Friday, August 12, 2022
HomeEditor PicksWhat Happens When Blood Sugar Drops

What Happens When Blood Sugar Drops


How Can I Prevent Low Blood Glucose

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN BLOOD SUGAR DROPS | Service Dog Alert (3.31.17)

All people with diabetes:

  • If you experience low blood glucose often, ask your doctor if setting a higher goal for your A1C level may be appropriate.
  • Ask your doctor to look at the test results from your home blood glucose monitor. These results reveal how often you have low blood glucose and when these episodes occur. Your doctor will look for patterns to see if low glucose happens after exercise or at certain times of day, for example.
  • If you’ve had low blood glucose in the past, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet so that others will know that you have diabetes in the event of an emergency.
  • Keep a fast-acting carbohydrate in your bag, desk drawer, car and other places for easy access. Good options include hard candy, fruit juice or glucose paste or tablets, which can be purchased at most pharmacies.
  • Ask your doctor for an emergency glucagon kit. This kit contains a fast- acting medication that can be injected in case of loss of consciousness because of low blood glucose. Keep one kit at home and one at work or school.
  • Monitor your blood glucose regularly so that low levels can be corrected before symptoms progress.

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.


Tips To Prevent Blood Sugar From Dropping At Night

Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar or low blood glucose, occurs when blood glucose levels drop below normalwhich is typically below a level of 70 milligrams per deciliter . With levels more commonly dipping at nighttime, otherwise referred to as nighttime hypoglycemia, this condition affects mostly patients with diabetes.

Recommended Reading: Diabetes Low Blood Pressure

Can You Die Suddenly From Diabetes

There is considerable evidence implicating hypoglycemia as a cause of sudden death in patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Hypoglycemia has been recognized as a potential cause of death, particularly due to cerebral damage, ever since the introduction of insulin therapy.

Also Check: Can You Have Sugar On The Keto Diet

Treating Low Blood Sugar

Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar

If blood sugar is below 70 mg/dL, it should be treated by consuming food or drink containing 15 grams of carbohydrates.


Fruit juice and candies are preferred as they are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. It doesnt take much juice to get to 15 grams of carbohydrates about one-half cup will suffice.

Glucose tablets or glucose gels are a popular treatment for low blood sugar because theyre easy to have on hand in all different types of situations.

They dissolve quickly and provide pure glucose, so the blood sugar rapidly absorbs them to raise blood sugar. They are available over the counter without a prescription, so this is a convenient option for most people.

For cases of severe hypoglycemia, you can use a glucagon injection. Like insulin, glucagon is a hormone the pancreas produces. However, glucagon has the opposite effect as insulin as it stimulates the breakdown of liver glycogen stores into glucose, which raises blood sugar.

Medical professionals must prescribe glucagon injections. Theyre especially helpful to use when hypoglycemia is severe, or the person is too unresponsive to take in food or drink to treat the low blood sugar.


* An unresponsive person should always receive emergency medical treatment.*

Recommended Reading: Why Does Metformin Cause Gas

What Are The Treatments For Hypoglycemia

Make an appointment with an endocrinologist if you feel like youre having episodes of hypoglycemia, even if youre not diabetic. Theyll talk you through treatment strategies, including:

  • Adjusting your medications. You may need to change how often you take insulin or other medications, which medications youre on, how much you take, and when you take them.
  • Working with a registered dietitian on a personalized meal plan that stabilizes blood sugar levels. Theres no one-size-fits-all hypoglycemia diet, but a nutritionist can help you figure out a consistent meal plan tailored to you, and teach you how to count carbohydrate grams to go along with your health and routine.
  • Increasing and improving self-monitoring of your blood glucose levels. Knowing your blood glucose level throughout the daywhen you get up, before meals, and after meals etc.can help you keep it from getting too low.
  • Limiting consumption of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol interferes with the way your body metabolizes glucose. If youâre prone to hypoglycemia, consider decreasing how much alcohol you consume.
  • Glucose tablets . Make sure you always have glucose tablets on hand, whether at home, school, the office, or the gym. After taking the tablet, check your blood sugar. If its still low, take another tablet. If that doesnt help, check with your doctor.

