Hypoglycemia is a condition that occurs when blood sugar levels drop below the healthy range. It is common in diabetes patients. The leading causes of Hypoglycemia include skipping meals, fasting, extensive exercise, and taking too many medications. It is usually called low blood sugar.
How do you identify hypoglycemia? Below is the list of symptoms of low blood sugar:
- Pale appearance
- Fatigue or weakness
- Trouble concentrating
- Numbness on some body parts
- Irregular heartbeat
Without immediate treatment, hypoglycemia can get worse. If this occurs, severe symptoms can happen. These symptoms can include episodes of seizures, confusion, extreme tiredness, slurred speech, and blurry vision.
What to do when blood sugar is low?
Your blood sugar levels can change daily, especially if you have diabetes. However, hypoglycemia develops when they fall just under 70 mg/dL. At this point, certain measures need to execute.
The ADA (American Diabetes Association) recommends the 15-15 rule to manage hypoglycemia with the following steps. :
- Eat 15 grams of fast-acting carbs to increase your blood sugar levels. Some examples of food you can consume are hard candies, a tablespoon of honey or sugar, one dose of glucose gel, and 4 ounces of soda.
- After eating or drinking any of the mentioned foods, wait for 15 minutes, then check your blood sugar again. This is how the 15-15 rule works.
- Repeat step one if your blood sugar level is still below 70 mg/dL. Take another 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates.
- Wait for another 15 minutes, then check your blood sugar. You need to repeat steps 1 and 2 until you reach the healthy range for your blood sugar levels.
An injectable glucagon is used only when your blood sugar levels are severely low. It is administered when your levels are specifically under 55 mg/dL. This condition is categories as severe hypoglycemia. It may be challenging for you to administer this injectable by yourself because of the accompanying symptoms. Therefore, it is better to have someone to help you. It is also important to note that the 15-15 rule will not apply to a severe hypoglycemia.
A glucagon kit is prescribed together with diabetes medication. However, this is only used for emergency purposes. You must teach your family how to use this device in case of a severe hypoglycemia. Talk with your healthcare professional if you need a kit, especially if you experience frequent hypoglycemic episodes.
How to prevent low blood sugar?
For diabetes patients, it can be difficult to predict an episode of hypoglycemia. However, preventing this condition is not impossible, if you follow these basic thumb rules.
- Follow your diabetes prescription.
- Stick to your doctor’s instructions concerning your diet and regular exercise.
- Remember to check your blood sugar regularly. You can opt for CGMs (continuous glucose monitors) or traditional blood glucose meters.
- Adjust your diabetes management plan if it doesn’t work initially. It includes the type of food you eat, the types of physical activities, and even your body’s tolerance to a diabetes drug.
- Keep some sweets snacks handy all the time to respond to an unexpected hypoglycemic attack.
- Visit your doctor frequently.