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How To Tell If My Blood Sugar Is Low


Can You Have Low Blood Sugar And Not Be Diabetic

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

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Moreover, what happens when your blood sugar gets too low?

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How can you tell if your blood sugar is low?


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Symptoms Of A Low Blood Sugar Level

A low blood sugar level can affect everyone differently. You’ll learn how it makes you feel, although your symptoms may change over time.

Early signs of a low blood sugar level include:

  • sweating
  • a fast or pounding heartbeat
  • becoming easily irritated, tearful, anxious or moody
  • turning pale

If a low blood sugar level is not treated, you may get other symptoms, such as:

  • weakness
  • unusual behaviour, slurred speech or clumsiness
  • feeling sleepy
  • seizures or fits
  • collapsing or passing out

A low blood sugar level, or hypo, can also happen while you’re sleeping. This may cause you to wake up during the night or cause headaches, tiredness or damp sheets in the morning.


Symptoms Of Nocturnal Hypoglycemia

It is important for both you and your sleeping partner to know the warning signs. Sleeping through the warning signs is especially dangerous because your blood sugar may go lower before you can correct it. If you sleep alone, you may be at higher risk.

Warning signs occur when your blood sugar drops below 70 mg/dl. When this happens, your body releases hormones like glucagon and epinephrine to increase your blood sugar. This causes warning signs like a racing heart, sweats, and tremors. These warnings are your bodys way of telling you to get more sugar into your system quickly. Hopefully they will wake you from sleep, but some people sleep through.

If hypoglycemia wakes you up, these are the symptoms:

  • Being cold and clammy or hot and sweaty
  • Feeling shaky and trembling
  • A pounding or racing heart
  • Waking up with a headache

Your sleeping partner should wake you if he or she notices any of the warning signs or if you are more restless, noisy, or breathing irregularly in your sleep.

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What Is Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is a condition wherein the body either does not make enough of the hormone insulin or it does not utilise the hormone efficiently. This results in an accumulation of glucose in the blood.

Diabetes is a chronic disorder that, if not treated and managed carefully, can result in severe health complications that include blindness, heart disease and even lower-extremity amputations.

If you suffer from type 1 diabetes then your immune system will destroy the cells that release insulin, eventually eliminating the production of this vital hormone in the body. If your body does not produce insulin, then your cells are unable to absorb the sugar needed for energy.

Suffering from type 2 diabetes means that your body is unable to use the insulin it produces efficiently, insulin resistance is the early onset of Type 2 Diabetes. The fat, liver and muscle cells of the body are unable to absorb and store glucose leading to a build-up in the blood known as hyperglycaemia which impairs a variety of bodily functions.

Other Causes Of Low Blood Sugar

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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

Read Also: The Beta Cells Of The Pancreatic Islets Secrete Glucagon In Response To Low Blood Glucose Levels.

What Affects Your Results

If you have certain conditions, like anemia or gout, or if it’s hot or humid or you’re at a high altitude, that can affect your blood sugar levels.

If you keep seeing unusual results, recalibrate your meter and check the test strips.


The chart below gives you an idea of where your blood sugar level should be throughout the day. Your ideal blood sugar range may be different from another person’s and will change throughout the day.

Time of Test

How Do I Measure Blood Sugar

If you have diabetes, you probably already keep a watchful eye on your blood sugar through the use of a continuous glucose monitor or a blood sugar meter . Blood sugar measurement is also typically included in routine lab work for people without diabetes — your physician will usually order a glycated hemoglobin test, which measures your average blood sugar over the past two to three months.

Say your A1C test comes back with no sign of diabetes — constantly measuring your blood sugar can still be helpful. For instance, some people experiment with using a CGM to see how their body responds to different types of food. However, it’s good to note that this is a fairly cost-intensive way of figuring out your nutrition, and writing down a food diary that includes how you felt after each meal will also help you figure out what to eat.

Check out these blood sugar monitors if you’re looking for recommendations on how to keep track of your levels at home.

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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.

What Is The Outlook For People With Hypoglycemia

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

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.

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How To Test Your Blood Sugar At Home

To perform a blood sugar test, you will need to prick your finger with a lancet . Youll put a small sample of blood from this onto a strip inserted into the blood glucose meter.

Before you test your blood sugar at home, its important to find out from your doctor what a healthy blood sugar range is for you. Your doctor will determine this range based on factors such as:


  • the type of diabetes you have
  • how long youve had diabetes
  • your age
  • whether you have any other chronic health conditions

If you dont have a blood sugar testing machine on hand and are experiencing signs or symptoms of low blood sugar with diabetes, your symptoms may be enough to diagnose low blood sugar.

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.

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Possible Causes With Diabetes

Diabetes affects your bodys ability to use insulin. Think of insulin as the key that unlocks your cells, letting in glucose for energy.