How The Body Controls Blood Sugar

The bloodstream carries glucose-a type of sugar produced from the digestion of carbohydrates and other foods-to provide energy to cells throughout the body. Unused glucose is stored mainly in the liver as glycogen. Insulin, glucagon, and other hormone levels rise and fall to keep blood sugar in a normal range. Too little or too much of these hormones can cause blood sugar levels to fall too low or rise too high . Normally, blood glucose levels increase after you eat a meal. When blood sugar rises, cells in the pancreas release insulin, causing the body to absorb glucose from the blood and lowering the blood sugar level to normal. When blood sugar drops too low, the level of insulin declines and other cells in the pancreas release glucagon, which causes the liver to turn stored glycogen back into glucose and release it into the blood. This brings blood sugar levels back up to normal.Continue reading > >

Also Check: Why Eat Sugar After Giving Blood


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.

Preventing A Low Blood Sugar Level

Blood Glucose Drops & Fasting Diet

If you have diabetes, you can reduce your chance of getting a low blood sugar level if you:

  • Check your blood sugar level regularly and be aware of the symptoms of a low blood sugar level so you can treat it quickly.
  • Always carry a sugary snack or drink with you, such as glucose tablets, a carton of fruit juice or some sweets. If you have a glucagon injection kit, always keep it with you.
  • Do not skip meals.
  • Be careful when drinking alcohol. Do not drink large amounts, check your blood sugar level regularly, and eat a carbohydrate snack afterwards.
  • Be careful when exercising eating a carbohydrate snack before exercise can help to reduce the risk of a hypo. If you take some types of diabetes medicine, your doctor may recommend you take a lower dose before or after doing intense exercise.
  • Have a carbohydrate snack, such as toast, if your blood sugar level drops too low while youâre asleep

If you keep getting a low blood sugar level, talk to your diabetes care team about things you can do to help prevent it.

Also Check: Is 130 Blood Sugar High


Don’t Miss: Glipizide Metformin Side Effects

Signs And Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar

Each person’s reaction to low blood sugar is different. Learn your own signs and symptoms of when your blood sugar is low. Taking time to write these symptoms down may help you learn your own symptoms of when your blood sugar is low. From milder, more common indicators to most severe, signs and symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • Feeling shaky
  • Color draining from the skin
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Feeling weak or having no energy
  • Blurred/impaired vision
  • Tingling or numbness in the lips, tongue or cheeks
  • Headaches
  • Nightmares or crying out during sleep
  • Seizures

The only sure way to know whether you are experiencing low blood sugar is to check your blood sugar, if possible. If you are experiencing symptoms and you are unable to check your blood sugar for any reason, treat the hypoglycemia.

A low blood sugar level triggers the release of epinephrine , the fight-or-flight hormone. Epinephrine is what can cause the symptoms of hypoglycemia such as thumping heart, sweating, tingling and anxiety.

If the blood sugar level continues to drop, the brain does not get enough glucose and stops functioning as it should. This can lead to blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, confused thinking, slurred speech, numbness, and drowsiness. If blood sugar stays low for too long, starving the brain of glucose, it may lead to seizures, coma and very rarely death.


Preventing Low Blood Sugar

Preventing low blood sugar is better than having to treat it. Always have a source of fast-acting sugar with you.

  • When you exercise, check your blood sugar levels. Make sure you have snacks with you.
  • Talk to your provider about reducing insulin doses on days that you exercise.
  • Ask your provider if you need a bedtime snack to prevent low blood sugar overnight. Protein snacks may be best.

DO NOT drink alcohol without eating food. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day and men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day. Family and friends should know how to help. They should know:

  • The symptoms of low blood sugar and how to tell if you have them.
  • How much and what kind of food they should give you.
  • When to call for emergency help.
  • How to inject glucagon, a hormone that increases your blood sugar. Your provider will tell you when to use this medicine.

