What Is Considered Low Blood Sugar
For the average person with diabetes, low blood sugar means anything under 80 mg/dL .
Very low blood sugars are any readings under 40 mg/dL. Anything under 40 mg/dL is considered extremely dangerous and potentially fatal.
A person is at a significantly higher risk of falling into a diabetic coma if they cannot get their blood sugar above 40 mg/dL for several hours.
If a person is experiencing a severe low, and they are unable to chew food or swallow liquids, they will require an emergency shot of Glucagon .
Treating Mild To Moderate Hypoglycemia
If you start feeling any of the symptoms listed above, check your blood sugar as soon as possible, then follow the chart below to treat low blood sugar. If you have any concerns, or cant test immediately, its best to treat first and check when possible.
If your blood sugar is
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What Levels Of Blood Sugar Are Dangerous
If you live with diabetes, you probably know that life with the condition is similar to walking on a tightrope.
Staying in range without too many high and low blood sugars is a constant balancing act.
But what levels of blood sugar are actually considered dangerous?
This article will explore the issue and provide advice for how you can help manage both the highs and lows of diabetes, literally!
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What Is Blood Sugar
Blood sugar, or glucose, is your body’s main energy source. We get glucose from the food we eat, and our blood carries it around to all the cells in the body to give them energy to function. Glucose mainly comes from the carbohydrates we eat, though our bodies can convert protein and fat into sugar too if needed.
Glucose from protein is typically stored in the liver and doesn’t enter the bloodstream, so eating protein-rich foods won’t raise your blood sugar too much. Fats slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, which causes a delayed rise in blood sugar. High blood sugar can be an issue because it usually leads to sugar crashes, which are no fun — symptoms include fatigue, headaches and the jitters. So, eat meals balanced with protein, fat and carbs to avoid this.
Blood sugar is closely related to insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas that helps your body use glucose that’s in the carbohydrates you eat. Insulin helps regulate your blood sugar levels — if you eat more sugar than you need in the moment, the hormone helps store the glucose in your liver until it’s needed for energy.
You probably also know about blood sugar in the context of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which people are unable to make insulin, so they need to inject the hormone in order to keep their blood sugar levels stable. People with Type 2 diabetes, which usually occurs later in life, either don’t secrete insulin or are resistant to it.
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The Classic Symptoms Of High Blood Sugar Are Polyuria Polydipsia And Polyphagia
In plain English, that means excessive urination, excessive thirst, and excessive hunger. Any doctor who hears this trio of complaints will reach for a blood glucose meter. But often, the person experiencing these symptoms doesnt notice them right away. This is partly because they often creep up on a person in a gradual fashion, and partly because the signs and symptoms of high blood glucose arent well known among people who dont have diabetes or dont know they have diabetes.
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Sexual Dysfunction For Both Men And Women
Unexplained sexual dysfunction could be a sign of high blood sugar. “With both genders, the longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to experience sexual dysfunction in some way,” says endocrinologist Shirisha Avadhanula, MD. “Changes in testosterone or estrogen can impact libido, lubrication and the ability to become sexually aroused. There are treatment options for both men and women. You may not see instant success but keep talking with your care team to move to the next option. There is hope that you can resume an active, enjoyable sex life.”
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Diabetes And Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease includes blood vessel disease, heart attack and stroke. It’s the leading cause of death in Australia.
The risk of cardiovascular disease is greater for people with diabetes, who often have increased cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Smoking, having a family history of cardiovascular disease and being inactive also increase your risk.To reduce your risk and pick up any problems early:
- Have your blood pressure checked at least every six months, or more often if you have high blood pressure or are taking medication to lower your blood pressure.
- Have your HbA1c checked at least every year, or three- to six-monthly if recommended.
- Have your cholesterol checked at least every year. Further pathology tests such as an electrocardiogram or exercise stress test may also be recommended by your doctor.
The Danger Of High Blood Sugar
Having a high blood sugar means there is too much sugar in the blood because the body is lacking in insulin. This can happen for many reasons, including not taking enough insulin exogenously, too little exercise, eating too much, or even stress, hormonal changes, or lack of sleep.
High blood sugar is dangerous, but its important to remember that high blood sugar is mostly dangerous over prolonged periods of time .
This means that, for the most part, your blood sugar at diagnosis will not cause long-term complications, and the spike you saw last week from eating an ice cream sundae wont impact you over the long term.
But chronic, prolonged high blood sugars will cause diabetes complications in most people.
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Monitor Blood Sugar Levels Closely
High blood sugar typically refers to levels over 180 mg/dl . However, a person often does not experience symptoms until the levels exceed 200 mg/dl. As such, it is essential for a person with diabetes to check their blood sugar several times a day. Doing so should mean that blood sugar levels never get excessively high.
A person with diabetes can use an at-home glucose monitor to check their blood sugar levels. One option is a continuous glucose monitor, which is a medical device that easily enables a person to check their blood sugar levels.
The recommended number of times to check glucose levels during the day will vary from person to person. A doctor can make the best recommendations regarding the frequency of testing.
Low Blood Sugar Chart And Action Plan
Low blood sugar is also called hypoglycemia. The numbers below represent values in the hypoglycemic range and require action to bring blood sugar levels up into a normal range.
|Alert Level and Treatment Plan|
|50 mg/dL or under||Red Flag: Blood sugar is critically low and requires immediate treatment.
