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What Happens When Your Blood Sugar Is Too Low


Does Everyone Have Symptoms From Hypoglycemia

Low Blood Sugar

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.

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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.

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.

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High Blood Glucose: Hyperglycemia

Hyperglycemia means that you have too much blood glucose. It happens when your blood glucose level is around 200 mg/dL or higher. Hyperglycemia can happen if you miss taking your diabetes medications, eat too much or do not get enough exercise. Sometimes, the medications you take for other problems cause high blood glucose.

Symptoms of hyperglycemia include:

  • Having blurry vision
  • Having to urinate often

If you have these symptoms, check your blood glucose right away. If its too high, follow these steps:

  • Check your blood glucose every four hours. If your level does not go down after two checks or your symptoms get worse, call a member of your diabetes team.
  • Drink water or other sugar-free liquids, such as diet soda or Crystal Light.
  • You may need to take an extra dose of insulin. Your diabetes educator talks with you more about this.

Preventing A Low Blood Sugar Level

Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)  Diabetes Daily

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 you’re 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.


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How Do I Know It’s Low Blood Sugar

To know if you’re suffering from hypoglycemia, you’ll need to begin tracking your glucose levels under the supervision of your doctor. Drugstores and pharmacies carry test strips, as well as glucose meters, which will help. You can even see the effect that different foods have on your body by checking your blood sugar after eating.

When Your Blood Sugar Gets Low

Check your blood sugar whenever you have symptoms of low blood sugar. If your blood sugar is below 70 mg/dL, treat yourself right away.

1. Eat something that has about 15 grams of carbohydrates. Examples are:

  • 3 glucose tablets
  • One half cup of fruit juice or regular, non-diet soda
  • 5 or 6 hard candies
  • 1 tablespoon or 15 mL of sugar, plain or dissolved in water
  • 1 tbsp of honey or syrup

2. Wait about 15 minutes before eating any more. Be careful not to eat too much. This can cause high blood sugar and weight gain.


3. Check your blood sugar again.

4. If you do not feel better in 15 minutes and your blood sugar is still lower than 70 mg/dL , eat another snack with 15 g of carbohydrates.

You may need to eat a snack with carbohydrates and protein if your blood sugar is in a safer range â over 70 mg/dL â and your next meal is more than an hour away.

Ask your provider how to manage this situation. If these steps for raising your blood sugar do not work, call your doctor right away.

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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.

The Effects Of Low Blood Sugar On Your Body

Hypoglycaemia – How to Treat and Prevent Low Blood Sugar

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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Where Can I Find Support For My Hypoglycemia

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 so that emergency personnel or bystanders who call for help are aware of this information. Its also a good idea to have a circle of people who serve as close contacts and are aware of your condition and how to help.

Treating An Episode Of Hypoglycaemia

The immediate treatment for hypoglycaemia is to have some sugary food or drink to end the attack.

For example, this could be:


  • a glass of fruit juice or non-diet soft drink
  • between three and five dextrose tablets
  • a handful of sweets

At first you should avoid fatty foods and drinks, such as chocolate and milk, because they dont usually contain as much sugar and the sugar they do contain may be absorbed more slowly.

After having something sugary, you should have a longer-acting carbohydrate food, such as a few biscuits, a cereal bar, a piece of fruit or a sandwich.

It will usually take around 15 minutes to recover from a mild episode of hypoglycaemia. If you have a blood glucose meter, measure your blood sugar again after 15 to 20 minutes. If its still too low , you should have some more sugary food or a drink before testing your levels again in another 15 to 20 minutes.

When treating someone else with hypoglycaemia, if the above treatment isnt effective, you may be able to help them by applying glucose gel to the inside of their cheeks, and gently massaging the outside of their cheeks.

It may take 10 to 15 minutes before they feel better. This shouldnt be done if the person is drowsy or unconscious because of the risk of choking.


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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 If The 15

Low Blood Sugar (hypoglycemia)

If you dont feel better after three tries, or if your symptoms get worse, call your healthcare provider or 911. Healthcare providers can use a medication called glucagon. They inject it with a needle or squirt it up your nose. Glucagon is also available for home use. Your healthcare provider can prescribe it and teach a family member or friend how to use it in the event of severe hypoglycemia.

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Whats The Link Between Diabetes And Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is most common, by far, in people with diabetes. Treatment for the diseaseoften involves taking medication to increase insulin. Hypoglycemia can develop if things like food, exercise and diabetes medications are out of balance.

