Parents Of Children With Diabetes
If your child has diabetes and shows symptoms of hypoglycemia, itâs important to check their blood glucose level with a glucometer. If this is not possible, it is best to treat them as if they have hypoglycemia by giving them carbohydrates to prevent symptoms from getting worse.
Your child should have a safety plan in place for when they are not in your care, such as when they are at school, friends homes, or daycare. The plan should include whom they should talk to if they are not feeling well.
Talking to your child about their diabetes and the symptoms to be aware of helps keep them safe. When your child is aware that how theyre feeling is related to their blood sugar levels and diabetes management, they can learn to both self-identify and verbalize or signal to their parents when they need treatment.
Why Is My Blood Sugar Go Down When I Eat
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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:
- 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
- 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.
Knowing Your High And Low Blood Sugar Symptoms Allows You To Test
Once you understand symptoms of high and low blood sugar, it is possible to test quickly and avoid serious problems.
Keeping to a clear target range is one of the key goals of diabetes management, and knowing when you have the symptoms of high or low blood sugar levels allows you to test your blood sugar and make a correction.
It can be important to recognise the difference between low and high blood sugar symptoms. Being able to spot when youre high or low and sugar can help you to manage your diabetes.
Where possible, its best to check with your blood glucose meter, whether you are high or low, before taking any remedial action. If blood sugar is regularly high you may get recurrent episodes of thrush.
High blood sugar is serious and can result in nausea, vomiting or loss of consciousness. In type 2 diabetes, this can in the form of a condition called Hyperosmolar Hyperglycaemic State and in type 1 diabetes in the form of ketoacidosis.
It is important to seek emergency medical help.
Very low blood sugar can lead to convulsions and unconsciousness. It is important to seek emergency help if the person with diabetes is unable to bring their sugar levels back to normal.
The University of Birminghams Medical School states that if the body becomes used to being low on sugar, hypo symptoms can become less noticeable. Loss of symptoms of low blood sugar in particular can be dangerous.
If you have difficulty recognising the symptoms of hypoglycemia, speak to your doctor.
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How Can I Prevent Low Blood Glucose
Your best bet is to practice good diabetes management and learn to detect hypoglycemia so you can treat it earlybefore it gets worse.
Monitoring blood glucose, with either a meter or a CGM, is the tried and true method for preventing hypoglycemia. Studies consistently show that the more a person checks blood glucose, the lower his or her risk of hypoglycemia. This is because you can see when blood glucose levels are dropping and can treat it before it gets too low.
If you can, check often!
- Check before and after meals.
- Check before and after exercise .
- Check before bed.
- After intense exercise, also check in the middle of the night.
- Check more if things around you change such as, a new insulin routine, a different work schedule, an increase in physical activity, or travel across time zones.
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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How Are Low Blood Sugar Levels Treated
When blood sugar levels are low, the goal is to get them back up quickly. Most kids who have low blood sugar need to:
- eat, drink, or take something that contains sugar that can get into the blood quickly. Your mom or dad may give you really sugary foods or drinks, like regular soda, orange juice, cake frosting, glucose tablets, or glucose gel
- wait about 10 minutes to let the sugar work
- recheck their blood sugar levels with a blood glucose meter to see if the levels are back to normal
Sometimes, blood sugar levels can get very low and you might not feel well enough or be awake enough to eat or drink something sugary. When this happens, kids need to get a glucagon shot. Glucagon is a hormone that helps get your blood sugar level back to normal very quickly. Your doctor and diabetes health care team can tell you if you need to keep these shots on hand and will help you and your parents understand when it’s necessary to use one.
Your parents and other grown-ups who take care of you should know how to give glucagon shots. If you don’t have a glucagon shot or the person you’re with doesn’t know how to use one someone should call 911.
Insufficient Sleep Can Throw Blood Sugar Out Of Whack
Restless nights hurt more than your mood and energy they may also spell trouble for your blood sugar. A review published in December 2015 in Diabetes Therapy concluded that a lack of sleep may hinder glucose control and insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes.
