines they have to take. Kids with diabetes may need a hormone called insulin and/or diabetes pills to help their bodies use the sugar in their blood. These medicines help take the sugar out of the blood and get it into the body’s cells, which makes the level of sugar in the blood go down.

But sometimes it’s a tricky balancing act, and blood sugar levels can get too low. Kids with diabetes need to keep their blood sugar levels from getting too high or too low. How do they do it? With help from grown-ups, they keep three things in balance:

  • not timing the insulin doses properly with meals, snacks, and exercise
  • taking a long bath or shower right after an insulin shot

What Should Glucose Level Be For A Diabetic On Medication

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Signs & Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar

Keeping blood glucose levels in a healthy range can be challenging.

When the amount of sugar in your blood has dropped below your target range , it is called low blood sugar .

If your blood sugar has dropped, you may feel:

  • shaky, light-headed, nauseated
  • an increase in heart rate
  • sweaty, headachy
  • numbness or tingling on your tongue or lips

Symptoms of very low blood sugar are more severe and can make you:

  • confused and disoriented
  • lose consciousness

Make sure you always wear your MedicAlert® identification and talk to your doctor or diabetes educator about prevention and emergency treatment for severe low blood sugar.

How To Better Control Blood Sugar

Those with diabetes can avoid dysglycemia by following a few simple tips:

  • Test it. Set up a schedule for testing your blood sugar and stick to it.
  • Log it. Keep a written record of your blood sugar or use your meter or your phone to save your readings.
  • Watch for trends. Be aware of your blood sugar trends, and pay attention to when your levels go up or down.
  • Establish routines. Your blood sugar will be more stable if you have routines for eating and exercising.
  • Know your symptoms. Learn how you feel when your blood sugar is low and when it is high.

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How Do You Treat Low Blood Sugar

A popular method for treating low blood sugar is to follow the Rule of 15. This is when a person experiencing low blood glucose eats 15 grams of carbohydrates, then waits for 15 minutes for their glucose to rise.

These 15 minutes can feel impossibly long, but its important to be as patient as possible to see if the initial intake of 15 grams of carbohydrates is working.

If glucose levels have not come up in the initial 15 minutes, the person should consume 15 more grams of carbohydrates and repeat the process.

If they are using a continuous glucose monitoring system, they should remember that it can take a few more minutes for the interstitial glucose to reflect the glucose absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. It is best to check a fingerstick in 15 minutes to confirm that glucose is rising, as the rise in glucose could be delayed on CGM.

When in doubt, use a fingerstick to verify glucose levels especially if the symptoms dont match the CGM values.

Another way to treat low blood sugar is by using glucagon.

Can You Prevent Low Blood Sugar

Hypoglycaemia – How to Treat and Prevent 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 don’t 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.

What else can you do? Wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace that says you have diabetes. Then, if you are not feeling well, whoever’s helping you even if the person doesn’t know you will know to call for medical help. Medical identification also can include your doctor’s phone number or a parent’s phone number. The quicker you get help, the quicker you’ll be feeling better.

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Blood Sugar: Here’s How To Measure It And Tell If Your Level Is Healthy

Caroline Roberts

Digital Editorial Intern

Caroline Roberts writes articles and notifications for CNET. She studies English at Cal Poly, and loves philosophy, Karl the Fog and a strong cup of black coffee.

High blood sugar levels are a problem, even if you don’t have a family history of diabetes. Blood sugar that’s consistently higher than ideal can coexist with Type 2 diabetes and cause serious health conditions like kidney disease, nerve problems or stroke.

While that’s no reason to panic, when it comes to our health, it’s important to know exactly what’s going on inside of our bodies. Let’s get into what blood sugar means, how to measure it and everything else you need to know.

Best Foods For Low Blood Sugar

For patients with diabetes, monitoring blood sugar levels is a part of daily life.

Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can occur for many people with diabetes who are on certain medications, including insulin and sulfonylureas. It can occur for a variety of reasons including skipping a meal, exercising strenuously, taking too much insulin or consuming alcohol, especially on an empty stomach.

Low blood sugar can be as minor as a slight inconvenience or as serious as a life-threatening emergency. Thats why it is important to boost blood sugar before it becomes problematic.

Angela Norton, a diabetes educator at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, has diabetes herself, so she knows firsthand the tips and tricks of keeping blood sugar on track. Although blood glucose is considered normal if above 70 mg/dL, Norton says patients with diabetes should not wait until they reach below that threshold to take action.

Treat when you feel the symptoms, even if your blood sugar is not below 70, because as long as it is less than 100, it may be dropping fast, she says.

When it comes to treatment, Norton shares these five foods to help boost low blood sugar.

1. CandyWhen hypoglycemia occurs, patients should follow the 15-15 rule. Consume 15 grams of carbohydrates to raise blood glucose and check your levels again after 15 minutes. When the numbers return to normal, eat a snack to stay on track.

Gummy candies contain carbohydrates, which have a large impact on blood sugar levels.

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