When Blood Sugar Is Too Low
Glucose is a sugar that comes from the foods we eat, and it’s also formed and stored inside the body. It’s the main source of energy for the cells of our body, and is carried to each cell through the bloodstream. Our brains depend on glucose to function, even when we’re sleeping.
The is the amount of glucose in the blood. When these levels drop too low, it’s called hypoglycemia . Very low blood sugar levels can cause serious symptoms that need to be treated right away.
Dont Drive When You Have Low Blood Sugar
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.
How Is Hypoglycemia Diagnosed
If you suspect you have low blood sugar, its important to check your blood sugar right away. If you dont have a blood glucose meter and youre on diabetes medications that increase insulin, talk with your doctor about getting a meter.
If you experience low blood sugar often say, a few times a week see your doctor right away to find out why. Your doctor will begin your visit by requesting your medical history, asking questions about your eating habits, and learning more about the symptoms youre experiencing.
If you dont have diabetes but suspect you have hypoglycemia, talk with your doctor about your symptoms. Your doctor will use three criteria, sometimes referred to as Whipples triad, to diagnose low blood sugar:
- Signs and symptoms of low blood sugar. Your doctor may require you to fast, or abstain from drinking and eating for an extended period of time, so they can observe your low blood sugar signs and symptoms.
- Documentation of low blood sugar when your signs and symptoms occur. Your doctor will order a blood test to analyze your blood sugar levels in a laboratory.
- Disappearance of the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar. Your doctor will want to know whether the signs and symptoms go away when your blood sugar levels are raised.
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Are There Any Newer Technologies To Prevent Hypoglycemia
We are lucky that in this day and age, we can predict hypoglycemia and prevent it through technology like continuous glucose monitors, explains Dr. Shah. Additionally, he notes that there are newer insulins available to help decrease episodes of hypoglycemia.
One of our roles as your doctor is to educate every patient about the self-management of diabetes and to create a personalized care plan, explains Dr. Shah. By self-managing your condition you will really feel empowered enough to take control of your health.
Dr. Shah is located at the Hackensack Meridian Health Medical Group Diabetes Center, part of Hackensack Meridian Health Medical Group. Call to schedule an appointment at the office in Old Bridge.
S For Treating A Person With Symptoms Keeping Them From Being Able To Treat Themselves
Dont hesitate to call 911. If someone is unconscious and glucagon is not available or someone does not know how to use it, call 911 immediately.
- Inject insulin
- Provide food or fluids
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Other Problems Related To Alcohol And Diabetes
A person with diabetes who consumes alcohol may begin overeating and making unhealthy food choices. This is because alcohol stimulates a person’s appetite and may cause a further increase in blood sugar levels. Alcohol also interferes with the effects of diabetes medications.
For people with difficulty regulating blood sugar, alcohol can cause more health problems. Diabetics who are also alcohol users have an increased risk of suffering severe physical health conditions. Diabetic heavy drinkers face an even higher risk.
Here are just some examples of health problems that may arise:
What Youll Also Feel When Getting A Tattoo Besides Some Pain
Youll feel varying degrees of pain depending on the tattoos placement. But you may also feel other sensations depending on the tattoo, such as a burning sensation thats common as the tattoo needle goes over the same spot several times.
A sharp stinging feeling isnt uncommon during detailing work, especially on areas of the body where the skin is tight . Tattoos that require a lot of shading may cause a scratchy feeling. No matter what sensation you feel, however, all of the physical sensations should hopefully become a dull roar. And thats how you want to feel as you settle into a comfort zone.
Dont hesitate to let your artist know if the pain becomes too much to bear. The good ones will reach a stopping point and allow you to take a break.
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Motivation Behind Getting Tattoos
Desire to get a tattoo may come from a want to express yourself artistically and decoratively. Or perhaps you want to get a tattoo that is diabetes-related and use it as a means of creating support and awareness.
Some people with diabetes decide to get a tattoo as medical identification. In a medical emergency, medical personnel know that they have diabetes and can act accordingly.
Self-expression: Many people get tattoos that replicate things that have meaning to them, a design, an animal, a quote, a date. Looking at a daily reminder of something you love is a way to express yourself artistically and bring you happiness.