If a person is unable to speak and/or is not alert, treat with glucagon via injection or nasal spray. Call emergency medical response if necessary. Do not place food or drink into the mouth.
If a person is alert and able to speak clearly, treat with 15 grams of rapid-acting carbohydrate such as glucose gel, 4 oz regular soda, or fruit juice. Re-test blood sugar in 15 minutes and repeat as needed to bring blood sugar within range.
|51-70 mg/dL||Red Flag: Blood sugar is below normal levels and requires immediate treatment.
Treat with 15 grams of rapid-acting carbohydrate and re-test in 15 minutes. Repeat treatment as needed to bring blood sugar within range.
|71-90 mg/dL||Yellow Flag: Blood sugar levels should be watched and treated as needed.
If youre having symptoms of low blood sugar, treat with 15 grams of rapid-acting carbohydrate and re-test in 15 minutes.
Repeat treatment or follow with a meal. If it is meal time, move forward with eating the meal. People often fall into this range when they are late for a meal or have been especially active.
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Managing Your Diabetes Devices
If you are using an insulin pump, talk to your diabetes team about how to best manage hyperglycemia. In general, be sure to check your pump first. Make sure all parts are connected and working correctly. Check your bolus history and temporary basal rate. Also check your insulin to make sure it has not expired or gotten too warm.
If you use a CGM, try not to react to it too often. You might be tempted to give another dose of insulin too soon, before the first one finishes working, which is known as stacking insulin this can cause low blood sugar .
Why Your Blood Sugar Level May Be Low
If blood sugar drops below 70 mg/dL, it is below normal levels. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as:
- Not eating enough or missing a meal or snack
- Reducing the amount of carbohydrates you normally eat
- Alcohol consumption especially if youre drinking on an empty stomach
- Taking too much insulin or oral diabetes medication based on carbohydrates or activity levels
- Increased physical activity
- Side effects from medications
If you have diabetes, keep your blood glucose meter and sources of fast-acting glucose close by in case your blood sugar drops. This is especially important for people with hypoglycemia unawareness, which is a condition that causes symptoms of low blood sugar to go unnoticed.
Eating balanced meals and snacks at regular times throughout the day is a big part of maintaining normal blood glucose levels. Check out our article on meal planning for diabetes to better understand the three macronutrients where calories come from and which have the biggest effect on blood sugar.
Meal Planning for Diabetes: How to Optimize Your Diet >
Everyone will respond differently to certain factors, which is why its important to have individualized target glucose levels. To help you reach your target blood glucose goals, work with your healthcare provider to discuss modifications to your diet, physical activity, or medications, and alert them of other factors like a recent illness or stressful event.
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The #1 Sign Your Blood Sugar Is Dangerously High
Managing your blood sugar as a diabetic can be an everyday struggle, but when levels are out of the target range, serious health issues like heart disease, vision loss, kidney disease and more, can happen. Knowing what fluxuates your blood sugar and what the signs are that it’s dangerously high can be a matter of life or death. “If you have diabetes, it’s essential to keep an eye out for high blood sugar levels. But even if you don’t have diabetes, there are warning signs of high blood sugar that everyone should be aware of,” Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies told Eat This, Not That! Health. Read on to learn about the symptoms of high blood sugar to watch out forand to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
What Are The Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
- Difficulty speaking
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If you are experiencing an extremely low blood sugar, which is anything less than 40 mg/dL, that is not responding to fast-acting glucose or glucagon, and you have taken fast-acting insulin within the previous 2 hours, call 911 and seek immediate emergency medical attention.
This condition can be life-threatening if not treated.
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Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
Diabetes management is very complex and time-consuming. A newly diagnosed patient can easily become overwhelmed, leading to non-compliance with treatment which would further lead to irreversible complications. Patients and family members need to work closely with primary care providers, endocrinologists, dieticians, and diabetic educators to help achieve optimal therapeutic goals and prevent complications. Home health nursing services for disease management in the first few weeks have been shown to improve outcomes and should be utilized when available.
What Is A Dangerous Blood Sugar Reading And What Should You Do About It
How high is high and how low is low find out so that next time you know how to handle an emergency.
Your blood sugar levels dont stay constant throughout the day. They vary, rising and falling before and after you have a meal, exercise, or take your medication. People who do not have diabetes dont feel the difference very much, as their variations remain within a certain range. But if you have diabetes, you may unexpectedly experience blood glucose levels that are acutely higher or lower than usual, which can be dangerous.It is important for you to be able to recognise the symptoms of high blood sugar hyperglycaemia, and low blood sugar hypoglycaemia, and know how to treat them quickly before they can lead to disastrous complications. The best way to do this is to frequently self-monitor blood glucose levels with a glucometer.
According to Dr Ketan K Mehta, Consulting Physician, CardioPulmonologist & Diabetologist at Health Harmony, Mumbai, Blood sugar levels are a marker of diabetes complications. Too high or too low levels of blood sugar values are detrimental. An important aspect of managing diabetes is self-monitoring of blood sugar levels. But do more than only monitoring blood sugar levels. Go the extra mile and usesmartphone app-based programmes to keep track of your blood sugar levels and learn to get them under control by managing your diet, activity levels and weight.
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