Talk To Your Doctor Or Nurse
If you use insulin and your blood sugar is frequently or consistently low, ask your doctor or nurse if you:
- Are injecting your insulin the right way
- Need a different type of needle
- Should change how much insulin you take
- Should change the kind of insulin you take
Do not make any changes without talking to your doctor or nurse first.
Sometimes hypoglycemia can be due to accidently taking the wrong medicines. Check your medicines with your pharmacist.
Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
How you react to low blood sugar may not be the same as how someone else with low blood sugar reacts. Its important to know your signs. Common symptoms may include:
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.
You may not have any symptoms when your blood sugar is low . If you dont have symptoms, it will be harder to treat your low blood sugar early. This increases your risk of having severe lows and can be dangerous. This is more likely to happen if you:
- Have had diabetes for more than 5-10 years.
- Frequently have low blood sugar.
- Take certain medicines, such as beta blockers for high blood pressure.
If you meet one or more of the above and you have hypoglycemia unawareness, you may need to check your blood sugar more often to see if its low. This is very important to do before driving or being physically active.
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 cant 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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When To Call The Doctor
If signs of low blood sugar do not improve after you have eaten a snack that contains sugar, have someone drive you to the emergency room or call 911 or the local emergency number. Do not drive when your blood sugar is low.
Get medical help right away for a person with low blood sugar if the person is not alert or cannot be woken up as this is a medical emergency.
What’s Considered Low Blood Sugar
Typically, blood sugar should be between 70 and 120 milligrams per deciliter . Below 70 mg/dL is considered hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.
Blood sugar levels are a lot like temperatures, though. Whats too low for one person may not cause another person to have any adverse effects or symptoms. Its best to try to focus on how the person feels and responds more than focusing too much on the difference between 68 and 70 mg/dL.
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What Complications Can Hypoglycemia Cause
Passing out from low blood sugar because you have not recognized the early signs and symptoms is called hypoglycemia unawareness, and can be quite dangerous depending on where you are, explains Dr. Klonoff. As doctors are required to report such incidents to the Department of Motor Vehicles, it can also mean a suspended drivers license.
If this is something youre worried about, Wearing a continuous glucose monitor with an alarm for hypoglycemia can alert a person who is prone to developing low blood sugar levels that their blood glucose concentration is becoming dangerously low, so appropriate preventive action can be taken before they lose consciousness, explains Dr. Klonoff.
Is There Any Chocolate Without Sugar
Yes, there is chocolate without sugar. These types of chocolate are usually made using sugar substitutes like stevia, honey, or monk fruit. Sugar-free chocolate is often made with either cocoa powder or cocoa butter, making it low in carbohydrates and calories.
You can find sugar-free chocolate in many forms such as snack bars, chips, and hot or cold beverages. If youre looking for a sugar-free chocolate treat, look for options labeled no added sugar or sugar-free on the package.
As always, its important to double-check the ingredients list and consult with your doctor if you have a medical condition or food allergies.
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What Is Low Blood Sugar
When the body absorbs food, blood sugar goes up and the pancreas secretes the hormone insulin so the food can be digested and converted into energy. However, if blood sugar drops too low, the body tells the liver to release a type of sugar called glycogen, which is designed to help restore balance when the body perceives a problem.
For people who arent living with diabetes, this release of glycogen from the liver naturally occurs without them ever realizing it. However, for people living with diabetes, the bodys response to hypoglycemia is impaired.
Eventually, and sometimes on delay, the glycogen will release from the liver and the person with diabetes will experience hyperglycemia or high blood sugar. This rebound impact of hypoglycemia, followed by hyperglycemia, doesnt feel very good and can make the person feel tired and worn out.It is not just high blood sugars and lack of insulin that people with type 1 diabetes have to deal with, said Dr. Jordan Pinsker, Vice President and Medical Director for Tandem Diabetes Care who is also a leading endocrinologist. Many people do not realize that even shortly after the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes is made, the cell signaling that the body uses to raise blood sugar is also not always working correctly. This makes it even harder to respond to a low blood sugar.
