Further Tips After A Hypoglycaemic Episode
- 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?
Possible Causes With Diabetes
Diabetes affects your bodys ability to use insulin. Think of insulin as the key that unlocks your cells, letting glucose in for energy.
People with diabetes use a variety of treatments to help their bodies use the glucose in their blood. Among these are oral medications that increase insulin production and insulin injections.
If you take too much of these types of medications, your blood sugar may drop too low. People also sometimes experience low blood sugar when planning to eat a big meal, but then they do not eat enough.
Skipping meals, eating less than normal, or eating later than normal but taking your medication at your normal time can also lead to low blood sugar levels.
Unplanned excess physical activity without eating enough can also cause a drop in blood sugar levels.
Drinking alcohol when youre on these medications can also lead to low blood sugar, especially if it replaces food. When the body is trying to get rid of alcohol it becomes worse at managing blood sugar levels.
What To Do If You Have Symptoms
Very low blood sugar is a medical emergency. If someone you know has diabetes and theyre experiencing mild to moderate symptoms, have them eat or drink 15 grams of easily digestible carbohydrates, such as:
- half a cup of juice or regular soda
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 4 or 5 saltine crackers
- 3 or 4 pieces of hard candy or glucose tablets
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
If someone is having a severe reaction, such as unconsciousness, its important to administer a medication called glucagon and contact emergency services immediately.
People who are at risk for low blood sugar should talk with their doctor about getting a prescription for glucagon. You should never give an unconscious person anything by mouth, as it could cause them to choke.
Low blood sugar can occur for a number of reasons. Its usually a side effect of diabetes treatment.
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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 Can Cause Low Blood Sugar Levels
Some things that can make low blood sugar levels more likely are:
- skipping meals and snacks
- not eating enough food during a meal or snack
- exercising longer or harder than usual without eating some extra food
- getting too much insulin
- not timing the insulin doses properly with meals, snacks, and exercise
Also, some things may increase how quickly insulin gets absorbed into the bloodstream and can make hypoglycemia more likely. These include:
- taking a hot shower or bath right after having an insulin injection increases blood flow through the blood vessels in the skin, which can make the insulin be absorbed more quickly than usual
- injecting the shot into a muscle instead of the fatty layer under the skin
- injecting the insulin into a part of the body used a lot in a particular sport .
All of these situations increase the chances that a person may get hypoglycemia.
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How Can I Prevent Low Blood Glucose
All people with diabetes:
- If you experience low blood glucose often, ask your doctor if setting a higher goal for your A1C level may be appropriate.
- Ask your doctor to look at the test results from your home blood glucose monitor. These results reveal how often you have low blood glucose and when these episodes occur. Your doctor will look for patterns to see if low glucose happens after exercise or at certain times of day, for example.
- If you’ve had low blood glucose in the past, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet so that others will know that you have diabetes in the event of an emergency.
- Keep a fast-acting carbohydrate in your bag, desk drawer, car and other places for easy access. Good options include hard candy, fruit juice or glucose paste or tablets, which can be purchased at most pharmacies.
- Ask your doctor for an emergency glucagon kit. This kit contains a fast- acting medication that can be injected in case of loss of consciousness because of low blood glucose. Keep one kit at home and one at work or school.
- Monitor your blood glucose regularly so that low levels can be corrected before symptoms progress.
How Can I Be Better Prepared For Hypoglycemia
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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What To Do When Your Blood Sugar Levels Drop Too Low
People who use insulin and other diabetes medications are at risk for hypoglycemia. Keep this action plan handy so you’re prepared.
If you take insulin or diabetes medication, you may be at risk of developing hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Without quick attention, hypoglycemia can lead to serious complications, so its important to know what to do if it happens to you or someone close to you.
In very severe cases, hypoglycemia can lead to seizures or loss of consciousness, says a clinical assistant professor of medicine, endocrinology, gerontology, and metabolism at Stanford Health Care, and chief of the Stanford Endocrine Clinic.
