How Can I Treat Low Blood Sugar
If youve had low blood sugar without feeling or noticing symptoms , you may need to check your blood sugar more often to see if its low and treat it. Driving with low blood sugar can be dangerous, so be sure to check your blood sugar before you get behind the wheel.
Carry supplies for treating low blood sugar with you. If you feel shaky, sweaty, or very hungry or have other symptoms, check your blood sugar. Even if you dont have symptoms but think you may have low blood sugar, check it. If your blood sugar is lower than 70 mg/dL, do one of the following immediately:
- Take four glucose tablets.
- Drink four ounces of fruit juice.
- Drink four ounces of regular soda, not diet soda.
- Eat four pieces of hard candy.
Wait for 15 minutes and then check your blood sugar again. Do one of the above treatments again until your blood sugar is 70 mg/dL or above and eat a snack if your next meal is an hour or more away. If you have problems with low blood sugar, ask your doctor if your treatment plan needs to be changed.
How Can I Tell If My Blood Sugar Is Irregular
Again, only a doctor can diagnose a problem with your blood sugar. But you may be wondering how to know if its something you should get checked out. There can be two main issues with your blood sugar either its consistently too high or too low. Even if you dont have diabetes, there are some signs that your blood sugar levels are not functioning normally.
Hypoglycemia is a condition in which your blood sugar is too low. Signs include an irregular heartbeat, fatigue, shakiness and tingling or numbness in your face. If you consistently feel this way when you get hungry or between meals, talk to your health care provider.
On the flip side, hyperglycemia happens when your blood sugar is too high, and can happen to nondiabetics. Symptoms include frequent urination, increased thirst and headache. If you think youre hyperglycemic and cant keep fluids or food down, call for emergency medical assistance.
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What If I Dont Get Any Signs That I Have Hypoglycaemia
Sometimes people are unable to recognise symptoms of hypoglycaemia and find it difficult to tell if their blood glucose might be low. This may be because a person has:
- had diabetes for a long time
- had too many recent episodes of hypoglycaemia
- not treated their hypoglycaemia correctly
- ignored early warning signs of hypoglycaemia.
The only way to know if blood glucose has gone too low is to check blood glucose levels more often. Sometimes people use a continuous glucose monitor to help them know where their glucose is trending.
It is possible to regain the ability to recognise symptoms of hypoglycaemia. Talk with your diabetes specialist or diabetes educator for advice and support.
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How Can I Avoid Hypos
If you have type 1 diabetes, youll often be encouraged to control your blood sugar to almost the same levels as someone who doesnt have diabetes, especially if youre young and dont have complications of diabetes or other medical conditions. This is because high blood glucose in the long term is linked to damage to your kidneys, eyes, nerves, feet and heart. However, keeping tight control of your blood glucose does increase the risk of hypos.
Having said that, there are lots of steps you can take to reduce the risk of hypos. These include:
- Not skipping or delaying snacks or meals.
- Learning about the right dose of insulin you need for a given amount of carbohydrate.
- Adjusting your insulin if youre exercising vigorously.
- Avoiding alcohol, and particularly drinking on an empty stomach.
- Speaking to your medical team in advance of situations where your normal eating will be disrupted so you can work together to adjust your insulin dose.
- If youre taking sulfonylurea tablets and getting symptoms that you think may be hypos, speak with your team. They may be able to change your medication, as there are many alternative treatments for type 2 diabetes that dont cause hypos.
- Keeping a supply of sugary drink, fruit juice or glucose tablets to hand at all times, so you can treat symptoms early.
- Checking your blood glucose regularly.
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Add More Resistant Starch To Your Plate
Resistant starch found in some potatoes and beans bypasses the small intestine and ferments in the large intestine, which means it doesnt raise glucose levels and promotes the growth of good bacteria in the body, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Its a fiber-filled starch and helps with glycemic control, says Joelle Malinowski, RD, a certified diabetes care and education specialist with Ellis Medicine in Schenectady, New York. And the effect will last through your next meal, Weisenberger says. Its called the second-meal effect, she says.
Interestingly, resistant starch can change with heat, and some foods, like rice, are higher in resistant starch when cooked and cooled than when cooked and served warm, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Resistant starches are also found in:
Just be sure to keep carb count in mind when incorporating foods with resistant starch into your diet.
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Treatment For Severe Hypoglycaemia
In cases of severe hypoglycaemia the person cannot treat themselves, and needs the help of someone else. Call triple zero for an ambulance immediately.
If the person can’t swallow or follow instructions do not give them any treatment by mouth.
If you are trained in how to prepare and inject glucagon and feel comfortable injecting it, then this can be administered.
Ambulance paramedics have the resources to manage severe hypoglycaemia.
