What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
Different people may feel low blood sugar levels differently. People with low blood sugar may:
- feel hungry or have “hunger pains” in their stomach
- feel shaky or like they’re trembling
- have a rapid heart rate
- feel sweaty or have cold, clammy skin
- have pale, gray skin color
- have a headache
- have seizures or convulsions
- lose consciousness
If you have diabetes, try to remember how your body reacts when your blood sugar levels are low. It may help you figure out when you’re having a low blood sugar level more quickly the next time.
What Is The A1c Test
The A1C test is a simple blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 2 or 3 months. The test is done at a lab or your doctors office in addition tonot instead ofregular blood sugar testing you do yourself.
A1C testing is part of the ABCs of diabetesimportant steps you can take to prevent or delay health complications down the road:
- A: Get a regular A1C test.
- B: Try to keep your blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg .
- C: Manage your cholesterol levels.
- s: Stop smoking or dont start.
The A1C goal for most adults with diabetes is between 7% and 8%, but your goal may be different depending on your age, other health conditions, medicines youre taking, and other factors. Work with your doctor to establish a personal A1C goal for you.
What Are The Most Effective Foods To Eat To Aid Lower Blood Sugar
It is not just the overall amount of carbohydrates that impact blood sugar levels, however the kind of carb as well as whether it belongs to a meal or on its own. Decreasing blood sugar degrees calls for that less sugar be released right into the body when absorbed. Lowering blood sugar level additionally suggests that there can be less demand for insulin to get rid of excess sugar. Reducing blood glucose degrees can also make a diabetics body extra sensitive to insulin. Decreasing blood sugar level degrees by eating right is key in preventing diabetes, but it will only function when tried alongside other approaches.
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What To Eat When You Have Low Blood Sugar
When your blood sugar dips, it can leave you feeling hungry, shaky, and lightheaded. This can happen to anyone who hasnt eaten in several hours. When blood sugar drops below normal levels, its called hypoglycemia. In people with diabetes, hypoglycemia can be a life-threatening complication of medication, other health problems like infection, or inadequate caloric intake.
You can lower your chances of low blood sugarand treat it when it occurswith some simple steps.
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Low Blood Sugar Chart And Action Plan
Low blood sugar is also called hypoglycemia. The numbers below represent values in the hypoglycemic range and require action to bring blood sugar levels up into a normal range.
|Alert Level and Treatment Plan|
|50 mg/dL or under||Red Flag: Blood sugar is critically low and requires immediate treatment.|
If a person is unable to speak and/or is not alert, treat with glucagon via injection or nasal spray. Call emergency medical response if necessary. Do not place food or drink into the mouth.
If a person is alert and able to speak clearly, treat with 15 grams of rapid-acting carbohydrate such as glucose gel, 4 oz regular soda, or fruit juice. Re-test blood sugar in 15 minutes and repeat as needed to bring blood sugar within range.
|51-70 mg/dL||Red Flag: Blood sugar is below normal levels and requires immediate treatment.|
Treat with 15 grams of rapid-acting carbohydrate and re-test in 15 minutes. Repeat treatment as needed to bring blood sugar within range.
|71-90 mg/dL||Yellow Flag: Blood sugar levels should be watched and treated as needed.|
If youre having symptoms of low blood sugar, treat with 15 grams of rapid-acting carbohydrate and re-test in 15 minutes.
Repeat treatment or follow with a meal. If it is meal time, move forward with eating the meal. People often fall into this range when they are late for a meal or have been especially active.
How Is Hypoglycemia Diagnosed
If you suspect you have low blood sugar, its important to check your blood sugar right away. If you dont have a meter and youre on diabetes medications that increase insulin, talk with your doctor about getting a blood glucose meter.
If you experience low blood sugar often say, a few times a week see your doctor right away to determine why. Your doctor will begin your visit by requesting your medical history, asking questions about your eating habits, and learning more about the symptoms youre experiencing.
If you dont have diabetes but suspect you have hypoglycemia, talk with your doctor about your symptoms. They will perform a physical examination. They will use three criteria, sometimes referred to as Whipples triad, to diagnose low blood sugar. These include:
- Signs and symptoms of low blood sugar. Your doctor may require you to fast, or abstain from drinking and eating for an extended period of time, so they can observe your low blood sugar signs and symptoms.
