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How To Test For Low Blood Sugar


What Are Clinical Trials For Low Blood Glucose

How To Test Blood Sugar Levels

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 My Blood Sugar Levels Be

Your blood sugar level changes depending on what youâve eaten, whether youâve exercised and other factors but we have some general guidelines to determine what levels are healthy.

For generally healthy individuals who havenât eaten for eight hours or more, a normal blood sugar level is between 70-99 mg/dL. When youâve eaten in the past two hours, it should be no higher than 140 mg/dL. To refresh your chemistry knowledge, that unit is milligrams per deciliter and itâs measuring the amount of glucose present in your blood.


Only a medical professional can diagnose diabetes or another issue with your blood sugar, so if youâre concerned about your blood sugar levels, check with a doctor.

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What Is The Future Of Blood Sugar Testing

Even though you can monitor blood sugar level with glucometers and CGMs, the future might provide additional ways to manage your diabetes.

  • Multiple waves: Researchers have been studying and experimenting with new technologies. For example, some adults with type 2 diabetes in Europe have access to a device that can measure blood sugar using ultrasonic, electromagnet, and thermal waves.
  • Radio waves: Other advances on the horizon involve using radio waves to measure blood sugar .
  • Tears: Additionally, some researchers are working on a sensor to monitor blood sugar under the lower eyelid . It works by measuring the sugar level of tear fluid.
  • Contacts and lasers: Other future technologies might possibly include using a smart contact lens to measure blood sugar, as well as laser technology.

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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:


  • Have a sugary drink or snack like a small glass of fizzy drink or fruit juice, a small handful of sweets, 3 or 6 glucose tablets or 1 to 2 tubes of glucose gel.
  • Test your blood sugar after 10 to 15 minutes if it’s improved and you feel better, move on to step 3. If there’s little or no change, treat again with a sugary drink or snack and take another reading after 10 to 15 minutes.
  • You may need to eat your main meal if it’s the right time to have it. Or, have a snack that contains a slow-release carbohydrate, such as a slice of bread or toast, a couple of biscuits, or a glass of cows’ milk.
  • 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.

    When Should I Check My Blood Sugar

    Lowering Blood Sugar Without Medication

    How often you check your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have and if you take any diabetes medicines.

    Typical times to check your blood sugar include:

    • When you first wake up, before you eat or drink anything.
    • Before a meal.
    • Two hours after a meal.
    • At bedtime.

    If you have type 1 diabetes, have type 2 diabetes and take insulin, or often have low blood sugar, your doctor may want you to check your blood sugar more often, such as before and after youre physically active.


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    Getting Tested By Your Doctor

  • 1Know whether your test is fasting or not. A fasting blood test means one that is done after 8 hours or more of not eating.XTrustworthy SourceMedlinePlusCollection of medical information sourced from the US National Library of MedicineGo to source If you are getting your blood sugar tested at your doctor’s office, find out whether you need to fast the night before or not.
  • If you are supposed to fast for your test, do not eat the night before or the morning of your appointment. Drinking water is okay. Most fasting tests are scheduled for first thing in the morning so you don’t have to go hungry all day long.
  • For some types of blood sugar tests, like the A1c test, you dont need to fast. The A1c test is meant to determine your average daily blood sugar level over a period of 2-3 months.
  • 2Expect to have a blood sample taken. If you get your blood sugar tested at your doctor’s office, they will take a blood sample from a vein.XTrustworthy SourceMedlinePlusCollection of medical information sourced from the US National Library of MedicineGo to source Your healthcare provider will clean the area with alcohol, usually the inside of your elbow, and tie a tight band called a tourniquet around the top of your arm. They will use a syringe to take a blood sample, which may feel moderately uncomfortable, like a bee sting. Once the sample is taken, the tourniquet will be removed, and a band aid will be put on the area.
  • Where Can I Find Support

    The Hypoglycemia Support Foundation, established nearly 40 years ago, is a national group that offers many resources, including advocacy. They offer salons so that you can personally connect with people like you who are also dealing with bouts of low blood sugar.