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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The 17 Best Foods To Lower Your Blood Sugar
For people with prediabetes, diabetes, or other conditions that affect blood sugar, diet is a major part of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
Although factors like body weight, activity, stress, and genetics also play a role in blood sugar maintenance, following a healthy diet is critical for blood sugar control .
While some foods, including items high in added sugar and refined carbs, can contribute to blood sugar fluctuations, others can optimize blood sugar control while promoting overall health (
Follow Your Diabetes Meal Plan
Make a diabetes meal plan with help from your health care team. Following a meal plan will help you manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
Choose fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, chicken or turkey without the skin, fish, lean meats, and nonfat or low-fat milk and cheese. Drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. Choose foods that are lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt. Learn more about eating, diet, and nutrition with diabetes.
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Best Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Quickly
When treated early, you can bring high blood sugar levels down and prevent complications, including DKA.
Some sources suggest that drinking water or eating a high protein snack can quickly lower your blood sugar levels, though there isnt enough research to support this.
If you have high blood sugar and need to lower it fast, try the following methods:
What You Can Do
Most of the sugar or glucose in your blood comes from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the sugars and starches in grains, beans, vegetables, fruit, milk and milk products, honey, and sugar. If you dont have diabetes and youre feeling the unpleasant effects of a drop in blood sugar, eat or drink something with carbohydrates. Good choices are a piece of fruit, a few whole wheat crackers, a glass of milk, or a carton of yogurt.
In people with diabetes, hypoglycemia can come on suddenly and needs to be treated right away so it doesnt get worse. Eat or drink a quickly digested carbohydrate food, such as:
½ cup fruit juice
½ cup of a regular soft drink
5 or 6 hard candies
4 or 5 saltine crackers
2 tablespoons of raisins
3 to 4 teaspoons of sugar or honey
3 or 4 glucose tablets or a serving of glucose gel
Each of these choices provides about 15 grams of carbohydrate. Wait for 15 or 20 minutes, then check your blood sugar with a blood glucose meter. If your blood sugar is still low, have another portion of carbohydrates.
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Leave Sugary Beverages On The Shelf
Sugar-sweetened beverages are a one-way ticket to high blood sugar. Eliminating or drinking fewer of them can lower blood sugar, as well as helps with weight loss and maintenance, says Asterino-McGeean. Save soda pop and juice for when you need to treat low blood sugar.
Drinks high in sugar include:
How To Treat Someone Who’s Having A Seizure Or Fit
Follow these steps if someone has a seizure or fit caused by a low blood sugar level:
Tell your diabetes care team if you ever have a severe hypo that caused you to have a seizure or fit.
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What Causes Low Blood Sugar
Hypoglycemia is usually a result of diabetes treatment, often because there is too much insulin in the body.
Here are some reasons why hypoglycemia might occur:
Too much insulin administered for your bodys needs at the time.
Sulfonylureas stimulate insulin release from the pancreas, even if your glucose levels are in range this can lead to low blood sugar.
Too high levels of diabetes medications. If you are taking glucose-lowering drugs in combination with sulfonylureas or insulin, these medications can lower your blood sugar and increase your risk for hypoglycemia.
Not enough food, particularly carbohydrates.
Too much exercise at one time, particularly mild to moderate aerobic exercise. This is because exercise can increase your sensitivity to insulin, which allows your muscle cells to take up glucose from your bloodstream.
Illness, particularly if associated with vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
Other medical conditions, including some liver and kidney illnesses, eating disorders, and certain hormone deficiencies.
Add Raw Or Cooked Garlic
Garlic contains many compounds that have been associated in limited studies with some beneficial effects, like lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol, and reducing stomach cancer risk. Some studies on the effect of garlic on blood sugar have suggested that supplementation with compounds found in garlic may help lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. However, studies on garlic have been conflicting, and potential benefits appear minimal.
Because of its potential health benefits, if you like garlic, it makes sense to keep eating it. However, don’t expect that using garlic supplements will have drastic effects in lowering your blood sugar.
Also be aware that nutritional supplements are not regulated in the same way that pharmaceutical products are in the United States, may contain contaminants and varying concentrations, and may interact with medications. Discuss garlic supplements with a healthcare professional before starting a supplement.
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How Diet Affects Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia is a condition that can be avoided by eating a balanced diet and consuming regular meals and snacks.
When a person with chronic hypoglycemia eats regularly and focuses on foods that lower blood sugar instantly, the frequency of low blood glucose levels will likely decrease.
This will improve their quality of life and reduce the risks of hypoglycemia.
Its also important to consider how exercise can affect blood sugar levels and plan meals and snacks accordingly.