- Documentation of low blood sugar when your signs and symptoms occur. Your doctor will order a blood test to analyze your blood sugar levels in a laboratory.
- Disappearance of the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar. Your doctor will want to know whether the signs and symptoms go away when your blood sugar levels are raised.
To perform a blood sugar test, you will need to prick your finger with a lancet . Youll put a small sample of blood from this onto a strip inserted into the blood glucose meter.
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Blood Sugar And Insulin Response
When you eat carbohydrates, your blood sugar, or blood glucose level, goes up. When your blood sugar level goes up, it sends signals to your pancreas to release the hormone insulin. Insulin then attaches to the sugar, or glucose, molecules and either carries them into your cells where theyre used for immediate energy or stored in the liver for use later. As insulin carries glucose out of your blood, your blood sugar levels go down. When your blood sugar levels go down, it signals your pancreas to release less insulin.
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 theyre doing, or by a trained healthcare professional.
You should dial 999 to request an ambulance if:
- a glucagon injection kit isnt available
- theres nobody available whos trained to give the injection
- the injection is ineffective after 10 minutes
Never try to put food or drink into the mouth of someone whos unconscious as they could choke.
If youre 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.
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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.
How Can I Prevent Low Blood Sugar
Your best bet is to practice good diabetes management and learn to detect hypoglycemia so you can treat it earlybefore it gets worse.
Monitoring blood sugar, with either a meter or a CGM, is the tried and true method for preventing hypoglycemia. Studies consistently show that the more a person checks blood sugar, the lower his or her risk of hypoglycemia. This is because you can see when blood sugar levels are dropping and can treat it before it gets too low.
If you can, check often!
- Check before and after meals.
- Check before and after exercise .
- Check before bed.
- After intense exercise, also check in the middle of the night.
- Check more if things around you change such as, a new insulin routine, a different work schedule, an increase in physical activity, or travel across time zones.
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Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar
If you have low blood sugar after eating sweets, symptoms usually occur within 2 to 4 hours. Everyones body reacts differently to low blood sugar levels, but some of the most common symptoms include feelings of hunger, anxiety, dizziness/lightheadedness, headache, increased sweating, blurred vision, moodiness and an inability to concentrate. If blood sugar levels get really low, it can cause extreme hunger, personality changes, shaking and mental confusion. If you are diabetic and experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention.
What Drinks And Foods Raise Blood Sugar Fast
- 4 teaspoons of sugar
- 1/2 can of regular soda or juice
Many people like the idea of treating low blood sugar with dietary treats such as cake, cookies, and brownies. However, sugar in the form of complex carbohydrates or sugar combined with fat and protein are much too slowly absorbed to be useful in acute treatment.
Once the acute episode has been treated, a healthy, long-acting carbohydrate to maintain blood sugars in the appropriate range should be consumed. Half a sandwich is a reasonable option.
If the hypoglycemic episode has progressed to the point at which the patient cannot or will not take anything by mouth, more drastic measures will be needed. In many cases, a family member or roommate can be trained in the use of glucagon. Glucagon is a hormone that causes a rapid release of glucose stores from the liver. It is an injection given intramuscularly to an individual who cannot take glucose by mouth. A response is usually seen in minutes and lasts for about 90 minutes. Again, a long-acting source of glucose should thereafter be consumed to maintain blood sugar levels in the safe range. If glucagon is not available and the patient is not able to take anything by mouth, emergency services should be called immediately. An intravenous route of glucose administration should be established as soon as possible.
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What Is Low Blood Glucose
Low blood glucose, also called low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, occurs when the level of glucose in your blood drops below what is healthy for you. For many people with diabetes, this means a blood glucose reading lower than 70 milligrams per deciliter .1 Your number might be different, so check with your doctor or health care team to find out what blood glucose level is low for you.
Can Hypoglycemia Occur Without Diabetes
While hypoglycemia is commonly associated with diabetes mellitus, there are other medications and conditions that cause itbut hypoglycemia without diabetes is quite uncommon, according to Satjit Bhusri, MD, founder of Upper East Side Cardiology in New York City.
