No Symptoms Be Alarmed
Surprisingly, the most dangerous episodes of hypoglycemia occur with little or no warning. When low blood glucose occurs on a regular basis, the body can become used to the warning signs and the person may stop noticing symptoms. This is a particularly dangerous condition known as hypoglycemic unawareness. People with this condition might not realize they have low blood glucose until it’s dangerously low seizures and coma are sometimes the first indication of a problem. The good news is that this condition can often be reversed allowing people to once again notice the signs of low blood glucose if hypoglycemia is avoided for a few weeks through careful monitoring of blood glucose.
The Best Foods To Eat For Low Blood Sugar According To Doctors And Nutritionists
As a Type 1 diabetic whose blood sugar falls below the normal threshold on a fairly frequent basis, I can speak firsthand to the dizziness, physical weakness and confusion prompted by hypoglycemia, and I can also speak to the importance of having food and drink items on hand to quickly boost my blood glucose levels.
A little background: Hypoglycemia, a medical condition in which the level of sugar in ones blood falls below a normal point , can be caused by a wide range of factors, including heavy exercise, pregnancy, infections, certain medications and most commonly by diabetes thats treated with insulin injections.
While I have my own favorite low-blood-sugar treatments, I found myself wondering which snacks and beverages are the most effective from a medical and scientific standpoint. So I consulted a group of physicians and nutritionists with strong knowledge of hypoglycemia, who came up with this list of four go-to choices for anyone who needs to raise their blood glucose levels quickly and safely.
Before we get to actual foods, wed be remiss not to start with glucose tablets, a staple tool for treating hypoglycemia, which diabetics get to know very early on in their experience with the disease.
What Is The Hypoglycemic Diet
Thereâs no one best diet for hypoglycemia, but there are some tips and tricks that can help you tailor yours to help.
While you may sometimes get recommendations for a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, this type of diet has not been proven to help hypoglycemia. While theres no one size fits all when it comes to diets, some of these dietary changes may be able to help:
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What Causes Low Blood Glucose In People With Diabetes
Low blood glucose levels can be a side effect of insulin or some other medicines that help your pancreas release insulin into your blood. Taking these can lower your blood glucose level.
Two types of diabetes pills can cause low blood glucose
- sulfonylureas, usually taken once or twice per day, which increase insulin over several hours
- meglitinides, taken before meals to promote a short-term increase in insulin
The following may also lower your blood glucose level
Tips For Healthy Eating With Diabetes
There are different types of diabetes, and no two people with diabetes are the same. So there isnt a one-size-fits-all diabetes diet for everyone with diabetes. But weve come up with tips that you can use to help you make healthier food choices.
These healthy eating tips are general and can help you manage your blood glucose , blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They can also help you manage your weight and reduce the risk of diabetes complications, such as heart problems and strokes, and other health conditions including certain types of cancers.
Making healthier food choices is important to manage your diabetes and to reduce your risk of diabetes complications. We know that not everyone agrees on what is the best diet.
This is why weve reviewed all the evidence to put these tips together. Weve focused on specific foods, to make it easier for you to put these tips into practice and to complement whatever diet you decide to follow.
Douglas Twenefour, Specialist Dietitian and Deputy Head of Care
Weve based our tips on research involving people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. If you have a different type of diabetes, like gestational, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes or MODY, some of these tips are relevant to you. Its important, whatever kind of diabetes you have, to see your dietitian for specific advice.
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What Extreme Conditions Can Occur If Hypoglycemia Is Left Untreated
Although severe episodes which can trigger potentially life-threatening comas are rare, they require immediate emergency room care, so its best to make sure you are tracking your blood sugar so that you never have to worry about getting to that point. A drop in blood sugar means less fuel for your brain, so its critical for your body to receive enough glucose. Hypoglycemia that leads to extended, reduced brain function is the biggest concern, as this can lead to seizures and loss of basic bodily functions controlled by the brain, which can ultimately lead to death, explains Dr. Dyer.