Exercise can lower blood sugar. Therefore, if youre prone to hypoglycemia, its even more important to consume a fiber-rich carbohydrate, preferably with some protein as well, before and after being active to avoid low blood sugar.
Check Your Blood Sugar Often
Talk with your provider about when you should check your blood sugar every day. People who have low blood sugar need to check their blood sugar more often.
The most common causes of low blood sugar are:
- Taking your insulin or diabetes medicine at the wrong time
- Taking too much insulin or diabetes medicine
- Taking insulin to correct high blood sugar without eating any food
- Not eating enough during meals or snacks after you have taken insulin or diabetes medicine
- Waiting too long after taking your medicine to eat your meals
- Exercising a lot or at a time that is unusual for you
- Not checking your blood sugar or not adjusting your insulin dose before exercising
- Drinking alcohol
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Eating Habits To Avoid Blood Sugar Spikes Say Dietitians Eat This Not That
As I mentioned above, foods that help stabilize blood sugar levels at night and make the best bedtime snacks for diabetes are:
I asked some of my favorite diabetes colleagues what their diabetes bedtime snack recommendations are and this is what they had to say
Bedtime snacks can be helpful in lowering morning blood sugar for some people, recommends fellow dietitian and diabetes expert Rahf Al Bouchi, RDN, LD! I recommend experimenting with protein and complex carbohydrates for a bedtime snack and monitor your blood sugar to see how your body responds. Examples include whole grain crackers and cheese or Greek yogurt and nuts.
And, Casey Seiden, MS, RD, CDCES offers some more ideas, Everyones blood sugars respond differently to bedtime, but ideally you should aim for a combination of complex carbohydrates and protein or healthy fats to keep glucose stable overnight. Try snacks like rice cake with mashed avocado on top, Greek yogurt with blackberries, energy bites with oats and nut butter, or cocoa chia pudding.
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How Can I Check My Blood Sugar
Use a blood sugar meter or a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, youll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.
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Avocado Salad With Ginger
Here’s a refreshing salad that you can have ready in a matter of minutes, using San-J Tamari. The recipe has a variety of textures, from the crunchy cucumber to the cool and creamy avocado. San-J Tamari Organic Soy Sauce has a richer and more complex taste than typical soy sauce and it’s non-GMO and gluten-free!
Whats The Optimal Carb Intake For People With Diabetes
The ideal carb intake for people living with diabetes is a somewhat controversial topic, even among those who support carb restriction.
Many studies found dramatic improvements in blood sugar levels, body weight, and other markers when carbs were restricted to 20 grams per day (
The optimal amount of carbs may also vary by individual, since everyone has a unique response to carbs.
According to the American Diabetes Association , theres no one-size-fits-all diet that works for everyone with diabetes. Personalized meal plans, which take into account your dietary preferences and metabolic goals, are best .
The ADA also recommends that individuals work with their healthcare team to determine the carb intake thats right for them.
To figure out your ideal amount of carbs, you may want to measure your blood glucose with a meter before a meal and again 1 to 2 hours after eating.
As long as your blood sugar remains below 140 mg/dL , the point at which damage to nerves can occur, you can consume 6 grams, 10 grams, or 25 grams of carbs per meal on a low carb diet.
It all depends on your personal tolerance. Just remember that the general rule is the less carbs you eat, the less your blood sugar will rise.
And, rather than eliminating all carbs, a healthy low carb diet should actually include nutrient-dense, high fiber carb sources, like vegetables, berries, nuts, and seeds.
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Preventing Low Blood Sugar Levels
Here are some other tips to help you avoid low blood sugar levels:
- Eat all your meals and snacks on time and try not to skip any.
- Take the right amount of insulin.
- If you exercise longer or harder than usual, have an extra snack.
- Don’t take a hot bath or shower right after an insulin shot.
- Stick to your diabetes management plan.
- Check your blood sugar levels regularly, so you can tell if your blood sugars are running too low and your treatment plan needs adjustment.
- Carry something containing sugar with you at all times and take it right away if you have symptoms. Don’t wait to see if the symptoms will go away they may get worse!
Alcohol and drugs can cause major problems with your blood sugar levels, so avoiding them is another way to prevent diabetes problems. Drinking can be particularly dangerous even deadly for people with diabetes because it messes up the body’s ability to keep blood glucose in a normal range. This can cause a very rapid drop in blood glucose in people with diabetes. Drug or alcohol use is also dangerous because it may affect someone’s ability to sense low blood sugar levels.
Learning how to recognize the signs of low blood sugar levels and get them back to normal is an important part of caring for diabetes. Keeping track of your blood sugar levels and recording lows when they occur will help you and your diabetes health care team keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range.