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How Low Is Dangerous Blood Sugar

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What Are The Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia

5 Warning Low Blood Sugar Symptoms – Dangerous Blood Sugar Level

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 .

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.

What Should I Do If My Blood Sugar Is Low

A ‘hypo’ is usually defined as a blood glucose below 4 mmol/L. A useful way to remember it is ‘Five, don’t drive four is the floor’. In other words, if your blood glucose is below 5 mmol/L, you shouldn’t drive. If it’s below 4 or you have symptoms of a hypo:

  • Stop what you’re doing .
  • Check your blood glucose if you haven’t already.
  • Immediately eat some glucose tablets or sugary sweets or drink fruit juice or a sugary drink – the standard recommended amount is 15-20 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate.
  • Warn anyone you’re with about what’s happening, so they can help if your symptoms get worse.
  • Relax for 15 minutes or so while your blood glucose rises.
  • Check your blood glucose again. Don’t drive until at least 45 minutes after it has risen above 5 mmol/L.
  • You may also need to eat another snack, or a meal if it’s due – your medical team can advise.

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Blood Sugar Levels Explained

There is a healthy target range for your glucose levels. Exceeding this range may put pressure on your organs. High blood glucose is associated with numerous affections. Lower blood sugar may also lead to digestive and kidney diseases.

For a healthy person, glucose levels should be between 80 and 99 mg dl, but this target must be achieved hours after having a meal. Those who are worried about their sugar levels must check their blood sugar before having a meal.

Values will change after a meal according to the American Diabetes Association, values can go up to 140mg/dl after an hour of a meal. Those with diabetes can have up to 130mg/dl before meals and under 180mg/dl a couple of hours after meals.

Managing diabetes requires checking these values all the time. Severe high blood sugar is just as harmful as too much insulin. Low blood sugar levels can also indicate some problems, but not as harsh. Checking these values regularly implies checking on how the body works in breaking down food.

When To Talk With A Pro

How To Help Low Blood Sugar

Testing your blood sugar is crucial to diabetes management. Using a meter or continuous glucose monitoring can provide accurate results. But you might seek a pain-free method to check blood sugar.

Talk with your doctor or a certified diabetes educator. You might be a candidate for a glucose monitoring device that involves fewer finger pricks or no finger pricks.

Additionally, making a few adjustments in the way you collect your blood sample might reduce the level of pain and discomfort.

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Preventing Low Blood Sugar

Preventing low blood sugar is better than having to treat it. Always have a source of fast-acting sugar with you.

  • When you exercise, check your blood sugar levels. Make sure you have snacks with you.
  • Talk to your provider about reducing insulin doses on days that you exercise.
  • Ask your provider if you need a bedtime snack to prevent low blood sugar overnight. Protein snacks may be best.

Do not drink alcohol without eating food. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day and men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day. Family and friends should know how to help. They should know:

  • The symptoms of low blood sugar and how to tell if you have them.
  • How much and what kind of food they should give you.
  • When to call for emergency help.
  • How to inject glucagon, a hormone that increases your blood sugar. Your provider will tell you when to use this medicine.

If you have diabetes, always wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace. This helps emergency medical workers know you have diabetes.

How To Bring Down The Blood Sugar Level Quickly

When level of blood sugar is dangerous, you need to bring it down quickly, to avoid further complications. When trying to lower down the sugar level quickly, be very careful, as the level can drop down too low, which can also be dangerous. Extremely low blood sugar levels is termed as hypoglycemia, which is equally common in diabetics. Hence, maintaining the blood sugar levels within the normal range is essential.

Few ways to bring down the level of blood sugar quickly include,

  • Drink lot of water: Excess water dilutes the blood sugar and help to pass it out through urine. This way the sugar level drops down.
  • If suffering from kidney or heart problem avoid this solution and follow medical advice.
  • Exercise: Vigorous exercise increases heart rate. Increased heart rate for more than 15 minutes can increase the insulin response. This can help to bring down the level of blood sugar quickly.
  • High protein snack: Protein helps in stabilizing the sugar level. Always check the high protein snack is not high in sugar level. Cheese and almond can be a good option.
  • Insulin administration: Insulin helps in lowering down the sugar level quickly. Therefore a doctors advised dose can be taken. Never miss checking the sugar level after insulin administration, to prevent hypoglycemia.

All the above solutions prove to be very helpful to quickly bring down the sugar level. Always keep a handy snack when trying these tips to help, in case the sugar level dips too low.

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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

What Is Hypoglycemia Unawareness

What Are Dangerous Blood Glucose Levels?

Some people experience hypoglycemia unawareness this means the body doesnt release or respond to the warning signals of hypoglycemia, putting them at risk of prolonged low glucose levels. Several factors can increase your chances of hypoglycemia unawareness, including having repeated episodes of hypoglycemia, going low while sleeping, exercising, consuming alcohol, having specific diabetes complications , or taking certain medications. Because hypoglycemia unawareness more often occurs in those who were diagnosed with diabetes decades before, in addition to the risk factors mentioned, it commonly occurs in people over the age of 65.

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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:

  • 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.

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.

