Get A Boost From Refined Grains
White bread, cooked white pasta and rice, pancakes, soda crackers and breakfast cereals made with refined grains can quickly raise your blood sugar levels. Refined grain products typically raise your blood sugar levels faster than their whole grain counterparts because they are lower in dietary fiber, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Rice cakes, hard pretzels, cornflakes and bagels are convenient choices to carry with you in case you begin experiencing symptoms of low blood sugar.
What Is Blood Sugar
Blood sugar, also called blood glucose, is sugar thats carried to the cells through the bloodstream. Blood sugar generally refers to the concentration of sugar in your blood at a specific time.
We get sugar from the foods we eat, which is normal, and its the bodys job to regulate blood sugar levels, so they dont go too high or low. When a person has balanced blood sugar, its called homeostasis.
Throughout the day, its not uncommon for blood sugar levels to go up and down based on when you eat and how your body releases a hormone called insulin. If youve just eaten, your blood sugar levels will go up, and then theyll settle back down. If you have diabetes, however, your blood sugar levels may have to be specially managed.
If your blood sugar is always high, you have hyperglycemia, which can happen in people who dont have a good handle on their diabetes. If your blood sugar is below normal, its called hypoglycemia, and this can happen in diabetics if they accidentally use too much of their medication.
So, what role does alcohol play in all of this and how does alcohol affect blood sugar?
How To Avoid Low Blood Sugar
Here are some tips for avoiding low blood sugar:
- Eat regular meals and a balanced diet.
- Carry healthy snacks.
- Learn how to use an at-home glucose-testing device, or ask your healthcare provider for advice.
- Keep a food diary, which can help you identify your triggers and modify your diet accordingly.
Sometimes, low blood sugar occurs even when you try to prevent it. Therefore, it’s a good idea to carry glucose tablets or other fast-acting carbohydrates, such as half a banana or a couple tablespoons of raisins.
The 1515 rule can help you raise your blood sugar slowly. It involves eating 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates and checking your blood sugar levels after 15 minutes. If your blood sugar is not responding to the carbohydrates within 15 minutes, repeat the steps until your blood sugar is in your target range. It may be necessary to call your doctor or seek emergency medical help right away if you can’t get your blood sugar under control.
Preventing low blood sugar is an important part of preventing hypertension, but it is not the only way. Talk to your healthcare provider about unique risk factors that may impact how you approach both blood sugar and blood pressure.
Alcohol And Blood Sugar When You Have Diabetes
The livers functionality is an important part of understanding how alcohol affects blood sugar. Your liver is a key component when it comes to regulating your blood sugar levels throughout the day. When you drink, it impacts the liver and, more specifically, its ability to release glucose into your bloodstream as its supposed to. Alcohol impairs liver function and can keep your liver from releasing enough glycogen to keep your blood glucose levels from going too low. So, if you have diabetes, drink alcohol and take insulin as a medicine, you may experience hypoglycemia.
With alcohol and blood sugar, blood sugar can increase, then decrease to a dangerous point. This occurs because alcohol is high in sugar, causing an initial spike. Your body releases insulin to bring this high sugar level down and inhibits the release of more sugar from the liver. This causes your blood sugar to initially spike, then to decrease. This can be especially dangerous if you are using insulin or other diabetes medications because it can lead to hypoglycemia.
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 Do If My Blood Sugar Is Low
A hypo is usually defined as a blood glucose below 4 mmol/L. A useful way to remember it is Five, dont drive four is the floor. In other words, if your blood glucose is below 5 mmol/L, you shouldnt drive. If its below 4 or you have symptoms of a hypo:
- Stop what youre doing .
- Check your blood glucose if you havent already.
- Immediately eat some glucose tablets or sugary sweets or drink fruit juice or a sugary drink the standard recommended amount is 15-20 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate.
- Warn anyone youre with about whats happening, so they can help if your symptoms get worse.
- Relax for 15 minutes or so while your blood glucose rises.
- Check your blood glucose again. Dont drive until at least 45 minutes after it has risen above 5 mmol/L.
- You may also need to eat another snack, or a meal if its due your medical team can advise.