Diabetes awareness and support: You may want to get a tattoo to raise awareness and support for the disease that affects your life daily. Some people with diabetes decide to tattoo the universal symbol for diabetes, which is the blue circle.
Wearing this symbol on your body may help you feel connected to others with diabetes while also raising awareness and support for the fight against the disease. Online, you will find that a blue and gray ribbon with a drop of blood is another symbol designed to raise diabetes awareness. This is also a common type of tattoo that people with diabetes may choose to get.
For example, it may be difficult to identify someone with diabetes by using a tattoo because people do not always get them on a spot that is exposed. This can make it difficult for emergency personal to find it.
What Is Low Blood Glucose
Low blood glucose, also called low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, occurs when the level of glucose in your blood drops below what is healthy for you. For many people with diabetes, this means a blood glucose reading lower than 70 milligrams per deciliter .1 Your number might be different, so check with your doctor or health care team to find out what blood glucose level is low for you.
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How Long Does Alcohol Affect Your Blood Sugar
Alcohol affects your blood sugar for as long as it is in your body. The effects of alcohol on your blood sugar will initially increase as the sugar from alcohol enters your blood, then peak once the maximum amount of sugar in the alcohol has been absorbed. This often occurs in about 12 hours.
Once your body has absorbed all the sugar it can from alcohol, it will start to use up the sugar, decreasing your blood sugar levels. As the liver inhibits the release of more sugar, your blood sugar levels will lower. This makes your blood sugar artificially low as long as the alcohol keeps impacting your livers normal function. Once enough alcohol has been eliminated, your liver will regain the ability to release sugar. This often takes about 12 hours.
What Causes Blood Sugar To Drop Rapidly Apart From Too Much Insulin
Clearly, then, too much insulin is what causes blood sugar to drop rapidly. But theres more to it than simply taking too much insulin.
Skipping meals or eating less than what youre used to will also mean having too much insulin in the body.
In addition, the bodys sensitivity to insulin can change throughout the day. The greater the insulin sensitivity, the less insulin the body will need. If insulin sensitivity has increased, this will often be due to the combination of exercise and diabetes.
Fasting. Aside from not taking in any carbs for the insulin to displace, fasting can also lead to not having enough nutrients, which can hinder the bodys digestive abilities.
Similarly, illness can impact the bodys response to glucose. Illness will usually increase blood sugar but it depends on what kind of illness and how your body responds to it which can give low blood sugar. Read more on this topic with Diabetes and the Flu.
Meanwhile, sleep itself may not lower blood sugar, but you can still get low blood sugar in the night for the same reasons you would in in the day.
The only difference is that you cant treat it as effectively because youre well asleep. So, do have carbs ready by your bed, just in case. Read more on Diabetes and Sleep.
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Alcohol And Blood Sugar When You Have Diabetes
The livers functionality is an important part of understanding how alcohol affects blood sugar. Your liver is a key component when it comes to regulating your blood sugar levels throughout the day. When you drink, it impacts the liver and, more specifically, its ability to release glucose into your bloodstream as its supposed to. Alcohol impairs liver function and can keep your liver from releasing enough glycogen to keep your blood glucose levels from going too low. So, if you have diabetes, drink alcohol and take insulin as a medicine, you may experience hypoglycemia.
With alcohol and blood sugar, blood sugar can increase, then decrease to a dangerous point. This occurs because alcohol is high in sugar, causing an initial spike. Your body releases insulin to bring this high sugar level down and inhibits the release of more sugar from the liver. This causes your blood sugar to initially spike, then to decrease. This can be especially dangerous if you are using insulin or other diabetes medications because it can lead to hypoglycemia.
Improving Hypo Awareness Signs
If you are suffering from impaired hypo unawareness, you may be advised to increase your window of blood glucose control for a period of time to get your numbers higher and prevent hypos from occurring so often.
Studies have found this method to be successful.
If you have frequent hypos you may need to test your blood sugar more often, to help get better control as well as to catch hypos earlier. Try to record which events lead to hypos so you can spot trends and prevent them in future.
