Preventing A Low Blood Sugar Level
If you have diabetes, you can reduce your chance of getting a low blood sugar level if you:
- Check your blood sugar level regularly and be aware of the symptoms of a low blood sugar level so you can treat it quickly.
- Use a continuous glucose monitor or flash monitor to see how your blood sugar levels are changing. Ask your diabetes care team about getting a monitor if you do not already have one.
- Always carry a sugary snack or drink with you, such as glucose tablets, a carton of fruit juice or some sweets. If you have a glucagon injection kit, always keep it with you.
- Do not skip meals.
- Be careful when drinking alcohol. Do not drink large amounts, check your blood sugar level regularly, and eat a carbohydrate snack afterwards.
- Be careful when exercising eating a carbohydrate snack before exercise can help to reduce the risk of a hypo. If you take some types of diabetes medicine, your doctor may recommend you take a lower dose before or after doing intense exercise.
- Have a carbohydrate snack, such as toast, if your blood sugar level drops too low while you’re asleep .
If you keep getting a low blood sugar level, talk to your diabetes care team about things you can do to help prevent it.
How Can I Treat High Blood Sugar
Talk to your doctor about how to keep your blood sugar levels within your target range. Your doctor may suggest the following:
- Be more active. Regular exercise can help keep your blood sugar levels on track. Important: dont exercise if ketones are present in your urine. This can make your blood sugar go even higher.
- Take medicine as instructed. If your blood sugar is often high, your doctor may change how much medicine you take or when you take it.
- Follow your diabetes meal plan. Ask your doctor or dietitian for help if youre having trouble sticking to it.
- Check your blood sugar as directed by your doctor. Check more often if youre sick or if youre concerned about high or low blood sugar.
- Talk to your doctor about adjusting how much insulin you take and what types of insulin to use.
When You Have Low Blood Sugar
First, eat or drink 15 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate, such as:
- Three to four glucose tablets
- One tube of glucose gel
- Four to six pieces of hard candy
- 1/2 cup fruit juice
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1/2 cup soft drink
- 1 tablespoon honey
Fifteen minutes after you’ve eaten a food with sugar in it, check your blood sugar again. If your blood sugar is still less than 70 mg/dL, eat another serving of one of the foods listed above. Repeat these steps until your sugar becomes normal.
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Key Points About Hypoglycemia In Children
Hypoglycemia occurs when the blood glucose is too low to fuel the brain and the body.
It may be a condition by itself, or may be a complication of diabetes or another disorder.
To treat low blood glucose right away, your child should eat or drink something with sugar, such as orange juice, milk, cake icing, or a hard candy. They should follow with food with complex carbohydrates, fat, and protein, such as a peanut butter sandwich on whole-grain bread.
Severe or long-lasting hypoglycemia may result in seizures and serious brain injury.
How Does Hyperglycemia Occur With Diabetes
The reason for hyperglycemia with diabetes depends on whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas is unable to produce insulin. If you have type 2 diabetes, your pancreas doesnt produce enough insulin to stabilize your blood sugar. In both conditions, glucose can build up in your bloodstream, resulting in hyperglycemia.
Your diabetes medication keeps your blood sugar within a safe range. If you dont take your medication as instructed, you might experience blood sugar spikes. This can also occur due to poor eating habits, inactivity, or an infection.
Low blood sugar and high blood sugar can lead to serious diabetes complications. Untreated hypoglycemia can cause seizures, fainting, and even death.
Complications of untreated hyperglycemia include:
- cardiovascular disease
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What Causes Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar has many causes, including missing a meal, taking too much insulin, taking other diabetes medicines, exercising more than normal, and drinking alcohol. Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low.
Signs of low blood sugar are different for everyone. Common symptoms include:
Know what your individual symptoms are so you can catch low blood sugar early and treat it. If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms. Low blood sugar can be dangerous and should be treated as soon as possible.
How To Get A Lower Waking Blood Sugar
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Signs Of Hypoglycemia Unawareness
What can be especially troubling about low blood sugar is that, in some cases, there are no outward signs. This type of hypoglycemia is called hypoglycemia unawareness. There is a greater risk with this condition, as you only experience symptoms once blood sugar levels have dropped so low that they cause hypoglycemic shock.
In these cases, monitoring glucose levels regularly is essential, especially if youre planning to drive or engage in physical activity.