What Are The Treatments For Hypoglycemia
Make an appointment with an endocrinologist if you feel like youre having episodes of hypoglycemia, even if youre not diabetic. Theyll talk you through treatment strategies, including:
Adjusting your medications. You may need to change how often you take insulin or other medications, which medications youre on, how much you take, and when you take them.
Working with a registered dietitian on a personalized meal plan that stabilizes blood sugar levels. Theres no one-size-fits-all hypoglycemia diet, but a nutritionist can help you figure out a consistent meal plan tailored to you, and teach you how to count carbohydrate grams to go along with your health and routine.
Increasing and improving self-monitoring of your blood glucose levels. Knowing your blood glucose level throughout the daywhen you get up, before meals, and after meals etc.can help you keep it from getting too low.
Limiting consumption of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol interferes with the way your body metabolizes glucose. If you’re prone to hypoglycemia, consider decreasing how much alcohol you consume.
Glucose tablets . Make sure you always have glucose tablets on hand, whether at home, school, the office, or the gym. After taking the tablet, check your blood sugar. If its still low, take another tablet. If that doesnt help, check with your doctor.
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If A Person Is Unconscious
If a person loses consciousness because of severe hypoglycaemia, they need to be put into the recovery position and given an injection of the hormone glucagon . The injection will raise their blood glucose level.
The injection should be carried out by a friend or family member who knows what they’re doing, or by a trained healthcare professional.
You should dial 999 to request an ambulance if:
- a glucagon injection kit isn’t available
- there’s nobody available who’s trained to give the injection
- the injection is ineffective after 10 minutes
Never try to put food or drink into the mouth of someone who’s unconscious as they could choke.
If you’re able to give a glucagon injection and the person regains consciousness, they should eat some longer-acting carbohydrate food, such as a few biscuits, a cereal bar or a sandwich.
You should continue to monitor the person for signs of recurring symptoms in case they need to be treated again.
Learn To Manage Your Stress
We all have stress. However, some people can manage it better than others. Personally, Im a Type-A, and Ive had to work hard and learn ways to manage stress.
Chronic stress takes a toll on your immune system. It makes you more likely to contract a cold or flu, or even develop a chronic autoimmune disease. Stress also raises your cortisol levels, which in turn raises your blood sugar. Its a major cause of high fasting blood sugars.
To manage stress, try any or all of these things:
- Yoga or tai chi
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Use adaptogenic herbs like Tulsi or one of my favorites Ashwagandha
Adaptogens are class of herbs that help your body adapt to various types of stressors. They have long been used in Ayurvedic medicine. Tulsi is one of my favorites and it happens to be another ingredient in Herbaly Wellness Collection tea. Tulsi been shown to enhance your immune system, reduce cortisol levels, and improve blood sugar.
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What To Do If I Have Diabetes
You must first visit your dentist as soon as possible. If you observe any indications or indications of oral health issues.
Your dentist is a crucial ally in maintaining the health of your mouth. additionally attending to mouth issues before they worsen.
the condition of diabetes
Inform your dentist of your diabetes and how long you have had it. any issues you might have because of your diabetes. as well as any medications you take.
any changes in your health should be reported to your dentist. Included in this is any rise in your blood sugar levels. Find out how frequently you need to visit for routine cleanings and examinations.
Follow your surgeons recommendations for both treating and preventing diabetes-related mouth issues. If going to the dentist gives you anxiety. Share your feelings with the personnel plus your dentists.
Your doctor will modify the procedure to meet your needs.
I Have Low Blood Sugar
This article was published more than 10 years ago. Some information may no longer be current.
The question: I have been diagnosed with low blood sugar. Is there a special diet I should follow?
The answer: There isn’t a specific diet for low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, but there are dietary modifications that can help prevent reactions altogether. I have developed meal plans for many clients with hypoglycemia who now experience no symptoms at all.
Hypoglycemia can be a concern for people with diabetes taking certain blood sugar-lowering medications, but it can also affect people who don’t have diabetes. Symptoms can include headache, shakiness, weakness, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, confusion and blurred vision.
