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How To Know If Blood Sugar Is Low


Symptoms Of Mild Low Blood Sugar

HOW DO YOU FEEL IF YOUR BLOOD SUGAR IS HIGH OR LOW?

You may have these symptoms when your blood sugar has dropped below 70 milligrams per deciliter . When you have had diabetes for many years, you may not always develop symptoms of mild low blood sugar.

Some young children with diabetes cannot recognize symptoms of low blood sugar. Others can, but not every time. To be safe, the parents need to do a home blood sugar test whenever they suspect low blood sugar in a child.

Symptoms may include:

  • Sweating . Check for sweating on the back of your neck at your hairline.
  • Nervousness, shakiness, and weakness.
  • Extreme hunger and slight nausea.
  • Dizziness and headache.
  • A fast heartbeat and feeling anxious.

These symptoms may go away shortly after you eat food that contains sugar.


When Its Time To Call A Doctor

If any of the symptoms mentioned have begun to impact your life, such as fatigue so severe you cant stay awake through the day, its 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 youre experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia and havent been diagnosed with diabetes or any other underlying condition.

If you do have diabetes and your hypoglycemia isnt responding to the treatments described above, thats another good cue to call your health care provider.

If testing reveals you have Type 1 diabetes, youll 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 youre diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, youll 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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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:

  • hard candies
  • 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.

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When To See A Doctor

If youre experiencing one or many of these symptoms enough for it to raise a mental red flag or affect your life , thats a sign that you should talk to a doctor about your concerns. An expert like a primary care provider can help determine if high blood sugar due to diabetes or prediabetes is the cause of your symptoms. Even if youre not sure thats exactly whats going on, its still worth having a conversation with your doctor about hyperglycemia and other possible causes behind your symptoms.


Low Blood Sugar Levels In Diabetes

Low Blood Sugar

People with diabetes can have low blood sugar levels because of the medicines they have to take to manage their diabetes. They may need a hormone called 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 blood sugar level go down. But sometimes it’s a tricky balancing act and blood sugar levels can get too low.

People with diabetes need to keep their blood sugars from getting too highor too low. Keeping blood sugar levels in a healthy range means balancing when and what they eat, and when they exercise with when they take medicines.

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How Is It Treated

If you have diabetes and notice any of the early signs of high blood sugar, test your blood sugar and call the doctor. They may ask you for the results of several readings. They could recommend the following changes:


Drink more water. Water helps remove excess sugar from your blood through urine, and it helps you avoid dehydration.

Exercise more. Working out can help lower your blood sugar. But under certain conditions, it can make blood sugar go even higher. Ask your doctor what kind of exercise is right for you.

Caution: If you have type 1 diabetes and your blood sugar is high, you need to check your urine for ketones. When you have ketones, do NOT exercise. If you have type 2 diabetes and your blood sugar is high, you must also be sure that you have no ketones in your urine and that you are well-hydrated. Then your doctor might give you the OK to exercise with caution as long as you feel up to it.

Change your eating habits. You may need to meet with a dietitian to change the amount and types of foods you eat.

Switch medications. Your doctor may change the amount, timing, or type of diabetes medications you take. Donât make changes without talking to them first.


If you have type 1 diabetes and your blood sugar is more than 250 mg/dL, your doctor may want you to test your urine or blood for ketones.

If A Person Is Unconscious

If a person loses consciousness because of severe hypoglycaemia, they need to be put into the recovery position and given an injection of the hormone glucagon . The injection will raise their blood glucose level.

The injection should be carried out by a friend or family member who knows what they’re doing, or by a trained healthcare professional.

You should dial 999 to request an ambulance if:

  • a glucagon injection kit isn’t available
  • there’s nobody available who’s trained to give the injection
  • the injection is ineffective after 10 minutes

Never try to put food or drink into the mouth of someone who’s unconscious as they could choke.


If you’re able to give a glucagon injection and the person regains consciousness, they should eat some longer-acting carbohydrate food, such as a few biscuits, a cereal bar or a sandwich.

You should continue to monitor the person for signs of recurring symptoms in case they need to be treated again.

Read Also: How Do You Know If You Have Type 1 Diabetes

How Do I Treat An Episode Of Hypoglycemia

The American Diabetes Association recommends the 15-15 rule for an episode of hypoglycemia:

  • Eat or drink 15 grams of carbs to raise your blood sugar.
  • After 15 minutes, check your blood sugar.
  • If its still below 70 mg/dL, have another 15 grams of carbs.
  • Repeat until your blood sugar is at least 70 mg/dL.

If you have symptoms of hypoglycemia but cant test your blood sugar, use the 15-15 rule until you feel better.


Note: Children need fewer grams of carbs. Check with your healthcare provider.

Preventing A Low Blood Sugar Level

What Is a Low Blood Sugar and What Can You Do About It

If you have diabetes, you can reduce your chance of getting a low blood sugar level if you:

  • Check your blood sugar level regularly and be aware of the symptoms of a low blood sugar level so you can treat it quickly.
  • Always carry a sugary snack or drink with you, such as glucose tablets, a carton of fruit juice or some sweets. If you have a glucagon injection kit, always keep it with you.
  • Do not skip meals.
  • Be careful when drinking alcohol. Do not drink large amounts, check your blood sugar level regularly, and eat a carbohydrate snack afterwards.
  • Be careful when exercising eating a carbohydrate snack before exercise can help to reduce the risk of a hypo. If you take some types of diabetes medicine, your doctor may recommend you take a lower dose before or after doing intense exercise.
  • Have a carbohydrate snack, such as toast, if your blood sugar level drops too low while you’re asleep

If you keep getting a low blood sugar level, talk to your diabetes care team about things you can do to help prevent it.

