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What Does It Mean If You Have Low Blood Sugar


Symptoms Of Mild Low Blood Sugar

WHAT IS LOW BLOOD SUGAR LEVEL?LOW BLOOD SUGAR EXPLAINED

You may have these symptoms when your blood sugar has dropped below 4.0 millimoles per litre . When you have had diabetes for many years, you may not always develop symptoms of mild low blood sugar.

Some young children with diabetes cannot recognize symptoms of low blood sugar. Others can, but not every time. To be safe, the parents need to do a home blood sugar test whenever they suspect low blood sugar in a child.

Symptoms may include:

  • Sweating . Check for sweating on the back of your neck at your hairline.
  • Nervousness, shakiness, and weakness.
  • Extreme hunger and slight nausea.
  • Dizziness and headache.
  • A fast heartbeat and feeling anxious.

These symptoms may go away shortly after you eat food that contains sugar.


Causes Symptoms Diagnosis Treatments And Support

With Elena Christofides and Jennifer Shine Dyer MD, MPH

When youre diabetic, a severe drop in blood sugar can strike even when youre doing everything right. Glucose is your bodys main source of energy and fuels your brain, so its critical to recognize the early signs of an episode before it becomes severe enough to cause you to pass out or worse. Were here to empower you with clear answers to all your pressing Qs.

Definition | Causes | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatments | Complications | Fast Facts | Support

Low Blood Sugar Risks With Insulin And Sulfonylureas

There are different types of drugs used to manage diabetes. They are put into different classes depending on how they work.

  • Those who manage their blood sugar with diet and exercise don’t have to worry much. The risk of hypoglycemia is the same as non-diabetics.
  • Reassuringly, those who only take drugs that limit the amount of sugar released from the liver and slow down the absorption of carbohydrates in the intestines , also have a very low risk.
  • Those using insulinotropic agents , which stimulate or affect the production of insulin, need to be especially careful, as does anyone using insulin.
  • Shockingly, while insulin-dependent people with diabetes experience many more low blood sugars, it is the patient group using sulfonylureas who have more severe low blood sugars requiring emergency assistance. That may ultimately be because those using insulin understand the risks for lows and are often better prepared for them.

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How Do I Treat Low Blood Glucose

If you begin to feel one or more symptoms of low blood glucose, check your blood glucose level. If your blood glucose level is below your target or less than 70 mg/dL, follow these steps

  • Eat or drink 15 to 20 grams of glucose or carbohydrates right away. Examples include
  • four glucose tablets or one tube of glucose gel.
  • 1/2 cup of fruit juicenot low-calorie or reduced-sugar juice. If you have kidney disease, dont drink orange juice because it has a lot of potassium. Apple, grape, or cranberry juice are good options.
  • 1/2 can of sodanot low-calorie or reduced-sugar soda.
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar, honey, or corn syrup.
  • Wait 15 minutes and check your blood glucose level again. If your glucose level is still low, eat or drink another 15 to 20 grams of glucose or carbohydrates.
  • Check your blood glucose level again after another 15 minutes. Repeat these steps until your glucose level is back to your target range.
  • If your next meal is more than 1 hour away, have a snack to keep your blood glucose level within a range that is healthy for you. Try crackers or a piece of fruit.
  • Hypoglycemia Tests And Diagnosis

    Low Blood Sugar

    To diagnose nondiabetic hypoglycemia, your doctor will do a physical exam and ask questions about any medicines you take. Theyâll want to know all about your health and any history of diseases or stomach surgery.

    Theyâll check your blood glucose level, especially when you are having symptoms. Theyâll also check to see if you feel better when your sugar goes back to a normal level.

    If your doctor suspects hypoglycemia, you may have to fast until you start to have symptoms. Theyâll test your blood glucose level at different times throughout the fast.

    To check for reactive hypoglycemia, you may have to take a test called a mixed-meal tolerance test . For this, you take a special drink that raises your blood glucose. The doctor will check your blood glucose levels over the next few hours.


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    Examples Of Appropriate Snacks May Be:

    • 6 saltine crackers
    • 1 slice toast and 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 cup milk

    The food eaten for a reaction need not be subtracted from a meal plan.

    Obtain a blood sugar when symptoms occur if you are able. If symptoms are severe, treat the reaction first and then obtain a blood sugar. Do not drive nor operate equipment if you feel your blood sugar is low.

    If your blood sugar drops low enough for you to become unconscious, you must be taken to the hospital and/or treated with glucagon.