It’s possible to have hypoglycemia but have no symptoms, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases . On the other hand, symptoms can also come on rapidly. While symptoms vary from person to person, if you develop mild to moderate low blood sugar you may:
- Feel shaky or jittery
- Have a headache or be lightheaded
- Turn pale
- Be irritable or combative
- Have blurred vision or see double
Some people feel tingling or numbness in their extremities too, says Rodolfo Galindo, MD, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology, metabolism, and lipids at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and chair of the inpatient diabetes taskforce.
Diabetes: Here’s What To Do When You Have Low Blood Sugar Levels
- Medication or insulin treatment is used to control spikes in blood glucose levels but at times, people with diabetes may suffer from hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels. Here’s how to tackle the condition.
People with diabetes take every measure to prevent spikes in their blood glucose levels from medication to right nutrition. When you have diabetes your body either cannot make enough insulin or it is not able to use it effectively .
Medication or insulin treatment is used to control spikes in blood glucose levels but at times, people with diabetes may suffer from hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels. Diabetics are prone to this condition when they skip meals, drink alcohol without any food or eat meals that have simple sugars. That’s why it is advised for people with diabetes to eat frequent but small meals throughout the day.
“When your blood sugar goes lower than 60 mg/dL it is termed as low blood sugar or hypoglycemia,” says Shilpa Joshi – Head Metabolic Nutrition, Fitterfly.
The symptoms of low blood sugar are confusion, headaches, feeling shaky, dizziness, hunger, irritability, pounding heart, pale skin, sweating, weakness etc. One may also pass out, have seizure or slip into coma if low blood is not addressed on time.
Here are other things that you can try:
* Eat 15 gm of fast-acting carbohydrate such as 4 glucose tablets or 1/2 cup fruit juice
* ORS solution mixed in water.
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How To Treat Someone Who’s Unconscious Or Very Sleepy
Follow these steps:
They may need to go to hospital if they’re 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.
Diet For Low Blood Sugar
It seems obvious that to combat low blood sugar, your diet must contain sugar rich foods. High carbohydrate foods and dairy products are a must for hypoglycemic patients. Symptoms of low blood sugar must be immediately remedied with sugar water or something similar. Some foods should become a part of your regular diet if you experience recurring episodes of low blood sugar. These include but are not limited to the following:
- Regular soda or other non-diet soft drinks
- Fruit juices
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Nighttime Low Blood Sugar
While low blood sugar can happen at any time during the day, some people may experience low blood sugar while they sleep. Reasons this may happen include:
- Having an active day.
- Being physically active close to bedtime.
- Taking too much insulin.
- Drinking alcohol at night.
Eating regular meals and not skipping them can help you avoid nighttime low blood sugar. Eating when you drink alcohol can also help. If you think youre at risk for low blood sugar overnight, have a snack before bed.
You may wake up when you have low blood sugar, but you shouldnt rely on that. A continuous glucose monitor can alert you with an alarm if your blood sugar gets low while youre sleeping.
Bioptimizers Blood Sugar Breakthrough
The effect of meals rich in carbohydrates
Carbohydrates and sugar from food enter the body as blood sugar. More carbohydrates or carbohydrates with a high glycemic index raise your blood sugar higher or faster. After a while, it stabilises back to a normal level.
There are reasons to reduce the length and height of the blood sugar rise, such as:
- You follow a low-carb or ketogenic diet
- You experience fluctuations in energy due to changes in your blood sugar
- You want to reduce other long-term effects of elevated blood sugar
Maintaining normal blood sugar levels
BiOptimizers Blood Sugar Breakthrough helps keep your blood sugar levels normal. Vitamin B8 promotes energy metabolism and normal macronutrient metabolism, together with chromium. Chromium is responsible for supporting normal blood sugar levels.