Some More Insights About Low Blood Sugar
Be aware that a hypo can also occur when you are sleeping: you might wake up with some of the symptoms mentioned above, such as confusion, sweating, or fatigue. Do you want to get more insights about this, then take a look at our article about diabetes and sleep.
Once you have become skilled in learning to recognize the early warning signs that you experience personally, you are able to prevent a hypoglycemic attack with a rapid treatment yourself. In this way you can avoid having to get a treatment from a medical professional and have the power to control your diabetes.
We understand that this however, can be difficult at times. Keeping a close eye on your blood glucose levels and planning ahead can be tiring and take up quite a lot of time. Therefore, Hedia can help remind you to keep track of your different readings, such as active insulin on board, blood sugar level and more. Try our diabetes tracker and let go of some of the work and thoughts.
When you do have a low blood sugar level, or if Hedia can see that you have too much insulin on board Hedia will recommend carb intake to keep your blood sugar level in range. Try it yourself for free at the App Store or !
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Low Blood Sugar Can Increase Blood Pressure
Our body gets its energy to function properly from glucose, which is found in the carbohydrates we take in from the foods we eat. Insulin is responsible for pulling glucose from the bloodstream into cells, where it’s used for energy.
When our blood sugar levels are low, our body tries to keep essential organs working by causing various changes, including an increase in heart rate and peripheral systolic blood pressure . It also lowers central blood pressure .
How Do You Treat Hypoglycemia
Treatment for hypoglycemia involves both the immediate steps needed to raise your blood sugar level in addition with the later treatment or medication dose adjustment to prevent recurrence.
To immediately raise your blood sugar level, Dr. Shah advocates the rule of 15eating 15 grams of carbohydrates and then checking your blood sugar level 15 minutes later. Fast-acting carbohydrates include:
- 4 glucose tablets
- 4 ounces of fruit juices
Keep repeating these steps every 15 minutes until your blood sugar reaches above 70 mg/dL, he explains. Once your level has stabilized, its important to then eat a snack or even a full meal to maintain that balance, Dr. Shah adds.
If your symptoms are more severe and/or a person is unable to swallow, you may need an injection of glucagon, he says.
To prevent episodes of hypoglycemia in the future, Dr. Shah says that treatment may involve the changing of prescribed regimens and dosages or adjusting your meal plans.
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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.
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.
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What If I Have Severe Low Blood Glucose And Cant Treat Myself
Glucagona hormone that raises blood glucose levelsis the best way to treat severely low blood glucose. Available as an injection or a nasal spray, glucagon will quickly raise your blood glucose level. Your doctor can prescribe you a glucagon kit for use in case of an emergency.
If your blood glucose level drops very low, you wont be able to treat it by yourself. Be prepared to address severely low blood glucose by
- talking with your doctor or health care team about when and how to use a glucagon emergency kit. If you have an emergency kit, regularly check the date on the package to make sure it hasnt expired.
- teaching your family, friends, and coworkers when and how to give you glucagon. Tell them to call 911 right away after giving you glucagon or if you dont have a glucagon emergency kit with you.
- wearing a medical alert identification bracelet or pendant. A medical alert ID tells other people that you have diabetes and need care right away. Getting prompt care can help prevent the serious problems that low blood glucose levels can cause.
Overdose Of Diabetes Medication
A common cause of hypoglycaemia is taking too much insulin for your current needs. Insulin is a medication that helps control your blood glucose levels. It’s commonly used to treat type 1 diabetes and is also recommended for some people with type 2 diabetes.
A fall in blood glucose levels can also occur after taking too much oral hypoglycaemia medication, such as sulphonylurea, which causes a release of insulin. This medication is often used to lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
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Educate Your Friends Co
Consider meeting with friends, family members, exercise partners, and co-workers to discuss how they should care for you if your blood sugar drops too low. You can also let them know what symptoms to look out for.
Having a wide-reaching support system can make hypoglycemic episodes a bit less stressful. You can be sure that someone is always looking out for you.
