Assess Your Current Diet And Barriers To Success
One of the biggest barriers to following a balanced diet is having the knowledge and preparation to do so, says Braganini.
Knowing what your starting point is can help you understand where to make changes.
She says one of the most important things people can do is figure out exactly what they are really eating on a day-to-day basis.
Speaking with a registered dietician is a great place to start.
Bragagnini explains working with a dietician can help you gain the knowledge needed to begin to implement the small changes in order to make them sustainable over time.
What Is Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar is a level of sugar, or glucose, in the blood that is lower than normal. According to the American Diabetes Association, the cut-off value for Level 1 hypoglycemia, or moderately low blood sugar, is 70 mg/dl. However, you may not be regularly measuring your blood sugar if you have not been diagnosed with diabetes. Instead, you might suspect that you have hypoglycemia because of its symptoms. The fatigue, fuzzy thinking, and need to sit down are the result of your body being deprived of its main fuel source: glucose.
Treating Severely Low Blood Sugar
Blood sugar below 55 mg/dL is considered severely low. You wont be able to treat it using the 15-15 rule. You also may not be able to check your own blood sugar or treat it by yourself, depending on your symptoms. Make sure your family members, friends, and caregivers know your signs of low blood sugar so they can help treat it if needed.
Injectable glucagon is the best way to treat severely low blood sugar. A glucagon kit is available by prescription. Speak with your doctor to see if you should have a kit. Be sure to learn how and when to use it. Let family members and others close to you know where you keep the glucagon kit and make sure theyve been trained in how to use it too.
Its important to contact a doctor for emergency medical treatment immediately after receiving a glucagon injection. If a person faints due to severely low blood sugar, theyll usually wake up within 15 minutes after a glucagon injection. If they dont wake up within 15 minutes after the injection, they should receive one more dose. When the person is awake and able to swallow:
- Feed the person a fast-acting source of sugar .
- Then, have them eat a long-acting source of sugar .
Its also important that friends, family, co-workers, teachers, coaches, and other people you may be around often know how to test your blood sugar and treat severely low blood sugar before it happens.
If any of the following happens, your friend, relative, or helper should call 911:
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Treating Low Blood Sugar
You are at risk of having a low blood sugar reaction if you:
- Skip or delay a meal or snack
- Take too much insulin or eat too few carbohydrates
- Drink alcohol, especially without eating carbohydrates
Check your blood sugar if you have any of these symptoms:
- Weakness and/or fatigue
If your blood sugar is less than 70 milligrams per deciliter :
- Eat 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate
- Wait 15 minutes and then recheck your blood sugar
- If your blood sugar is still less than 100 mg/dl, take another 15 grams of carbohydrate and retest your blood sugar in another 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
Important: If you have frequent low blood sugars speak to your doctor. You may need changes in your medication and/or meal plan.
How Long Will The Effects Last
The effects of low blood sugar will continue and may even get worse until treatment brings your blood sugar level back to normal. It may take several minutes for the symptoms to go away after you start treatment. This may be a temporary problem while you and your healthcare provider are adjusting your medicine. If you are always prone to having low blood sugar, you may need to take special care for the rest of your life to keep your blood sugar at the proper level.
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How To Treat Someone Whos Having A Seizure Or Fit
Follow these steps if someone has a seizure or fit caused by a low blood sugar level:
Tell your diabetes care team if you ever have a severe hypo that caused you to have a seizure or fit.
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Listen To Your Doctor
If you follow a meal plan or take medications that increase insulin to manage low blood sugar, its important to stick to the plan your doctor prescribed to help prevent drops in your blood sugar level.
Not eating the right foods or taking the right medications at the correct times can cause your blood sugar to drop. Check in often with your doctor so they can adjust your treatment plan if and when necessary.
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How To Treat A Low Blood Sugar Level Yourself
Follow these steps if your blood sugar level is less than 4mmol/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.