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High Blood Glucose: Hyperglycemia

Hyperglycemia means that you have too much blood glucose. It happens when your blood glucose level is around 200 mg/dL or higher. Hyperglycemia can happen if you miss taking your diabetes medications, eat too much or do not get enough exercise. Sometimes, the medications you take for other problems cause high blood glucose.

Symptoms of hyperglycemia include:

  • Having blurry vision
  • Having to urinate often

If you have these symptoms, check your blood glucose right away. If its too high, follow these steps:

  • Check your blood glucose every four hours. If your level does not go down after two checks or your symptoms get worse, call a member of your diabetes team.
  • Drink water or other sugar-free liquids, such as diet soda or Crystal Light.
  • You may need to take an extra dose of insulin. Your diabetes educator talks with you more about this.

Are High Levels Of Blood Sugar Dangerous

What are dangerous blood sugar levels?

High blood sugar levels can be dangerous. Blood sugar above 200 mg/dL at any time is considered very high. In type 1 diabetes, very high blood sugar can lead to a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis .

DKA occurs when insulin levels are very low, which causes the body to start producing ketones to use as fuel instead of glucose. A sign of ketone bodies being present is fruity-smelling breath.DKA can be fatal, so prompt medical attention is required.

Some symptoms of DKA include:

  • Excessive thirst

In type 2 diabetes, very high blood sugar can cause hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome . HHS doesnt cause ketones to build up, but it does present as:

  • Very high blood sugar

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What Do You Do When Blood Sugar Is Low

If you notice that your blood sugar is low, it is important to treat it right away to prevent it from dropping even further. Here are some strategies you can use to treat low blood sugar, but its best to discuss these with your healthcare team before trying them:

  • Have an emergency hypoglycemia kit that is easily accessible and with you at all times. Make sure people you are with know what to do in a hypoglycemic emergency. Your kit should include:

  • Glucose tablets or sugary snacks

  • Glucagon read about emergency nasal glucagon and ready-to-use autoinjector pens

  • Glucose monitor

  • Emergency contact information

If you are not carrying a full emergency kit, make sure to at least carry glucose tablets or sugary candies.

  • Use the 15-15 rule. Eat or drink 15 grams of carbohydrates to raise your blood sugar. Check it after 15 minutes. If its still below 70 mg/dL, have another serving of 15 grams of carbs.

  • Repeat these steps until your blood sugar is at least 70 mg/dL. Once your blood sugar is back in range, you might consider eating a snack with little or no insulin to make sure it doesnt drop again. If you eat a snack, make it a small, protein-rich snack, and be careful of rebound high glucose levels.

  • If you use a closed loop device, discuss with your healthcare team if you should take less than 15 grams to correct a low glucose value.

Treating An Episode Of Hypoglycaemia

The immediate treatment for hypoglycaemia is to have some sugary food or drink to end the attack.

For example, this could be:

  • a glass of fruit juice or non-diet soft drink
  • between three and five dextrose tablets
  • a handful of sweets

At first you should avoid fatty foods and drinks, such as chocolate and milk, because they don’t usually contain as much sugar and the sugar they do contain may be absorbed more slowly.

After having something sugary, you should have a longer-acting carbohydrate food, such as a few biscuits, a cereal bar, a piece of fruit or a sandwich.

It will usually take around 15 minutes to recover from a mild episode of hypoglycaemia. If you have a blood glucose meter, measure your blood sugar again after 15 to 20 minutes. If it’s still too low , you should have some more sugary food or a drink before testing your levels again in another 15 to 20 minutes.

When treating someone else with hypoglycaemia, if the above treatment isn’t effective, you may be able to help them by applying glucose gel to the inside of their cheeks, and gently massaging the outside of their cheeks.

It may take 10 to 15 minutes before they feel better. This shouldn’t be done if the person is drowsy or unconscious because of the risk of choking.

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What Is Dangerously Low Blood Sugar

Severe hypoglycemia occurs when your body cant function properly because glucose is too low. In these extreme cases, low blood sugar can cause you to become confused or even to lose consciousness . Severe hypoglycemia is characterized by a change in your mental state or the need for someone to help you treat the extreme low.

You should always treat lows right away, whether your blood sugar is below 70 mg/dL or trending toward that number. If your glucose levels drop below 54 mg/dL , you should act immediately to raise your blood sugar and prevent prolonged exposure to hypoglycemia.

A Low Blood Sugar Level Without Diabetes

Hypoglycemia: What to do During a Low Blood Sugar Emergency

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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When To Call The Doctor

If signs of low blood sugar do not improve after you have eaten a snack that contains sugar, have someone drive you to the emergency room or call 911 or the local emergency number. Do not drive when your blood sugar is low.

Get medical help right away for a person with low blood sugar if the person is not alert or cannot be woken up as this is a medical emergency.

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:

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

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

  • unusual behaviour, slurred speech or clumsiness
  • 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.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Low Blood Glucose

Each person’s reaction to low blood glucose is different. Learn your own signs and symptoms of when your blood glucose is low. Taking time to write these symptoms down may help you learn your own symptoms of when your blood glucose is low. From milder, more common indicators to most severe, signs and symptoms of low blood glucose include:

  • Color draining from the skin
  • Feeling weak or having no energy
  • Blurred/impaired vision
  • Tingling or numbness in the lips, tongue, or cheeks
  • Nightmares or crying out during sleep

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

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

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