    Glucagon is a hormone that causes the blood sugar to rise. It can only be given by injection. It is used to treat a low blood sugar if a person becomes semi-conscious or unconscious due to a severe low blood sugar. Please ask your nurse for instruction on glucagon. Your doctor will need to write a prescription for glucagon so you can have it available at home.


    What Is The Outlook For People With Hypoglycemia

    Hypoglycemia can be managed when you and your healthcare provider understand what causes your blood sugar to go down. Give your healthcare provider as much information as possible about any hypoglycemic episodes. Fixing the problem may be as simple as changing the times you take medication, eat and exercise. Minor changes to the types of food you eat may also help.

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    Signs Of Hypoglycemic Unawareness

    Some people have no symptoms of low blood sugar. The only symptom you may have is confusion. Or you may become unconscious before anyone realizes you have low blood sugar.

    You may have hypoglycemic unawareness if you:

    • Cannot tell by your symptoms that your blood sugar is low.
    • Have low blood sugar several times a week.
    • Have type 1 diabetes, or have had type 2 diabetes for a long time.

    If you have hypoglycemic unawareness, test your blood sugar often, especially before activities like driving a car. Keep some glucose or sucrose tablets or solution or quick-sugar foods with you. If you take insulin, carry a glucagon emergency kit. You can also give friends and family instructions to treat low blood sugar.


    What Causes A Low Blood Sugar Level

    4 Clues You Have Non Diabetic Hypoglycemia, Nutritionist

    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.

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    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.


    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.

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    Does Everyone Have Symptoms From Hypoglycemia

    Some people dont have symptoms or dont notice them. Healthcare providers call that situation hypoglycemia unawareness. People with such a challenge arent aware when they need to do something about their blood sugar. Theyre then more likely to have severe episodes and need medical help. People with hypoglycemia unawareness should check their blood sugar more often.

    Your Diabetes Devices And Hypoglycemia

    WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE LOW BLOOD SUGAR ...

    Several insulin pumps are now available that make managing blood sugar levels easier, particularly when connected to a glucose meter or a CGM.

    Some of the most important advantages of CGM devices are the improved insulin control and the ability to detect trends and lows early. With improved technology, it is now possible for parents to track blood sugar trends in their kids even when they are hundreds of miles apart .


    In addition, automated insulin delivery systems, also known an artificial pancreas or a hybrid closed-loop system, will automatically adjust insulin to match your bodys need to help you spend more time in your target range.

    Resources that provide people with T1D and their families with more detailed information about pumps and CGM devices are available through JDRF here. For people looking for a deeper understanding of technology that helps people with T1D better manage their blood sugar, JDRF resources are available here.

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    How To Treat Someone Who’s Unconscious Or Very Sleepy

    Follow these steps:

  • Put the person in the recovery position and do not put anything in their mouth so they do not choke.
  • If an injection of glucagon is available and you know how to use it, give it to them immediately.
  • If they wake up within 10 minutes of getting the injection and feel better, move on to step 5. If they do not improve within 10 minutes, call 999 for an ambulance.
  • If they’re fully awake and able to eat and drink safely, give them a carbohydrate snack.
  • They may need to go to hospital if they’re being sick , or their blood sugar level drops again.


    Tell your diabetes care team if you ever have a severe hypo that caused you to lose consciousness.

    Low Blood Sugar: A Common Cause Of Hormone Imbalance

    Last updated on By Jing J.

    Blood sugar imbalance is a fairly common, but often overlooked, cause of hormonal imbalance and menstrual problems among women.

    Did you know that blood sugar imbalance could be the underlying cause of various unpleasant symptoms you experience throughout your menstrual cycle?

    And you dont have to be diabetic or pre-diabetic with an elevated blood sugar level to be affected either.


    In fact, low blood sugar is a fairly common, but often overlooked, cause of hormonal imbalance among women.

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    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.

    What Complications Can Be Caused By Hypoglycemia

    What Does Alcohol Do to Your Blood Sugar?

    Passing out from low blood sugar because you have not recognized the early signs and symptoms is called hypoglycemia unawareness, and can be quite dangerous depending on where you are, explains Dr. Klonoff. As doctors are required to report such incidents to the Department of Motor Vehicles, it can also mean a suspended drivers license.

    If this is something youre worried about, Wearing a continuous glucose monitor with an alarm for hypoglycemia can alert a person who is prone to developing low blood sugar levels that their blood glucose concentration is becoming dangerously low, so appropriate preventive action can be taken before they lose consciousness, explains Dr. Klonoff.