    Occasionally blood sugar crashes are so extreme they require emergency room care for an immediate dextrose IV treatment. If you have diabetes, wear a medical bracelet that does TK thing? What will this bracelet have on it? A number of one of your contacts? Can you answer and smooth out with this line? have a circle of people who serve as close contacts and are aware of your condition and how to help.

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    When To Call 911

    Your friend, relative, or coworker should call 911 for help if:


    • You pass out and no glucagon is available
    • You need a second dose of glucagon
    • You had glucagon, but are still confused
    • Your blood sugar stays too low 20 minutes after treatment or doesnt respond to your usual treatments

    The emergency medical technicians can give you IV sugar . This raises your blood sugar level right away. You might need to stay in the hospital for a few hours.

    NEVER be afraid to call 911 or ask someone to call 911 for you if you are concerned .

    Other things to know about hypoglycemia:

    It takes time for blood sugar to rise after eating, and its important to give your first treatment time to work. Use the table above to guide your treatment and timing instead of eating until you feel better, which will almost always lead to eating too much.

    Hypoglycemia can be common with certain types of exercise. Managing blood sugar during and after physical activity is important and is something that a lot of people with T1D have questions about. JDRF has a number of resources available for people with T1D and their families, many of which can be found here.


    When Blood Sugar Is Too Low

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    Glucose is a sugar that comes from the foods we eat, and it’s also formed and stored inside the body. It’s the main source of energy for the cells of our body, and is carried to each cell through the bloodstream. Our brains depend on glucose to function, even when we’re sleeping.

    The is the amount of glucose in the blood. When these levels drop too low, it’s called hypoglycemia . Very low blood sugar levels can cause serious symptoms that need to be treated right away.

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    What To Do If Your Blood Sugar Levels Are Higher Than Normal

    If your fasting or post-meal blood sugar readings are consistently higher than normal, you may have prediabetes or diabetes. If you suspect you have diabetes or prediabetes, you should see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

    Symptoms of diabetes, beyond elevated blood sugars, may include increased thirst and urination, severe fatigue and excessive hunger. For more details, see our guide to common signs and symptoms of diabetes.


    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 underRed 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/dLRed 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/dLYellow 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.

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    Normal Blood Sugar Levels Chart For Diabetic Adults Age Wise

    Chart of Normal Blood Sugar Levels for Diabetic Adults

    100 to 140 mg/dL

    Healthy blood sugar levels in diabetic adults age wise:

  • In diabetic patients above 20 years of age, a random blood sugar level remains between 100 to 180 mg/dL throughout the day.
  • Fasting glucose levels should be between 70 to 100 mg/dL to avoid diabetic complications.
  • At bedtime blood, sugar levels should be between 100 to140 mg/dL to avoid any diabetic complications.
  • Woman normal blood sugar levels chart indicates the normal blood sugar levels should be between 100 to 140 mg/dL at bedtime. It should be > 70 and < 100mg/dL after fasting.
  • In diabetic pregnant women, the blood sugar levels should be a little tighter, between 70 to 89 mg/dL after fasting. They should regularly monitor the blood sugar levels to avoid delivery-related complications.
  • Summary

    Diabetic adults should maintain a blood sugar level of 70 to130 mg/dL before meals and less than 180 mg/dL after 2 hours of meals. Pregnant women should maintain blood sugar levels of 95-140 mg/dL to avoid complications.