Questions Caregivers Should Ask
As a family member, friend, or caregiver, you want to do your best to keep your loved one, friend, or patient safe from severe hypoglycemia. But knowing whats best can be overwhelming. Here are some questions to help you get started.
- What are my loved ones/friends/patients chances for severe hypoglycemia?
- How often should my loved one/friend/patient check their blood glucose?
- What should I do if there is no change after giving the glucagon?
- What would be the best food or drink to give my loved one/friend/patient once they wake up?
- Should I talk with a diabetes educator?
- How can I help treat their hypoglycemia?
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hypoglycaemia
Symptoms of mild to moderate hypoglycaemia may include one or more of the following:
- rapid change in behaviour or irritability
- blurred vision.
Over time you come to recognise the feelings you get when your blood glucose goes low. However, if you have had diabetes for a long time, you may not get any symptoms when your blood glucose goes low.
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 your 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.
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The Causes Of Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar levels can happen to kids with diabetes because of the medicines they have to take. Kids with diabetes may need a hormone called insulin and/or diabetes pills to help their bodies use the sugar in their blood. These medicines help take the sugar out of the blood and get it into the body’s cells, which makes the level of sugar in the blood go down.
But sometimes it’s a tricky balancing act, and blood sugar levels can get too low. Kids with diabetes need to keep their blood sugar levels from getting too high or too low. How do they do it? With help from grown-ups, they keep three things in balance:
Each one of these can affect the other. For instance, eating more might mean a kid needs more insulin. And exercising might create the need for an extra snack. Again, a grown-up can help you learn how to juggle those three activities so you keep feeling good.
Some things that can make low blood sugar levels more likely to happen are:
- skipping meals and snacks
- not eating enough food at a meal or snack
- exercising longer or harder than usual without eating something extra
- getting too much insulin
- not timing the insulin doses properly with meals, snacks, and exercise
- taking a long bath or shower right after an insulin shot
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.
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What Are Clinical Trials For Low Blood Glucose
Clinical trialsand other types of clinical studiesare part of medical research and involve people like you. When you volunteer to take part in a clinical study, you help doctors and researchers learn more about disease and improve health care for people in the future.
Researchers are studying many aspects of low blood glucose levels in diabetes, such as
- how to diagnose and treat low blood glucose among people with diabetes
- medicines that can treat symptoms of low blood glucose in people with hypoglycemia unawareness
- educational approaches to reduce fear of low blood glucose, which can make it harder for you to control your diabetes
What Should I Eat
Eat or drink 30 to 50 grams of carbohydrates every 3 to 4 hours. That will keep your body nourished, stop if from making ketones, and prevent your blood sugar from dropping too low.
If youâre having trouble eating, try bland foods like the ones listed below. Each equals one carbohydrate choice.
- 1/2 cup regular gelatin
- 1/2 cup regular soft drink, like 7-up or Sprite
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Does Everyone Have Symptoms From Hypoglycemia
Some people dont have symptoms or dont notice them. Healthcare providers call that situation hypoglycemia unawareness. People with such a challenge arent aware when they need to do something about their blood sugar. Theyre then more likely to have severe episodes and need medical help. People with hypoglycemia unawareness should check their blood sugar more often.
If You Dont Have Diabetes
Even if you dont have diabetes, its important to eat regularly to prevent hypoglycemia. Ideally, meals and snacks should contain a balance of carbs, protein, and heart-healthy fats to help support healthy blood sugar levels.
You may also want to keep a few healthy snacks on hand in case you start feeling side effects such as hunger, sweating, or shakiness. Fresh fruit, trail mix, and crackers with peanut butter are a few quick and easy snack ideas for low blood sugar levels.
If you regularly experience low blood sugar levels, talk with your doctor to see whether underlying factors could play a role.
Hypoglycemia is a serious condition that can occur when your blood sugar levels drop too low. Although its more common in people with diabetes, it can also be caused by other health conditions.
If left untreated, hypoglycemia can cause serious side effects and long-term health consequences.