A medical identification bracelet or tag contains information about your condition and your emergency contact information. A medical ID is an accessory, such as a bracelet or necklace, that you wear at all times.
Emergency responders will almost always search for a medical ID in an emergency situation.
You should include the following on your medical ID:
- your name
When To Look For Care
Its necessary that you get immediate medical attention if your blood sugar drops and you have serious symptoms, like seizures or loss of awareness.
If you have diabetes & your blood sugar drops, & the normal quick-fix treatments dont help raise your blood sugar above 70 mg/dL, its likewise important to get treatment as soon as possible. This happens more frequently with taking excessive long-acting insulin or sulfonylurea diabetes pills. Likewise, make sure to get healthcare if you dont have diabetes but have symptoms of hypoglycemia that dont go endlessly or get worse after youve tried at least 15 grams of carbohydrates.
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How To Help Someone With Diabetes And Low Blood Sugar
More than 30 million Americans at least 9.4 percent of the U.S. population have diabetes. Because of this, your odds of knowing or interacting with someone with diabetes are high.
There may come a day when one of those people needs your help.
Here, well prepare you for that day and answer some of the questions you might have about the situation, regardless of whether the person has type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
How can I tell if someone has diabetes?
You cant tell someone is diabetic just by looking at them. Many people have undiagnosed diabetes and very high blood sugar without realizing it themselves.
Some people with diabetes wear medical bracelets identifying their diagnosis.
How can I tell if someone has low blood sugar?
Someone with low blood sugar may have some or all of these symptoms:
- Pale skin
- Anger, anxiety and irritability
If they dont consume something quickly enough to treat the problem, they could have more serious symptoms, including passing out, experiencing mouth or tongue numbness, losing coordination or even experiencing seizures or coma.
If you know someone has diabetes and theyre displaying symptoms of low blood sugar, ask them if theyve checked their blood sugar recently or if they could check it now.
If their blood sugar is low enough, they may not be able to process the question. You can try to get them to eat or drink something to slowly raise it.
What is considered low or high blood sugar?
Low Blood Sugar Levels In Diabetes
People with diabetes can have low blood sugar levels because of the medicines they have to take to manage their diabetes. They may need a hormone called 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 blood sugar level go down. But sometimes it’s a tricky balancing act and blood sugar levels can get too low.
People with diabetes need to keep their blood sugars from getting too highor too low. Keeping blood sugar levels in a healthy range means balancing when and what they eat, and when they exercise with when they take medicines.
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Glucose Tablets: A Quick Fix
If your blood sugar has dropped too low, a quick-acting carbohydrate is needed to bring blood sugar levels back up, says OConnor. Glucose tablets are tailor-made to help. This inexpensive fix for low blood sugar is widely available at pharmacies and large chain stores like Walmart and Target.
Usually, three to four glucose tablets are needed to bring levels back up. We recommend that patients who are prone to hypoglycemia carry glucose tablets with them and put them in several locations in their home and car, says OConnor. Glucose is also sold in gel form in small packets, and as a beverage.
What Causes Low Blood Sugar
If you are not eating enough throughout the day or completely skipping meals and snacks, your blood sugar levels will inevitably drop.
Its also important to fuel yourself properly when youre working out for a longer time or harder than usual to keep your levels from falling.
Insulin can also be a cause of low blood sugar if youre getting too much or not timing the doses of the medication properly with meals, snacks and exercise.
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What Are The Complications Of Low Blood Glucose
Mild-to-moderate low blood glucose can be easily treated. But severely low blood glucose can cause serious complications, including passing out, coma, or death.
Repeated episodes of low blood glucose can lead to
- high blood glucose levels, if worry or fear of low blood glucose keeps you from taking the medicines you need to manage your diabetes8
- hypoglycemia unawareness, a condition in which you dont notice any symptoms of low blood glucose until your blood glucose level has dropped very low
Factors That Can Affect Blood Sugar Levels
If you have prediabetes or diabetes, you may have insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin. This means your body has difficulty regulating blood sugar levels on its own.
Its a delicate balance to maintain, so the following list can help you familiarize yourself with factors that can cause your blood glucose levels to go up or down.
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