What Causes Low Blood Glucose
- Symptoms occur when blood glucose levels fall below 70 mg/dl a condition known as hypoglycemia.
- In most cases, low blood glucose results from overtreatment: Either taking too much diabetes medication or not eating enough food. Higher doses of medicine than the person actually requires can also lead to hypoglycemia.
- People who aim for too-low values on their A1C test tend to experience more frequent drops in blood glucose.
- Vigorous exercise doesn’t just burn calories, it also burns blood glucose! Hypoglycemia can occur unless blood glucose levels are carefully monitored during and after exercise.
- Not eating on a regular basis can deprive the body of glucose and make it difficult to prevent hypoglycemia. Eat balanced meals throughout the day and always keep a snack on hand.
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Slurred Speech And Clumsiness
Your sugar-starved brain may change the way you sound. Slurred speech is a common symptom associated with blood sugar levels that drop below 40 mg/dL, according to University of Michigan Health Systems. Combined with clumsiness another sign of low blood sugar you may seem as though youve had a few too many cocktails, even if you havent touched a drop, according to the National Health Service.
Do Not Drive When You Have Low Blood Sugar
It’s very dangerous. If you’re driving and you have hypoglycemia symptoms, pull off the road, check your blood sugar, and eat a sugary food. Wait at least 15 minutes, check your blood sugar, and repeat these steps if necessary. Eat a protein and carbohydrate source before you drive on.
Be prepared. Keep a sugar source in your car at all times for emergencies.
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What To Do When Your Blood Sugar Levels Are Low Or High
Glucose is a type of sugar that provides energy to the body and is required for the bodys metabolic needs. It is sourced from different foods people eat. It is stored in the body. The blood glucose level provides energy to the cells of the body, which reaches all parts of the bloodstream.
If you are still wondering why you need to keep your blood glucose levels in check, scroll down to know the reasons.
What Should I Do If This Happens
People and their partners or roommates should learn to recognize the signs of nighttime hypoglycemia. Be prepared! Ask your doctor for an emergency glucagon kit. This kit contains a fast-acting medication that can be injected if the person cant be woken up. Store the kit in a bedside drawer for easy access.
DO NOT PUT ANYTHING INTO A PERSONS MOUTH IF THEY ARE ASLEEP OR CANNOT SIT UP.
If the person cannot be woken: If there is no emergency glucagon kit, call 911. If the person has a glucagon kit, the partner or roommate should follow the instructions to fill the syringe and inject the medicine. Once fully awake, he/she should eat a meal and check their blood glucose every few hours using a home test kit. After giving the injection, the persons doctor should be notified.
If the person can be woken up and sit without support: They should be given a fast-acting glucose source. Good options include hard candy, fruit juice or glucose paste or tablets, which can be purchased at most pharmacies. Once the person is fully awake, they should eat a meal and check their blood glucose every few hours using a home test kit.
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.
What Else Should I Do
- Always carry fast acting carbohydrates with you
- Wear identification that says you have diabetes
- Make a note of any hypos you have and discuss it with your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator
- Make sure your family, friends, co-workers, school staff and carers know how to recognise and treat hypoglycaemia
- Look for the cause of your hypo so you can try to prevent it from occurring again
- Contact your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator if you are having hypos often
- If youre taking medication called Acarbose carry pure glucose with you such as glucose tablets, glucose gel or Lucozade
- Eat carbohydrates if you are drinking alcohol
- Test your blood glucose level and ensure it is above 5mmol/L before driving a motor vehicle.
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Checking For Low Blood Sugar Levels
The warning signs of hypoglycemia are the bodys natural response to low blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels fall too low, the body releases the hormone adrenaline, which helps get stored glucose into the bloodstream quickly. This can make someone:
- have an increased heart rate
If the hypoglycemia isnt treated, more serious symptoms may happen, such as drowsiness, confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
The only way to know for sure if youre having a low blood sugar level is to test. Blood sugar levels can be tested with a . This computerized device measures and displays the amount of glucose in a blood sample. But if you cant quickly check your blood sugar level, its important to treat yourself for hypoglycemia immediately to prevent symptoms from getting worse.