    Why You Should Check Your Blood Sugar

    Sensors and AI spot low blood sugar without needles

    Testing blood glucose can help you manage diabetes by showing you:

    • How well your diabetes treatment plan is working
    • How exercise and food affect your blood sugar levels
    • How things like stress and illness affect your levels
    • How well your diabetes medication is working
    • When your blood sugar levels are too high or too low

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    Talk To Your Doctor Or Nurse

    If you use insulin and your blood sugar is frequently or consistently low, ask your doctor or nurse if you:

    • Are injecting your insulin the right way
    • Need a different type of needle
    • Should change how much insulin you take
    • Should change the kind of insulin you take

    DO NOT make any changes without talking to your doctor or nurse first.

    Sometimes hypoglycemia can be due to taking the wrong medicines. Check your medicines with your pharmacist.


    What Else Can You Do To Control Blood Sugar Levels

    Yes. People with diabetes should wear identification stating they have diabetes and whether they have recurrent low blood sugar. Those at risk for the health condition should be counseled on checking blood sugars before they drive a car, operate heavy machinery, or do anything physically taxing. In addition, it is important to carry a quick-acting glucose source at all times, and keep a source in their car, office, and by their bedside. Efforts should be made to minimize the hypoglycemic effects of drug regimens and to avoid variable surges in exercise, activity, and drinking alcohol.

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    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.

    Nighttime Low Blood Sugars

    How To Treat Low Blood Sugar

    You may experience a low blood sugar night. The low blood sugar might wake you up and your symptoms might be similar to those you have during the day. However, the symptoms may be different. You might have nightmares, sleep poorly, perspire, or feel hot and cold. In the morning you may have a headache, feel nauseated, or feel confused. Notify your doctor if this happens. Check your blood sugar at the time you have the symptoms.

    Treatment for a low blood sugar that occurs at night is the same as described earlier.

    Your doctor may request that you check a 3:00 a.m. blood sugar 1 to 2 times per week in order to detect any low blood sugars during the night.

    Disclaimer: This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information provided is intended to be informative and educational and is not a replacement for professional medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.


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    Prevention Of Low Blood Sugar

    Do not skip or delay meals. If your diet plan includes snacks, make sure to take these.

    Measure insulin dosage carefully and inject it properly. If you cannot see well, a family member or a visiting nurse can prepare your insulin injections for you.

    Take only the prescribed amount of insulin or oral medication for diabetes that your doctor has ordered.

    Keep exercise consistent from day to day. Eat a snack or reduce your insulin prior to unusual exercise.

    If you are taking insulin, notify your doctor if you have low blood sugars four or more times per week or if you have a severe low blood sugar. Severe low blood sugars are those less than 40 mg., those requiring help from another person, or those which cause you to have a convulsion or become unconscious.

    If you are taking oral medication for your diabetes notify your doctor or nurse if blood sugars are running less than 80 mg. or if you have a severe low blood sugar.

    Possible Causes With Diabetes

    Diabetes affects your bodys ability to use insulin. Think of insulin as the key that unlocks your cells, letting glucose in for energy.

    People with diabetes use a variety of treatments to help their bodies use the glucose in their blood. Among these are oral medications that increase insulin production and insulin injections.

    If you take too much of these types of medications, your blood sugar may drop too low. People also sometimes experience low blood sugar when planning to eat a big meal, but then they do not eat enough.

    Skipping meals, eating less than normal, or eating later than normal but taking your medication at your normal time can also lead to low blood sugar levels.

    Unplanned excess physical activity without eating enough can also cause a drop in blood sugar levels.

    Drinking alcohol when youre on these medications can also lead to low blood sugar, especially if it replaces food. When the body is trying to get rid of alcohol it becomes worse at managing blood sugar levels.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia

    Symptoms of hypoglycemia can start quickly, with people experiencing them in different ways. The signs of hypoglycemia are unpleasant. But they provide good warnings that you should take action before blood sugar drops more. The signs include:

    • Shaking or trembling.
    • Tingling or numbness in the face or mouth.

    During a severe hypoglycemic event, a person may:

    • Be unable to eat or drink.
    • Have a seizure or convulsions .
    • Lose consciousness.
    • Slip into a coma or die .

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