Diabetes is defined by excess sugar in the blood, or hyperglycemia. Hypoglycemia is defined by insufficient sugar in the blood.
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How Can I Prevent Hypoglycemia
You may need to change what and when you eat to prevent low blood sugar levels. Follow the meal plan that you and the dietitian have planned. The following guidelines may help you keep your blood sugar levels under control.
- Eat 5 to 6 small meals each day instead of 3 large meals. Eat the same amount of carbohydrate at meals and snacks each day. Most people need about 3 to 4 servings of carbohydrate at meals and 1 to 2 servings for snacks. Do not skip meals. Carbohydrate counting can be used plan your meals. Ask your healthcare provider or dietitian for information about carbohydrate counting.
- Limit refined carbohydrates. Examples are white bread, pastries , regular sodas, syrups, and candy.
- Do not have drinks or foods that contain caffeine. Examples are coffee, tea, and certain types of sodas. Caffeine may cause you to have the same symptoms as hypoglycemia, and may cause you to feel worse.
- Limit or do not drink alcohol. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day. Men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1Â½ ounces of liquor. Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Drink alcohol with meals to avoid hypoglycemia.
- Include protein foods and vegetables in your meals. Some foods that are high in protein include beef, pork, fish, poultry , beans, and nuts. Eat a variety of vegetables with your meals.
Dealing With An Episode
The symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia can be mitigated by taking certain steps to return blood glucose levels to normal:
First, follow the “15-15 Rule,” which involves eating 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates and checking your blood sugar after 15 minutes. If its still below 70 mg/dL, have another serving.
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What Causes A Low Blood Sugar Level
In people with diabetes, the main causes of a low blood sugar level are:
- the effects of medicine especially taking too much insulin, medicines called sulfonylureas , medicines called glinides , or some antiviral medicines to treat hepatitis C
- skipping or delaying a meal
- not eating enough carbohydrate foods in your last meal, such as bread, cereals, pasta, potatoes and fruit
- exercise, especially if it’s intense or unplanned
- drinking alcohol
Sometimes there’s no obvious reason why a low blood sugar level happens.
Very occasionally, it can happen in people who do not have diabetes.
Can Hypoglycemia Without Diabetes Be Cured
Non-diabetic hypoglycemia can be cured. The first step is being appropriately diagnosed. Hypoglycemia in diabetics and non-diabetics can be diagnosed by checking your fasting sugar level in your blood, which can typically be done as a point of care test at any providers office or urgent care walk-in center, Dr. Bhusri says.
Your healthcare provider will do a physical exam, ask you questions about your health history, and may run other blood tests or screenings. These can include asking you to record your symptoms when fasting , or eating a carbohydrate-heavy meal and watching for symptoms in a few hours. In some cases, your healthcare provider may have you complete a mixed-meal tolerance test, in which you consume a certain amount of carbohydrates , then monitor your blood sugar levels. These tests, along with a visit to an endocrinology specialist can help to findand treatthe underlying cause.
In the short term, if you are hypoglycemic you can take steps to bring your blood glucose back to normal with a small serving of a quick sugar food such as fruit juice, honey, soda, milk, or hard candy. In the long-term, you have to cure the condition causing it.
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Easy Ways To Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally
High blood sugar occurs when your body doesnt make enough or effectively use insulin, a hormone that regulates blood glucose and helps it enter your cells for energy.
High blood sugar is associated with diabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 13% of U.S. adults live with diabetes, and 34.5% have prediabetes (
This means close to 50% of all U.S. adults have diabetes or prediabetes.
Here are 15 easy ways to lower blood sugar levels naturally:
An Ounce Of Prevention
As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It is best to follow a diet that will prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping in the afternoon, rather than trying to correct blood sugar levels once they are low. Dr. Alicia Stanton, an expert on women’s health, recommends eating small meals every 2 to 3 hours. These meals should consist of a lean protein, such as chicken, turkey or fish, and a complex carbohydrate, such as vegetables, fruits, quinoa, beans or legumes. Start your day with a high-fiber breakfast, like oatmeal, every day.
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