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What Is Blood Sugar

Before we proceed with what the low blood sugar can cause and how we can remedy the situation, lets broaden our knowledge on what blood sugar is. Blood sugar is also known as glucose.


The glucose in question is from the food we eat, and this provides energy to the body, for us to perform our daily activities.

Caring For Your Hands And Feet

Diabetic nerve damage causes pain and can also affect your ability to feel pain, so its important to maintain your foot health.

To take better care of your feet, check your feet every day for cuts, sores, swelling, and other problems, even if you dont feel any pain there. They can get infected, and untreated infections can lead to serious complications, including amputation.

Wash your feet daily with warm water, and dry them completely afterward. Then apply a lotion to keep them moisturized. Avoid getting lotion in between your toes.

Wear comfortable, flexible shoes that give your feet room to move. Break in new shoes slowly so that they dont hurt your feet. Ask your doctor about customized shoes if regular shoes dont fit well.


Always cover your feet with shoes, slippers, or thick socks to cushion them and prevent injuries.

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What Are The Signs Of High And Low Blood Sugar

The symptoms vary depending on whether you have hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. Find out how to spot the warning signs and stabilize your glucose.

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One of the challenges of managing diabetes is maintaining consistent blood sugar levels. Even with diligence, some situations can cause high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, while others can bring on low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia.


After all, its not just carbohydrate intake that influences the amount of glucose coursing through your bloodstream when you have type 2 diabetes. Emotional stress and certain medications can increase your blood sugar levels, and a boost in activity can cause it to drop, says Megan ONeill, CDCES, a medical science liaison for diabetes care at Abbott healthcare company in Monterey, California. Sometimes people experience a spike in their blood sugar early in the morning due to the dawn effect, a temporary surge of hormones that occurs as the body prepares to wake, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

For people with diabetes, managing blood glucose levels is especially important, ONeill says. Levels that are too low or high can result in complications that affect your kidneys, heart, and vision, reduce your quality of life, require expensive interventions, or even be fatal.

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  • Between 80 and 130 milligrams per deciliter before meals
  • Less than 180 mg/dL two hours after meals

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What Are The Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia

Low Blood Sugar (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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Hypoglycemia Tests And Diagnosis

To diagnose nondiabetic hypoglycemia, your doctor will do a physical exam and ask questions about any medicines you take. Theyâll want to know all about your health and any history of diseases or stomach surgery.

Theyâll check your blood glucose level, especially when you are having symptoms. Theyâll also check to see if you feel better when your sugar goes back to a normal level.

If your doctor suspects hypoglycemia, you may have to fast until you start to have symptoms. Theyâll test your blood glucose level at different times throughout the fast.

To check for reactive hypoglycemia, you may have to take a test called a mixed-meal tolerance test . For this, you take a special drink that raises your blood glucose. The doctor will check your blood glucose levels over the next few hours.

What Causes Reactive Hypoglycemia

Reactive hypoglycemia comes from having too much insulin in your blood. It usually happens within a few hours after you eat. Other possible causes include:

  • Having prediabetes or being more likely to have diabetes

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Why Do These Symptoms Matter For Diabetics

These symptoms are essential for diabetics to understand, because they may encounter high or low blood sugar levels from time to time.

A cold or virus can cause sudden high blood sugar levels, and understand the symptoms means knowing how to deal with hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.

People with diabetes who can recognise the symptoms can avoid levels that lead to medical emergencies such as diabetic ketoacidosis

What Is Hypoglycemia

Insulin Questions: How do I treat my low blood sugar?

Hypoglycemia is a condition caused by low blood glucose levels. Glucose is the main way your body gets energy. The condition is most common in people with diabetes who have issues with medicine, food, or exercise. But sometimes people who don’t have diabetes can also get low blood glucose. There are two kinds of nondiabetic hypoglycemia:

  • Reactive hypoglycemia, which happens a few hours after you eat a meal
  • Fasting hypoglycemia, which might be linked to medicine or a disease

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Why Am I Having Lows

If you are experiencing low blood sugar and youre not sure why, bring a record of blood sugar, 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 whats causing the lows. Your provider may be able to help prevent low blood sugar 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.

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When To Call 911

Your friend, relative, or coworker should call 911 for help if:

  • You pass out and no glucagon is available
  • You need a second dose of glucagon
  • You had glucagon, but are still confused
  • Your blood sugar stays too low 20 minutes after treatment or doesnt respond to your usual treatments

The emergency medical technicians can give you IV sugar . This raises your blood sugar level right away. You might need to stay in the hospital for a few hours.

NEVER be afraid to call 911 or ask someone to call 911 for you if you are concerned .

Other things to know about hypoglycemia:

It takes time for blood sugar to rise after eating, and its important to give your first treatment time to work. Use the table above to guide your treatment and timing instead of eating until you feel better, which will almost always lead to eating too much.

Hypoglycemia can be common with certain types of exercise. Managing blood sugar during and after physical activity is important and is something that a lot of people with T1D have questions about. JDRF has a number of resources available for people with T1D and their families, many of which can be found here.

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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 Can I Treat And Manage Hyperglycemia

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People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can manage hyperglycemia by eating healthy, being active, and managing stress. In addition, insulin is a critical part of managing hyperglycemia for people with type 1 diabetes, while people with type 2 diabetes may need oral medications and eventually insulin to help them manage hyperglycemia.

If you dont have diabetes and have any of the signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia, call your healthcare provider. Together you can work to manage your hyperglycemia.

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