âSleep is restorative,â Bonsignore says. âNot getting enough sleep is a form of chronic stress on the body, and anytime you have added stress, youâre going to have higher blood sugar levels.â
Unfortunately, people with type 2 diabetes commonly report troubles sleeping, McDermott says. Those with high body-mass indexes are at particular risk for sleep apnea, in which breathing frequently starts and stops during sleep.
To improve your sleep quality and duration, work to get into a consistent sleep routine where you go to bed and wake at the same time every day. Your goal: Nab seven to nine hours of sleep per night, per recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation. If you continue to have sleep troubles or suspect you have sleep apnea , reach out to a sleep medicine specialist for support, Bonsignore says.
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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 it’s something you should get checked out. There can be two main issues with your blood sugar — either it’s consistently too high or too low. Even if you don’t 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 healthcare provider.
On the flipside, 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 you’re hyperglycemic and can’t keep fluids or food down, call for emergency medical assistance.
What Are The Complications Of Low Blood Glucose
Mild-to-moderate low blood glucose can be easily treated. But severely low blood glucose can cause serious complications, including passing out, coma, or death.
Repeated episodes of low blood glucose can lead to
- high blood glucose levels, if worry or fear of low blood glucose keeps you from taking the medicines you need to manage your diabetes8
- hypoglycemia unawareness, a condition in which you dont notice any symptoms of low blood glucose until your blood glucose level has dropped very 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:
- 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:
- 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.
What A Low Blood Sugar Feels Like
Across the board, a low blood sugar seems to be considered as anything under 70 mg/dL. Revisiting the American Diabetes Associations website this morning offers up a list of symptoms of low blood sugar, like:
- Nightmares or crying out during sleep
The what happens if a low blood sugar goes untreated answer is short, and to the point: If left untreated, hypoglycemia may lead to a seizure or unconsciousness . In this case, someone else must take over.
When my daughter hears my Dexcom beeping, she understands the difference between the alert signaling a high blood sugar and the alert signaling a low. If the high alarm goes off, she doesnt react, but if the low alarm goes off, she perks up immediately and asks me if I need a glupose tab. The immediacy and seriousness of low blood sugars is noticed by my three year old because shes seen me go from normal, functional Mom to confused, sweaty, and tangled-in-my-own-words Mom in a matter of minutes.
The symptoms of low blood sugars dont just vary from PWD to PWD, but often vary within the PWDs own lifetime. When I was very small, my low blood sugar tell was when my mouth would go numb and my face felt like Id had Novocaine hours earlier and it was just starting to wear off, with that tingly, prickly feeling. Over the years, Ive had a lot of lows with varying symptoms:
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Possible Causes Without Diabetes
Even if you dont have diabetes, you may experience low blood sugar. However, hypoglycemia is much less common in people without diabetes.
Some possible causes of low blood sugar in people who dont have diabetes are:
- certain medications, such as quinine
- some medical conditions, such as hepatitis and kidney disorders
- a tumor that produces excess insulin
- endocrine disorders, such as adrenal gland deficiency
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.
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What Are Clinical Trials For Low Blood Glucose
Clinical trialsand other types of clinical studiesare part of medical research and involve people like you. When you volunteer to take part in a clinical study, you help doctors and researchers learn more about disease and improve health care for people in the future.
Researchers are studying many aspects of low blood glucose levels in diabetes, such as
- how to diagnose and treat low blood glucose among people with diabetes
- medicines that can treat symptoms of low blood glucose in people with hypoglycemia unawareness
- educational approaches to reduce fear of low blood glucose, which can make it harder for you to control your diabetes
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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Treating Low Blood Sugar
You are at risk of having a low blood sugar reaction if you:
- Skip or delay a meal or snack
- Take too much insulin or eat too few carbohydrates
- Drink alcohol, especially without eating carbohydrates
Check your blood sugar if you have any of these symptoms:
- Weakness and/or fatigue
If your blood sugar is less than 70 milligrams per deciliter :
- Eat 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate
- Wait 15 minutes and then recheck your blood sugar
- If your blood sugar is still less than 100 mg/dl, take another 15 grams of carbohydrate and retest your blood sugar in another 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
Important: If you have frequent low blood sugars speak to your doctor. You may need changes in your medication and/or meal plan.