    Read Also: How Many Carbs Should A Diabetic Have In One Day

    Treating Low Blood Sugar

    You are at risk of having a low blood sugar reaction if you:

    • Skip or delay a meal or snack
    • Take too much insulin or eat too few carbohydrates
    • Exercise
    • Drink alcohol, especially without eating carbohydrates

    Check your blood sugar if you have any of these symptoms:

    • Weakness and/or fatigue

    If your blood sugar is less than 70 milligrams per deciliter :

    • Eat 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate
    • Wait 15 minutes and then recheck your blood sugar
    • If your blood sugar is still less than 100 mg/dl, take another 15 grams of carbohydrate and retest your blood sugar in another 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary.

    Important: If you have frequent low blood sugars speak to your doctor. You may need changes in your medication and/or meal plan.

    What Are Target Blood Sugar Levels

    While your target blood sugar levels may be different from another person’s, the ADA tells most adults with diabetes to shoot for a blood glucose level of 80 to 130 milligrams per deciliter before a meal and less than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after a meal.

    Doctors can also measure your average blood sugar levels with an A1C test, which can give you an idea of how high or low your glucose levels have been over the past few months. Most people with diabetes will want to keep their A1C levels to less than 7 percent, according to the ADA.

    Read more:What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels and What Happens If They’re High?

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    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.

    Diabetes: Here’s What To Do When You Have Low Blood Sugar Levels

    How Do I Quickly Bring Down My Blood Glucose (Lower High ...
    • Medication or insulin treatment is used to control spikes in blood glucose levels but at times, people with diabetes may suffer from hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels. Here’s how to tackle the condition.

    People with diabetes take every measure to prevent spikes in their blood glucose levels from medication to right nutrition. When you have diabetes your body either cannot make enough insulin or it is not able to use it effectively .

    Medication or insulin treatment is used to control spikes in blood glucose levels but at times, people with diabetes may suffer from hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels. Diabetics are prone to this condition when they skip meals, drink alcohol without any food or eat meals that have simple sugars. That’s why it is advised for people with diabetes to eat frequent but small meals throughout the day.

    “When your blood sugar goes lower than 60 mg/dL it is termed as low blood sugar or hypoglycemia,” says Shilpa Joshi – Head Metabolic Nutrition, Fitterfly.

    The symptoms of low blood sugar are confusion, headaches, feeling shaky, dizziness, hunger, irritability, pounding heart, pale skin, sweating, weakness etc. One may also pass out, have seizure or slip into coma if low blood is not addressed on time.

    Here are other things that you can try:

    * Eat 15 gm of fast-acting carbohydrate such as 4 glucose tablets or 1/2 cup fruit juice

    * ORS solution mixed in water.

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    Common Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar

    When theres an insufficient supply of sugar to our brain and various parts of the body, were likely to feel less than optimal. Here are some common symptoms of low blood sugar:

    • Sugar cravings
    • Constant worrying, nervousness, anxiety, depression
    • Headache, blurred vision, fainting, dizziness, drowsiness
    • Forgetfulness, poor concentration, confusion, indecisiveness
    • Digestive problems
    • Heart palpitation, rapid pulse, tremor, cold sweats
    • Muscle pain, numbness, twitching, cramps, poor coordination
    • PMS irritability, anger, crying spells or mood swings
    • Menstrual pain, irregular periods, heavy bleeding or amenorrhea
    • Low sex drive, infertility

    See below a graphic showing the effects of low blood sugar on the body and mind .

    The Effects Of Low Blood Sugar On Your Body

    Every cell in your body needs energy to function. The main source of energy might come as a surprise: Its sugar, also known as glucose. Blood sugar is essential to proper brain, heart, and digestive function. It even helps keep your skin and vision healthy.

    When your blood sugar levels fall below the normal range, its called hypoglycemia. There are many identifiable symptoms of low blood sugar, but the only way to know if you have low blood sugar is by taking a blood glucose test.

    Learn more about the symptoms of low blood sugar, as well as the long-term effects on the body.

    most common reasons for low blood sugar are some medications used to treat diabetes, such as insulin.

    In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas can no longer produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas doesnt make enough insulin, or your body cant use it properly. Too much insulin or oral diabetic medication can lower the blood sugar level, leading to hypoglycemia.

    However, contrary to popular belief, low blood sugar isnt exclusive to diabetes, though it is rare. It can also happen if your body makes more insulin than it should.

    Another possible cause of low blood sugar is drinking too much alcohol, especially over long periods of time. This can interfere with the livers ability to create a buildup of glucose and then release it into your bloodstream when you need it.

    Other causes include:

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