How To Treat Severe Lows With Emergency Glucagon
Every emergency hypoglycemia kit should include glucose tablets or sugary snacks, glucagon, a glucose monitor , and emergency contact information. Emergency glucagon is available by prescription and can be injected or administered by nasal spray.
If you are a parent or caregiver for a child with diabetes, talk to their healthcare professional about the correct dose of emergency glucagon for children.
The recent development of ready-to-use and premixed glucagon has made it easier to administer rescue glucagon quickly and effectively in emergency situations. These next-generation glucagon options can save care-partners time, particularly if the person with severe hypoglycemia has lost consciousness.
To learn more about how to prepare for low blood sugar events, read Hypoglycemia Preparedness: How to Know Before You Go Low.” Read Lets Talk About the Lows for tips for communicating with loved ones about low blood sugar emergencies.
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.
Preventing High Blood Sugars
Everyone with diabetes experiences high blood sugars sometimes there are simply too many variables in the human body out of your control to prevent them altogether.
That being said, there are a few guidelines we can all follow to minimize the frequency of high blood sugars:
- Avoid full-sugar beverages including soda, juice, coffee drinks, iced tea, etc.
- Choose your carbohydrates carefully starchy carbs from pasta, candy, bread, desserts, etc. will spike your blood sugar the most
- Take your medications as prescribed and contact your healthcare team if you miss a dose to determine if you can take it late
- Exercise daily even a 20-minute walk makes a big difference on a daily basis
- Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration
And of course, if youre experiencing high blood sugars are a daily basis and youre unsure of the cause, talk to your healthcare team about making adjustments in your diabetes management regimen. A slight increase in your medications can have a big impact!
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Stick To Your Medication And Insulin Regimen
Skipping a dose of medication or insulin can be harmful to your body and increase your blood sugar levels.
Its important to stick to your treatment plan and follow your doctors instructions for taking your medication.
Healthful lifestyle habits can help people manage their blood sugar levels over the long term, such as eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, staying hydrated, and getting good sleep.
What Are The Goals Of The Diabetes Diet
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Tips For Checking Your Blood Sugar With Less Pain
Fingertips have more nerve endings, so this part of the finger tends to be the most sensitive.
If you use a finger prick to check your blood sugar level, a few techniques can make the process less painful whether youre using a glucometer or a continuous glucose monitor.
Blood sugar testing is crucial to diabetes management because high or low blood sugar can cause severe complications. If too much blood sugar accumulates in your bloodstream, you can experience major complications such as:
- difficulty speaking
Blood sugar can fluctuate throughout the day especially after meals, after exercising, and during stressful events. So its important to carefully monitor your blood sugar and keep it within a healthy range.
A blood sugar level less than 140 milligrams per deciliter , but greater than 70 mg/dL is typically considered in the target range.
You should check your blood sugar regularly, even if you arent experiencing symptoms of a high or low glucose level. Some people with high and low blood sugar dont have any symptoms.
Overdose Of Diabetes Medication
A common cause of hypoglycaemia is taking too much insulin for your current needs. Insulin is a medication that helps control your blood glucose levels. Its commonly used to treat type 1 diabetes and is also recommended for some people with type 2 diabetes.
A fall in blood glucose levels can also occur after taking too much oral hypoglycaemia medication, such as sulphonylurea, which causes a release of insulin. This medication is often used to lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
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How To Use A Blood Glucose Meter:
- After washing your hands, insert a test strip into your meter.
- Use your lancing device on the side of your fingertip to get a drop of blood.
- Touch and hold the edge of the test strip to the drop of blood and wait for the result.
- Your blood glucose level will appear on the meter’s display.
Note: All meters are slightly different, so always refer to your user’s manual for specific instructions.
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Understanding Results Of Blood Sugar Testing
Your healthcare provider will determine your specific blood glucose target levels. However, in general, blood sugar should be between 80 and 130 mg/dL before a meal and less than 180 mg/dL two hours after you eat.
Low blood sugar occurs when blood sugar levels are below 70 mg/dL. Severe hypoglycemiabelow 54 mg/dLcan lead to a life-threatening emergency.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia can include:
- Racing heartbeat
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What Are The Signs Of Hypoglycemia
An individual may frequently wake up in the middle of the night as a result of nighttime hypoglycemia. In other instances, though, people may know if they experienced hypoglycemia during their sleep if they notice the following symptoms:
- Waking up with a headache
- Waking up in a sweat
- Getting unusual feelings of tiredness throughout the day
- Experiencing anxiety or heart palpitations
- Feeling confused, dizzy or weak
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Can You Prevent Low Blood Sugar
Hypoglycemia might sound a little scary, so you might wonder if you can avoid it. No matter how well they take care of themselves, kids with diabetes will sometimes have low blood sugar levels. But taking these steps can help:
- Try to eat all your meals and snacks on time and donât skip any.
- Take the right amount of insulin.
- If you exercise longer or harder than usual, have an extra snack.
- Donât take a hot bath or shower right after an insulin shot.
- Stick to your diabetes management plan.
What else can you do? Wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace that says you have diabetes. Then, if you are not feeling well, whoeverâs helping you even if the person doesnât know you will know to call for medical help. Medical identification also can include your doctorâs phone number or a parentâs phone number. The quicker you get help, the quicker youâll be feeling better.
When Should You Check Blood Sugar
If you have diabetes, at home tests should be done before a meal, one to two hours after a meal, and at bedtime. Type 1 and type 2 diabetics who use insulin medication should check their blood sugar at least four times a day.
For those who have prediabetes, or at risk for developing diabetes, your blood sugar should be checked through routine blood work at a yearly doctorâs exam. If youâre not at risk for diabetes, glucose levels can be checked every three years.
âI wouldnât recommend that the general public be checking their blood glucose to figure out what their risk is,â says Mathioudakis. âBut certainly people with diabetes, and especially people with diabetes that have medications that can really lower their blood glucose, they should be checking.â
For more information, read our article about on whatâs considered healthy and normal blood sugar levels.
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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.
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:
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What To Eat When You Have Low Blood Sugar
When your blood sugar dips, it can leave you feeling hungry, shaky, and lightheaded. This can happen to anyone who hasnt eaten in several hours. When blood sugar drops below normal levels, its called hypoglycemia. In people with diabetes, hypoglycemia can be a life-threatening complication of diabetes medication, other health problems like infection, or inadequate caloric intake.
You can lower your chances of low blood sugarand treat it when it occurswith some simple steps.
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.
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How To Treat Low Blood Sugar
If you think you have low blood sugar, be sure to check it.
Keeping your blood sugar levels on target as much as possible can help prevent or delay long-term, serious health problems. While this is important, closely managing your blood sugar levels also increases your chance for low blood sugar . Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low. If you think you have low blood sugar, check it. If you arent able to check it, go ahead and treat it.
Untreated low blood sugar can be dangerous, so its important to know what to do about it and to treat it immediately.
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, its 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 youre looking for recommendations on how to keep track of your levels at home.
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Finding The Root Cause
While knowing how to recognize the symptoms of low blood pressure and being prepared to treat any unforeseen dips is important, you should work with a medical professional to find the root cause of your low blood sugar.
As weâve seen, there are many factors that can influence blood sugar fluctuation in individuals with or without diabetes, such as diet, excessive alcohol consumption, certain antibiotics, and health conditions affecting the liver or kidneys.
Low blood sugar is a serious and potentially life threatening condition when not treated properly, so consulting with your doctor to find treatment options that work for your individual condition is important. Using a CGM is a great way to be able to constantly monitor your levels in real-time to determine which lifestyle habits are having the most influence on your condition.
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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