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Upswing: Steroids And Water Pills
People take corticosteroids, such as prednisone, to treat rashes, arthritis, asthma, and many other conditions. But they can boost your blood sugar, and may even trigger diabetes in some people. Diuretics that help high blood pressure, also called water pills, can do the same. Some antidepressants also raise or lower blood sugar.
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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Listen To Your Doctor
If you follow a meal plan or take medications that increase insulin to manage low blood sugar, its important to stick to the plan your doctor prescribed to help prevent drops in your blood sugar level.
Not eating the right foods or taking the right medications at the correct times can cause your blood sugar to drop. Check in often with your doctor so they can adjust your treatment plan if and when necessary.
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.
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Creating Diabetes Tattoos That Sense Changes In Blood Sugar
Its not often that the words cool and diabetes get used in the same sentence, but researchers at MIT and Harvard have joined the two concepts with an idea for creating tattoos that change color based on the blood sugar level of the person wearing them.
The project has the oddly dystopian name of the Dermal Abyss and is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab and Harvard Medical School, according to Katia Vega, a post doctoral associate at MIT and a member of the team.
The Dermal Abyss is a proof-of-concept that illustrates the potential of culturally and medically integrated biosensors, Vega says. They are biosensor tattoos that visibly react to changes in the metabolism. The purpose of the work is to light the imagination of biotechnologists and stimulate public support for such efforts.
The tattoos they designed will not be showing up in a pharmacy or tattoo shop any time soon. The purpose of the work is to highlight a novel possibility for biosensors rather than bring a medical device to market, Vega says. As such, there are currently no plans to develop the Dermal Abyss as a product or to pursue clinical trials.
Like a hot concept car, there is real technology in the tattoos that were produced for the project. Various iterations of the tattoos sense changes not only in glucose but in pH, which can indicate dehydration and changes in sodium ion, which can give indications of hypertension.
Connection Between Alcohol And Blood Sugar
Drinking alcohol can have an impact on blood sugar levels .
For people with diabetes, alcohol use has an even greater effect. This is especially true if your diabetes is unmonitored or your sugar levels are not under control.
The liver plays a key role in balancing your blood sugar levels. Alcohol decreases your liver’s ability to function. As a result, your liver may not be able to release glucose into your bloodstream properly.
This can be especially dangerous if you have diabetes and take insulin.
If your liver doesn’t release enough sugar into your blood, you risk becoming hypoglycemic. Conversely, certain alcoholic drinks contain high levels of sugar and can spike your blood sugar levels.
In the United States, more than 34 million people have diabetes. However, 4 in every 5 of these individuals are aware that they have the condition.2
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How Drinking Affects People With Diabetes
Drinking alcohol affects people with diabetes in different ways. This depends on what type of diabetes a person has.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune reaction. Those with type 1 diabetes have trouble with insulin secretion in their pancreas. This essential hormone helps deliver blood sugar into cells for use as energy later.
If there is a lack of insulin, the bloodstream can experience hyperglycemia when a person has just eaten. This refers to a build-up of blood sugar.
Hyperglycemia could lead to organ damage.
Those with type 1 diabetes take treatments like insulin injections daily. Type 1 diabetes makes up around 5 to 10 percent of all people with diabetes.7
Healthcare professionals will recommend changing meal plans to help regulate blood glucose levels.
An alcoholic drink every once in a while may have its benefits. Studies have indicated that a standard alcoholic beverage may decrease blood sugar levels. This is especially true for those that often get too high.
Yet, like those with type 2 diabetes, alcohol use can lower blood sugar levels in people with an empty stomach. A decrease of this kind may lead to serious health complications for people with type 1 diabetes. Blood sugar levels can fall even further without the body fighting against such a drop.
More studies are needed to assess every factor that affects blood sugar levels. Understanding how alcohol influences people with type 1 diabetes is also needed.
Type 2 Diabetes
Can Eating Sweets Cause Bouts Of Low Blood Sugar
When it comes to eating sweets, you hear a lot about high blood sugar, but taking in too much sugar can also cause bouts of low blood sugar. In most cases, the period of low blood sugar happens a couple of hours after eating the sweets, as a counter-response to high blood sugar. Although eating sweets will always prompt some sort of blood sugar and insulin response, there are some things you can do to lessen the effects.
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