Common pitfalls for people with diabetes include:

  • Being more active than usual.
  • Drinking alcohol without eating.
  • Eating late or skipping meals.
  • Not balancing meals by including fat, protein and fiber.
  • Not eating enough carbohydrates.
  • Not timing insulin and carb intake correctly .

Also, if someone with diabetes uses the wrong insulin, takes too much or injects it incorrectly, that can cause hypoglycemia.


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.

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Causes And Risk Factors Of Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia occurs when your blood sugar levels are less than or equal to 70 mg/dL and certain symptoms are present. It can be caused by a number of factors, depending on whether or not you also have diabetes.

Verywell / Theresa Chiechi


Here’s what you need to know about the causes and risk factors of hypoglycemia:

Type 1 Diabetes Low Blood Sugar Symptoms

Putting Off Treating Low Blood Sugars

Type 1 diabetes in an autoimmune disease where a persons pancreas doesnt produce insulina hormone needed to convert food into energy. It affects children and adults, comes on suddenly, and it cannot be prevented or cured. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a common and dangerous occurance with type 1 diabetes. If your blood sugar gets too low it may lead to insulin shock, which is life-threatening if not cared for. Low blood sugar can happen when your body has too little foodor glucoseor when it produces too much insulin. Type 1 diabetes hypoglycemia symptoms So what are the low blood sugar symptoms you should look out for? Its important to realize that the signs of low blood sugar will vary depending on the person. However, people with type 1 diabeteswhether its been diagnosed or notmay experience one or more of the following: -Sweating and shaking -Blurry vision -Poor coordination -Dizziness or feeling lightheaded -Difficulty concentrating -Feeling anxious or irritable -Hunger or nausea -Erratic changes in behavior What to do if you experience low blood glucose symptoms Severely low blood-sugar levels can lead to hypoglycemic seizures, unconsciousness, coma, and death if left untreated. Thats why its important to see a doctor if you think you have low blood sugar so he or she can check your blood-glucose levelslook into whether type 1 diabetes may be a causeand provide the necessary treatment. Your support is more critical than everContinue reading > >

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Why Should You Care About Blood Sugar

Many problems become the result of imbalanced blood sugar levels.

First lets start with sugar itself.

Sugar may seem harmless enough and we may have eaten it our whole lives, but do you know how damaging sugar actually is?

White refined sugar provides no nutritive value. One teaspoon contains 60 calories in carbohydrate form with absolutely no nutrients. These empty calories then displace vital nutrients and have a major impact on energy!

As I wrote about in Confessions of a Sugar Addict, eating high sugar foods is toxic to our bodies and brains. It makes us crave more to the point of addiction. It encourages sleep Chatter and depletes vitamins and minerals which cause stress in the body. This leads to inflammation and weak immunity. Sugar also inactivates B vitamins, causing low energy and moodiness. As sugar stops cells from being able to repair themselves, we get sick and catch colds faster.

Eventually, our weakened immune system may lead to inflammation and disease, which creates more stress in our body. In fact, many diseases, including diabetes, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and heart disease can all result from a high sugar diet.

Now we know what sugar itself can do to the body. Remember those highs and lows we get when we eat sugar?

These sugar highs and lows can affect any part of our body from skin, bones, and muscles, to heart function, and cause hormonal imbalances, inflammation, and digestive problems.

Checking For Low Blood Sugar Levels

The warning signs of hypoglycemia are the bodyâs natural response to low blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels fall too low, the body releases the hormone adrenaline, which helps get stored glucose into the bloodstream quickly. This can make someone:

  • pale
  • start shaking
  • have an increased heart rate

If the hypoglycemia isnât treated, more serious symptoms may happen, such as drowsiness, confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

The only way to know for sure if youâre having a low blood sugar level is to test. Blood sugar levels can be tested with a . This computerized device measures and displays the amount of glucose in a blood sample. But if you canât quickly check your blood sugar level, itâs important to treat yourself for hypoglycemia immediately to prevent symptoms from getting worse.

Sometimes a person with diabetes may have symptoms of low blood sugar levels, but blood sugar levels are not actually low. This is a called a false reaction. The hormone adrenaline is not just released when blood sugar drops too low itâs also released when blood sugar levels fall quickly when theyâre too high. If youâre having a false reaction, you might actually have blood sugar levels in a healthy range but feel as if you have low blood sugar. Testing blood sugar levels before treating yourself for hypoglycemia can help you figure out if youâre having a false reaction.

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