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No Symptoms Be Alarmed
Surprisingly, the most dangerous episodes of hypoglycemia occur with little or no warning. When low blood glucose occurs on a regular basis, the body can become used to the warning signs and the person may stop noticing symptoms. This is a particularly dangerous condition known as hypoglycemic unawareness. People with this condition might not realize they have low blood glucose until it’s dangerously low seizures and coma are sometimes the first indication of a problem. The good news is that this condition can often be reversed allowing people to once again notice the signs of low blood glucose if hypoglycemia is avoided for a few weeks through careful monitoring of blood glucose.
How Can I Prevent Hypoglycemic Episodes
The key to preventing hypoglycemic events is managing diabetes:
- Follow your healthcare providers instructions about food and exercise.
- Track your blood sugar regularly, including before and after meals, before and after exercise and before bed.
- Take all your medications exactly as prescribed.
- When you do have a hypoglycemic event, write it down. Include details such as the time, what you ate recently, whether you exercised, the symptoms and your glucose level.
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How To Prevent Low Blood Sugar
The good news is that low blood sugar can be easily prevented. Most diabetics can avoid it if they follow their doctors advice and stay on their diabetes maintenance plan.
The most important steps for preventing low blood sugar include:
- Regularly testing your blood.
- Eating whenever blood sugar levels fall below 100mg/dL. Diabetics should keep a supply of food with them so they can replenish blood sugar.
- Eating regularly three meals a day or more to maintain an adequate level of blood sugar.
- Taking steps to prevent diabetes by getting plenty of exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle.
- Stopping the consumption of alcohol, which can cause low blood sugar and other health problems.
What Causes Low Blood Glucose In People With Diabetes
Low blood glucose levels can be a side effect of insulin or some other medicines that help your pancreas release insulin into your blood. Taking these can lower your blood glucose level.
Two types of diabetes pills can cause low blood glucose
- sulfonylureas, usually taken once or twice per day, which increase insulin over several hours
- meglitinides, taken before meals to promote a short-term increase in insulin
The following may also lower your blood glucose level
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Keep A Check On Your Sugar Levels
People with diabetes who take insulin often find it more difficult to avoid low blood sugars. Their glucose levels drop frequently, sometimes without them even realizing it, which could be quite dangerous.
If you dont know your blood sugar level is down, you wont try to treat it. Delayed treatment or lack of treatment can make your blood sugar level fall extremely low, which could endanger your life. Therefore, such high-risk patients must constantly monitor their blood sugar level to avoid any sudden or drastic drops.
Consider using a continuous glucose monitor for this purpose. This device is worn on the arm or abdomen, and it keeps sampling your blood sugar through your skin. You can get the current reading on your blood sugar the entire time you are wearing it.
Most CGMs allow the wearers to set alarms that go off if the blood sugar level is low or will be low in the next 30 minutes.
Hypoglycemia Symptoms And Treatment
|Grouchiness, shakiness,sweating, fast heart rate, pale skin, dizziness, yawning||Fast acting sugar: Rule of 15 in general – 15 grams of fast acting carbohydrate, wait 15 minutes and recheck BG. If not better in 15 minutes, repeat treatment. If the next meal or snack is more than 30 minutes away, give an extra snack of carbohydrate and protein. For smaller kids, the amount may need to be adjusted, see here for more information.|
|Confusion, poor coordination, inability to cooperate, slurred speech||Instant Glucose or Cake Gel: Insert tube between gum and cheek. Administer appropriate amount. If no response in 15 minutes, administer glucagon. If the next meal or snack is more than 30 minutes away, give an extra snack of carbohydrate and protein.|
|Unconsciousness, convulsions, seizure||Glucagon: Administer glucagon as directed Call paramedics. Phone diabetes doctor on call. Feed as soon as possible after awakening. Review expiration date and instructions in the Spring and Fall.|
How to help prevent low blood sugars:
- Give extra snacks for extra activity Eating right after taking insulin if the blood sugar is less than 100 mg/dL
- Eating an extra snack of carbohydrate and protein if the blood sugar is less than 120 mg/dL at bedtime
- Replacing carbohydrates in the meal plan with things like regular pop, regular popsicles on sick days
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