Hypoglycemia unawareness is most common in those who:
- Have had diabetes for five to 10 years
- Frequently experience hypoglycemia
- Take beta-blockers for high blood pressure
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What Causes Low Blood Sugar In The Morning
The causes of low blood sugar in the morning vary. If you have diabetes, you likely need to adjust your background insulin levels. Make sure youre aware of how any other medications you take can affect your blood sugar. Your doctor can help you make sure that your insulin dosage and any other medications you take are a good fit with your diet and exercise routines. Additionally, alcohol usage is a risk for hypoglycemia.
If you dont have diabetes, hypoglycemia is less likely to occur. However, some non-diabetes-related causes of hypoglycemia include the following:
- drinking too much alcohol the previous night, which makes it harder for your liver to release glucose into your blood, thus causing a low blood sugar
- chronic starvation
Treating low blood sugar is fairly simple. If you wake up with hypoglycemia symptoms, try to consume about 15 grams of carbohydrates as soon as possible. Snacks that provide this include:
- 3 glucose tablets
- 1/2 cup of non-sugar-free fruit juice
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1/2 can of non-diet soda
Make sure you dont eat too much to treat low blood sugar, as this can have an opposite affect and make your levels too high. Wait 15 minutes after your first snack. If youre not feeling better, have another 15 grams of carbohydrates. Pairing your carbohydrate with a protein and healthy source of fat, such as nuts, seeds, cheese, or hummus, helps to keep you full and prevent another big drop in blood sugar.
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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How To Treat A Low Blood Sugar Level Yourself
Follow these steps if your blood sugar level is less than 3.5mmol/L or you have hypo symptoms:
You do not usually need to get medical help once you’re feeling better if you only have a few hypos.
But tell your diabetes team if you keep having hypos or if you stop having symptoms when your blood sugar level is low.
Should You Worry About Low Blood Sugar
Before getting into a panic state first verify that you actually have hypoglycemia. Check if your blood sugar actually plummets.
If you actually register low blood sugar on your glucometer the next thing you need to do is exclude probability that low glucose number is due to alcohol, medication, or food allergies and sensitivities.
To check if changes to glucose metabolism is due to a food you need to do a specialized tests. For that you need to do a food sensitivity test, but thats not the same as a skin scratch. Skin scratch is valuable in detecting foods that cause anaphylactic or skin reaction, but not food sensitivities. Skin scratch cannot detect all the foods your immune system reacts to. For that you need a hidden food sensitivity test.
If after ruling out the above causes you are still experiencing hypoglycemia symptoms you need to ask your doctor to test for insulin resistance. This will involve taking blood for two tests , both of which should be done at the same time in your local medical laboratory.
When the tests come back your doctor needs to run an insulin resistance algorithm, called HOMA. Only this way you are able to detect early signs of insulin resistance, which can seen years or decades before glucose numbers change on the standard lab test.
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Causes Of Low Blood Glucose
Low blood glucose is common for people with type 1 diabetes and can occur in people with type 2 diabetes taking insulin or certain medications. The average person with type 1 diabetes may experience up to two episodes of mild low blood glucose each week, and thats only counting episodes with symptoms. If you add in lows without symptoms and the ones that happen overnight, the number would likely be higher.
Check Your Blood Sugar Often
Regularly checking your blood sugar level can help you keep it in your target range. If youve had low blood sugar episodes in the past, you may want to check your blood sugar levels before driving or operating machinery.
Talk with your doctor about when and how often you should check your blood sugar.
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Preventing Low Blood Sugar
Eating regular meals and snacks is the best way to keep blood sugar on an even keel. Here are some guidelines for those who have had recurring bouts of hypoglycemia:
Try not to skip or delay meals. Dont go more than three hours without eating something.
Avoid drinking alcohol on an empty stomach. Alcohol can cause blood sugar to drop.
Have a light snack before exercising. Good choices are crackers and peanut butter, yogurt and fruit, half a turkey sandwich, or a bowl of whole grain cereal with milk. A snack at bedtime can help keep blood sugar levels normal during the night.
If you have diabetes, you need to match your carbohydrate intake to your diabetes medications to avoid low blood sugar. A dietitian or diabetes educator can help you put together an eating plan. If you take mealtime insulin like insulin aspart , insulin lispro , or insulin glulisine , make sure you eat the right amount of carbohydrates at your meal to match your insulin dosage. Skipping meals or not eating enough carbohydrates can cause your blood sugar level to dip significantly.
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