If you have diabetes, always wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace. This helps emergency medical workers know you have diabetes.

Recommended Reading: Can You Get A Tattoo If Your Diabetic

Tips For Keeping Blood Sugar Steady

The best way to address your personal concerns and needs is to discuss your diet, medication, and lifestyle with your healthcare team. They can diagnose any underlying conditions, adjust or change your medications, and advise you on the best ways to prevent hypoglycemia.


Tips that apply across the board to keep blood sugar stable include:

  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Planning meals
  • Getting adequate sleep

People with diabetes may face more challenges when managing blood sugar levels, but it is possible to stay healthy.

How To Treat A Low Blood Sugar Level Yourself

What Really Happens To Your Body When Your Blood Sugar Drops

Follow these steps if your blood sugar level is less than 3.5mmol/L or you have hypo symptoms:

  • Have a sugary drink or snack like a small glass of fizzy drink or fruit juice, 4 to 5 jelly babies, 3 to 6 glucose tablets or 1 to 2 tubes of glucose gel.
  • Test your blood sugar after 10 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.


    Recommended Reading: Side Effects Of Metformin Xr 500mg

    What Causes A Drop In Blood Sugar Levels

    Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose to enter the cells where it is used for energy. The pancreas releases insulin in response to high blood sugar levels. When glucose enters the cell, it leaves the bloodstream, causing a blood sugar drop.

    There are several potential causes of low blood glucose levels, which well discuss below.

    How Is Hypoglycemia Treated In A Child

    Treatment will depend on your childs symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

    For children with diabetes, the goal of treatment is to maintain a safe blood glucose level. This is done by:


    • Testing blood glucose often

    • Learning to recognize symptoms

    • Treating the condition quickly

    To treat low blood glucose quickly, your child should eat or drink something with sugar such as:

    • Orange juice

    • Cake icing

    • A hard candy

    Don’t use carbohydrate foods high in protein such as milk or nuts. They may increase the insulin response to dietary carbohydrates.

    Blood glucose levels should be checked every 15 to 20 minutes until they are above 100 dg/dL.

    If hypoglycemia is severe, your child may need a glucagon injection. Talk with your childs healthcare team about this treatment.

    Read Also: Is Dextrose Bad For Diabetics


    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.

    When You Have Low Blood Sugar

    Exercise Drops Blood Sugar & Insulin Fast, Primes Fat Burning

    First, eat or drink 15 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate, such as:

    • Three to four glucose tablets
    • One tube of glucose gel
    • Four to six pieces of hard candy
    • 1/2 cup fruit juice
    • 1 cup skim milk
    • 1/2 cup soft drink
    • 1 tablespoon honey

    Fifteen minutes after you’ve eaten a food with sugar in it, check your blood sugar again. If your blood sugar is still less than 70 mg/dL, eat another serving of one of the foods listed above. Repeat these steps until your sugar becomes normal.

    Also Check: Metformin Overdose Symptoms

    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.

    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

    Read Also: Metformin Dosage 500 Mg

    What Happens When Blood Sugar Drops Too Fast

    Having too high or low of a level of blood sugar or blood glucoseblood sugar imbalance avoid excessive drops or increases in your blood sugar.. what can a person do when you dont get warning signs until blood sugar half or fourths-too fast and too much of a my blood sugar drops alot to.my.. Hypoglycemia is the bodys inability to properly regulate blood sugar levels, causing the level of sugar in the blood to be too low or to fall too rapidly. blood sugar, in the form of glucose, is the basic fuel for all brain operation and physical activity, including muscular.. Another way to consider normal and abnormal blood sugar levels is to look at a blood test blood sugar levels from rising too the drop in blood sugar. heres what happens in your body when you assault it with a coke: within the first 10 minutes, 10 teaspoons of sugar hit within 20 minutes, your blood sugar..

    Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, can be a dangerous condition. low blood sugar can happen in people with diabetes who take medications that increase insulin levels in the body.. taking.

    RELATED ARTICLES

    Popular Articles