If you have diabetes, a variety of treatments can help the cells in your body use the glucose in your blood. Among these are insulin injections and oral medications that increase insulin production.

If you take too much of these types of medications, your blood sugar may drop too low. You may also sometimes experience low blood sugar if you plan to eat a big meal but then do not eat enough.

Skipping meals, eating less than usual, or eating later than usual but taking your medication at your usual 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 your body is trying to get rid of alcohol, it becomes worse at managing blood sugar levels.


Drink Water And Stay Hydrated

Find Out How to Effortlessly Support Healthy Blood Sugar ...

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 (

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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.

Summary

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.

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High Blood Sugar Causes

You may be thinking that hyperglycemia can happen just from eating a super-sugary food, but its not really as simple as that. Sure, eating a lot of sugar or carbs can elevate your blood sugar level, but thats typically when your pancreas kicks into gear and creates insulin to move that glucose into cells throughout the body.


But when someone has diabetes, this finely tuned system gets thrown out of whack. In type 2 diabeteswhich accounts for 90% to 95% of diabetes in adults, according to the CDCthe body either cant make enough insulin or cant utilize insulin well, according to the NIDDK. If someone has prediabetes, their blood glucose will be higher than normal but not quite in the type 2 diabetes range yet, per the NIDDK. And in type 1 diabetes, the body does not make insulin or makes very little.

In any case, the result is extra sugar hanging around the bloodstream, making you feel like total crap in the short term and putting your health at risk in the long term.

The Dangers Of Low Blood Glucose

At some time, most people with diabetes experience the sweating and shakiness that occurs when blood glucose levels fall below 70 mg/dl a condition known as hypoglycemia. The average person with type 1 diabetes may experience symptoms of low blood glucose up to two times a week. However, not all are aware that these symptoms can rapidly progress to seizures, coma and even death if hypoglycemia is severe. Though hypoglycemia can be common and occur repeatedly in some people with diabetes, symptoms of low blood glucose should always be taken seriously. People with diabetes and their families, friends or coworkers should be prepared to act quickly and responsibly at the earliest signs of low blood glucose.

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Risk Of Nocturnal Hypoglycemia

Nocturnal hypoglycemia is most dangerous for people who take insulin, but it can also happen to people with type 2 diabetes who take oral diabetes medications. You could be at risk if you:


  • Skip dinner or have too little to eat before bedtime
  • Exercise before bedtime
  • Take NPH insulin, which has its peak affect in about 6 to 8 hours
  • Have recently changed your insulin medication

Early morning wake-up calls often are simply one of many low blood sugar symptoms.

Foods That Supply Glucose To The Body

3 Ways To Treat Low Blood Sugar | She’s Diabetic

There are a lot of foods that provide the body with glucose. Carbohydrate-based foods are examples of foods that provide the body with glucose it needs. Some examples are:

  • Rice
  • Fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Having general weakness or feeling tired

In severe cases where your blood sugar becomes extremely low, you may have a seizure, faint, or go into a coma.

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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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How To Avoid Low Blood Sugar

Here are some tips for avoiding low blood sugar:

  • Eat regular meals and a balanced diet.
  • Carry healthy snacks.
  • Learn how to use an at-home glucose-testing device, or ask your healthcare provider for advice.
  • Keep a food diary, which can help you identify your triggers and modify your diet accordingly.

Sometimes, low blood sugar occurs even when you try to prevent it. Therefore, it’s a good idea to carry glucose tablets or other fast-acting carbohydrates, such as half a banana or a couple tablespoons of raisins.

The 1515 rule can help you raise your blood sugar slowly. It involves eating 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates and checking your blood sugar levels after 15 minutes. If your blood sugar is not responding to the carbohydrates within 15 minutes, repeat the steps until your blood sugar is in your target range. It may be necessary to call your doctor or seek emergency medical help right away if you can’t get your blood sugar under control.

Preventing low blood sugar is an important part of preventing hypertension, but it is not the only way. Talk to your healthcare provider about unique risk factors that may impact how you approach both blood sugar and blood pressure.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar

Each person’s reaction to low blood sugar is different. Learn your own signs and symptoms of when your blood sugar is low. Taking time to write these symptoms down may help you learn your own symptoms of when your blood sugar is low. From milder, more common indicators to most severe, signs and symptoms of low blood sugar 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
  • Headaches
  • Nightmares or crying out during sleep
  • Seizures

The only sure way to know whether you are experiencing low blood sugar is to check your blood sugar, if possible. If you are experiencing symptoms and you are unable to check your blood sugar for any reason, treat the hypoglycemia.

A low blood sugar 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 level 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 sugar stays low for too long, starving the brain of glucose, it may lead to seizures, coma and very rarely death.

What Causes Low Blood Glucose

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  • 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.

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