Diet isn’t the underlying cause of hypoglycemia, but altering what you eat and when you eat can prevent your blood sugar from dropping too low if you’re susceptible to the condition.
My goal with clients is to prevent hypoglycemia from happening in the first place. And to do that, it’s important to ensure glucose enters your bloodstream at a steady, even pace throughout the day.
It’s critical to eat every two to three hours to prevent your blood glucose from falling too low. Don’t skip meals and include a snack midmorning and midafternoon. Be sure to carry snacks with you to prevent a hypoglycemic episode when you are away from home.
Finally, limit caffeine and alcohol, which can worsen symptoms of hypoglycemia in some people.
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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.
How To Prevent Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia is a serious condition that requires prompt treatment. If you have diabetes, taking certain simple measures can help you prevent low blood sugar levels:
- Track your blood glucose levels regularly using a blood glucose meter. If you have hypoglycemia unawareness or have low blood glucose often, use a CGM device to constantly track your blood sugar levels and alert you when your sugar levels drop.
- Make a meal plan where you have 3 evenly spaced meals with healthy snacks in between. This will ensure that you have enough carbohydrates in your diet to keep your blood glucose level in your target range.
- Carry a source of fast-acting carbohydrates, such as glucose tablets or a juice box, with you at all times.
- Track your carbohydrate intake and your blood sugar levels before and after meals, after exercise, and before going to bed.
- Along with keeping a track of your diet and lifestyle, make sure that you take your insulin and/or diabetic medications accordingly.
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Get Your Free Diabetes Diet Plan
- 15 foods to naturally lower blood sugar levels
- 3 day sample meal plan
- Designed exclusively by our nutritionist
Low blood sugar is called hypoglycemia and occurs when blood sugar levels fall below 70 mg/dL. Low blood sugar can become life-threatening if it becomes severe, so its essential that people with diabetes and those caring for them know which foods to eat when low blood sugar occurs.
Suppose someone has repeated incidents of low blood sugar. In that case, they may develop hypoglycemia unawareness, which is when they dont notice low blood sugar symptoms as quickly as they once could. Hypoglycemia unawareness increases the risk of severe hypoglycemia, so treating and preventing hypoglycemia is very important for the health and safety of people with diabetes.
Importance Of Diet In Diabetes
Much of the food you eat is broken down into sugar , which gets released into the bloodstream. When blood sugar increases, the pancreas, an organ responsible for digestion and blood sugar regulation, releases the hormone insulin. Insulin then helps cells absorb the sugar to be used for energy or stored.
In diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin to enable the cells to absorb enough sugar from the blood. Or the body might have enough insulin, but the cells do not respond to it. In both cases, this leads to there being too much sugar in the blood, which, over time can lead to serious health issues, such as vision loss, heart disease, and kidney disease.
Reducing sugar and other simple carbohydrates in your diet plays an important role in keeping blood sugar levels down, which can slow the progression of the disease and stave off such complications.
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A Low Blood Sugar Level And Driving
You may still be allowed to drive if you have diabetes or you’re at risk of a low blood sugar level for another reason, but you’ll need to do things to reduce the chance of this happening while you’re driving.
You also need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and your car insurance company about your condition.
For more information, see:
These Foods Can Help You Maintain Optimum Glucose Levels In The Blood When Eaten On A Regular Basis It Is Important To Not Go Without Eating For Too Many Straight Hours During A Single Day
When you need to raise your blood sugar, try to eat simple carbohydrates and sugars that digest fast and can provide you some relief. In such cases, quickly drink a cup of orange juice or soda. You can try any fruit juice for that matter. Eat a few candies or one tablespoon of maple syrup or honey. You can eat a banana or an orange a few raisins or prunes. When your blood sugar is extremely low, you can eat any sugary food to raise it quickly to avoid complications. Jam, jellies and peanut butter with crackers are good options. Diabetic patients must keep some nuts or snacks with them always.
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