However, there are plenty of ways to prevent hypoglycemia, including eating regularly, following a healthy diet, monitoring your blood sugar levels carefully, taking medications as directed by your doctor, and, in some cases, surgery.
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Always Remember ‘if In Doubt Treat’
1. Eat or drink 1 serving of a quick-acting carbohydrate. Each of the following is 1 serving:
- 3 teaspoons of glucose powder in water
- of glucose tablets
- 3 teaspoons of jam or sugar
- a small glass of sugar-sweetened lemonade or cordial
- 6 large jelly beans/5 Mentos.
2. After 10 minutes test your blood glucose again. If it is still less than 4mmol/L, have another serving of quick-acting carbohydrate from the list above.
3. Once your blood glucose is above 4mmol/L, eat some carbohydrate food or if it’s your mealtime, eat your meal.
Can Blood Sugar Go Too Low On Keto
When you restrict carbs, your blood sugar levels go down. And when your blood sugar levels go down, your ketone levels go up.
If your blood sugar dropped to 0 mg/dl, however, you wouldnt be around to learn about blood sugar anymore. You need some glucose in your blood to survive.
Along with too little glucose, you also dont want too many ketones. In fact, if your ketone production were to skyrocket ketoacidosis territory that would spell disaster.
Fortunately, your body has mechanisms to prevent these things from happening:
1) Gluconeogenesis: No matter how many carbs you restrict or how many ketones you produce your blood sugar never drops to 0 mg/dl. Thats because you can create your own glucose usually in the liver through a process called gluconeogenesis.
Gluconeogenesis keeps your blood sugar from dropping to dangerous, hypoglycemic levels during an extended fast or long period of carb restriction.
2) Glycogenolysis: When your blood sugar drops during a fast, carb restriction, or intense exercise your liver and muscle cells release glycogen to restore your blood sugar to normal levels. Glycogenolysis, in other words, helps keep enough glucose in your blood.
3) Inhibition Of Lipolysis: When your blood becomes oversaturated with ketones, this sends the signal to your body: okay, enough ketones, stop breaking apart fat.Without this mechanism, youd keep producing ketones until a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis sets in. .
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What Are The Complications Associated With Hypoglycemia
Its important to manage your hypoglycemia because it can cause long-term health problems. Your body needs glucose to function. Without the right level of glucose, your body will struggle to perform its normal functions. As a result, you may have difficulty thinking clearly and performing even simple tasks.
What Causes Low Blood Sugar
Its normal for blood sugar levels to go up and down throughout the day. Within two hours of starting a meal, the typical blood sugar target for someone with diabetes is less than 180 milligrams per deciliter . Before a meal, the level should be 80 to 130mg/dL. These targets may be different for you based on factors like age and other health conditions you may have.
Sometimes, blood sugar levels can be too low under your target. This is known as hypoglycemia. The American Diabetes Association classifies hypoglycemia into three different categories:
- Level 1: Your blood sugar is less than 70mg/dL but at least 54mg/dL. Negative effects may be starting.
- Level 2: Your blood sugar is less than 54mg/dL. Immediate action is needed to reverse the low levels and their effects on your function.
- Level 3: Your mental and/or physical functioning has changed so severely that another person needs to aid in your recovery.
People with diabetes who are treated with insulin or certain diabetes medications, such as oral medications that increase insulin secretion, are at highest risk for low blood sugar. In fact, a large global study of people with diabetes who take insulin found that 83% of people with type 1 diabetes and 46.5% of those with type 2 diabetes reported a low blood sugar event at least once over a four-week period.
It is rarer for people without diabetes to have hypoglycemia, but it is possible. People who don’t have diabetes may experience low blood sugar if they have:
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How To Treat Someone Who’s Unconscious Or Very Sleepy
Follow these steps:
They may need to go to hospital if they’re being sick , or their blood sugar level drops again.
Tell your diabetes care team if you ever have a severe hypo that caused you to lose consciousness.