Sometimes a person with diabetes may have symptoms of low blood sugar levels, but blood sugar levels are not actually low. This is a called a false reaction. The hormone adrenaline is not just released when blood sugar drops too low its also released when blood sugar levels fall quickly when theyre too high. If youre having a false reaction, you might actually have blood sugar levels in a healthy range but feel as if you have low blood sugar. Testing blood sugar levels before treating yourself for hypoglycemia can help you figure out if youre having a false reaction.
How Can I Prevent Hypoglycemic Episodes
The key to preventing hypoglycemic events is managing diabetes:
- Follow your healthcare providers instructions about food and exercise.
- Track your blood sugar regularly, including before and after meals, before and after exercise and before bed.
- Take all your medications exactly as prescribed.
- When you do have a hypoglycemic event, write it down. Include details such as the time, what you ate recently, whether you exercised, the symptoms and your glucose level.
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S For Treating A Person With Symptoms Keeping Them From Being Able To Treat Themselves
Dont hesitate to call 911. If someone is unconscious and glucagon is not available or someone does not know how to use it, call 911 immediately.
- Provide food or fluids
What Are The Symptoms Of Dangerous Levels Of Blood Sugar
A patient with high blood sugar presents the symptoms such as a dry mouth, fatigue, dry, and itchy skin and an increased appetite. Some people also experience being more thirsty and increased frequency of urination, especially at night.
If not corrected early it can lead to symptoms of dangerous levels of blood sugar like difficulty in breathing, dizziness, rapid weight loss and confusion of mind. Blood sugar level of 300 or above is dangerous and if not treated a condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis or diabetic coma can occur.
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Possible Causes With Diabetes
Diabetes affects your bodys ability to use insulin. Think of insulin as the key that unlocks your cells, letting in glucose for energy.
If you have diabetes, a variety of treatments can help the cells in your body use the glucose in your blood. Among these are insulin injections and oral medications that increase insulin production.
If you take too much of these types of medications, your blood sugar may drop too low. You may also sometimes experience low blood sugar if you plan to eat a big meal but then do not eat enough.
Skipping meals, eating less than usual, or eating later than usual but taking your medication at your usual time can also lead to low blood sugar levels.
Unplanned excess physical activity without eating enough can also cause a drop in blood sugar levels.
Drinking alcohol when youre on these medications can also lead to low blood sugar, especially if it replaces food. When your body is trying to get rid of alcohol, it becomes worse at managing blood sugar levels.
How Do You Treat Low Blood Sugar
A popular method for treating low blood sugar is to follow the Rule of 15. This is when a person experiencing low blood glucose eats 15 grams of carbohydrates, then waits for 15 minutes for their glucose to rise.
These 15 minutes can feel impossibly long, but its important to be as patient as possible to see if the initial intake of 15 grams of carbohydrates is working.
If glucose levels have not come up in the initial 15 minutes, the person should consume 15 more grams of carbohydrates and repeat the process.
If they are using a continuous glucose monitoring system, they should remember that it can take a few more minutes for the interstitial glucose to reflect the glucose absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. It is best to check a fingerstick in 15 minutes to confirm that glucose is rising, as the rise in glucose could be delayed on CGM.
When in doubt, use a fingerstick to verify glucose levels especially if the symptoms dont match the CGM values.
Another way to treat low blood sugar is by using glucagon.
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What Chocolates Are Sugar
Chocolatier companies such as Lilys, Chocoley, and Krissys Candles specialize in producing sugar-free, vegan and organic varieties. Additionally, certain dark chocolates made of 70% cocoa or higher are naturally sugar-free.
Many grocery stores and health food stores such as Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Sprouts also carry sugar-free chocolates. Options include sugar-free chocolate chips, bars, baking chips and other chocolate-based snacks.
If youre looking for sugar-free chocolate desserts or treats, there are recipes online to make sugar-free brownies, chocolate chip cookies and other indulgent treats. Many of these healthier chocolate options contain natural sweeteners such as erythritol, stevia, monk fruit or xylitol, so be sure to read the ingredients list to make sure it fits within your dietary preferences.