Low blood sugar is most common in people who use insulin or take certain tablets to reduce high blood sugar. This is because things like unplanned physical activity, eating meals later than usual, or drinking too much alcohol can mean that you need less insulin than you thought, causing your blood sugar to drop very low.
Signs that your blood sugar is too low may include:
Feeling incredibly hungry
Shivering, feeling weak in the knees
Feeling restless, nervous or anxious
Difficulty concentrating, confusion
The signs of hypoglycemia not only depend on the blood sugar level, but also vary from person to person. Mild hypoglycemia does not usually have any harmful effects. But it is important to react quickly and eat or drink a fast acting carbohydrate(juice and jelly sweets).
How is Hypoglycemia Diagnosed?
Hypoglycemia is detected by measuring blood sugar levels with a glucose meter. Any blood glucose level below 4.0 mmol/L(72.0 mg/dl) indicates that the individual has hypoglycemia. Urine tests do not detect hypoglycemia.
If taking a blood test is not possible or would take too much time, it may be better to treat the hypo straight away.
How do I Treat Hypoglycemia?
If an individual is experiencing any of the above symptoms, his or her blood glucose level should be checked immediately.
If their glucose meter is not available, their symptoms should be treated anyway. It is better to be safe.
STAGE ONE LESS THAN 3.3 mmol/l(59.4 mg/dl)
If your blood sugar level drops to less than 3.3 mmol/l(59.4 mg/dl) you should take four medium sized jelly sweets and one small cup of juice(orange or apple).Also take two plain digestive biscuits or two plain hobnob biscuits.Wait two minutes and test again.
STAGE ONE GREATER THAN 3.3 mmol/l(59.4mg/dl)
If your blood sugar level is greater than 3.3mmol/l(59.4mg/dl) you should take four medium sized jelly sweets and two plain digestive biscuits or two plain hobnob biscuits.Wait two minutes and test again.
Then follow STAGE TWO.
If you are still low take a small half cup of juice(orange or apple)and one digestive biscuit or one hobnob biscuit.
Then follow STAGE THREE.
Wait ten minutes and test your blood sugar levels again and if they are above 7.0 mg/ml take two units of fast acting insulin(For example Novorapid).Monitor your blood sugar levels as normal after that.
Do symptoms always occur before Hypoglycemia?
Most people experience some warnings before the onset of hypoglycemia. However, some diabetics may experience little or no warning before the onset of sudden or severe hypoglycemia.
I was working one evening about a week ago on this diabetes site when my husband Brendan asked me to go for a walk with himself and Hachi our Saint Weiler!
I went off in a rush and forgot my glucometer,insulin pen and jelly sweets!
This has happened very rarely especially now I am more mature and have gotten a lot more compliant about my Type1 diabetes!
We were only going on a short walk anyway and my husband said that we should be alright as we had just had our dinner half an hour ago but I wasnt so sure so I should have turned back straight away but I didnt!
We continued for another five minutes then turned back as I had a cut on one of my feet because I was wearing ballet pumps that werent great for going on long walks!
This was fortunate because when I got home and tested my blood glucose level I was hypoglycemic!
I was feeling tired but I didnt realise it was because of a low blood sugar level!
I was very lucky because it could have been a lot worse and it was a very dangerous thing to do wasnt it?
Has anything like this ever happened to you?
If so can you leave a comment below or send me an email as this is very important and could help other diabetics!
It is very important that people help each other dont you think especially when you have a chronic illness like Type 1 diabetes?
A condition in which a person with diabetes does not experience the usual early warning symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Hypoglycemia unawareness can be dangerous to both the person experiencing it and those around him. Because he/she doesn’t realize that his blood sugar is low, someone with this condition may not know that he/she is not thinking clearly or that he/she shouldn’t drive.
If his/her hypoglycemia goes untreated, he/she can lose consciousness, and his/her blood glucose level will continue to fall.
Avoiding Hypoglycemia Unawareness
Strategies for avoiding hypoglycemia when you have hypoglycemia unawareness or don’t experience the warning symptoms include:
Aim for a higher blood glucose target
Try to more accurately count carbohydrates
Avoid overcorrection or stacking of insulin doses
Test your blood glucose and adjust your insulin dose more frequently
Consider blood glucose awareness training education programs to help you learn to identify new symptoms and improve recognition
Consider a personal continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that sounds an alarm when your glucose gets too low
Consider a service dog that can recognize low blood glucose
Glucagon for Emergencies
Glucagon is the treatment of choice if someone with diabetes is unconscious or unable to swallow.
Ask your health care provider for a prescription for Glucagon or GlucaGen and for instructions on how to use it. Instruct your family members or friends on how to use this in an emergency and on how to access the emergency response team.
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