How Can I Prevent Low Blood Glucose
Your best bet is to practice good diabetes management and learn to detect hypoglycemia so you can treat it earlybefore it gets worse.
Monitoring blood glucose, with either a meter or a CGM, is the tried and true method for preventing hypoglycemia. Studies consistently show that the more a person checks blood glucose, the lower his or her risk of hypoglycemia. This is because you can see when blood glucose levels are dropping and can treat it before it gets too low.
If you can, check often!
- Check before and after meals.
- Check before and after exercise .
- Check before bed.
- After intense exercise, also check in the middle of the night.
- Check more if things around you change such as, a new insulin routine, a different work schedule, an increase in physical activity, or travel across time zones.
Daily Blood Sugar Management
Blood sugar control might be challenging at times. Having a glucometer on hand will help with blood sugar monitoring and diabetes management. A glucometer is a device that helps you take a sugar reading comfortably, from wherever you are. The ones that connect via a smart app allow you to share readings with your doctor and keep track of your previous readings. Always consult your health coach for the best guidance. They advise you depending on your age, lifestyle, and medication and are extremely helpful in an emergency situation. Only when you know if your sugar level is high, low, or in the regulated range will you be able to optimize your food and lifestyle. To know more,
How Can I Avoid Hypos
If you have type 1 diabetes, you’ll often be encouraged to control your blood sugar to almost the same levels as someone who doesn’t have diabetes, especially if you’re young and don’t have complications of diabetes or other medical conditions. This is because high blood glucose in the long term is linked to damage to your kidneys, eyes,nerves, feet and heart. However, keeping tight control of your blood glucose does increase the risk of hypos.
Having said that, there are lots of steps you can take to reduce the risk of hypos. These include:
- Not skipping or delaying snacks or meals.
- Learning about the right dose of insulin you need for a given amount of carbohydrate.
- Adjusting your insulin if you’re exercising vigorously.
- Avoiding alcohol, and particularly drinking on an empty stomach.
- Speaking to your medical team in advance of situations where your normal eating will be disrupted so you can work together to adjust your insulin dose.
- If you’re taking sulfonylurea tablets and getting symptoms that you think may be hypos, speak to your team. They may be able to change your medication, as there are many alternative treatments for type 2 diabetes that don’t cause hypos.
- Keeping a supply of sugary drink, fruit juice or glucose tablets to hand at all times, so you can treat symptoms early.
- Checking your blood glucose regularly.
Don’t Miss: Insulin Pen Needles 32g 4mm
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:
About High Blood Sugar
High glucose levels occur when the body doesn’t have enough insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it has to shuttle glucose from the bloodstream to the bodys muscles, organs, and tissues for fuel, ONeill says. As a result, the amount of sugar in the blood builds up.
Hyperglycemia typically happens when you consume more carbohydrates or bigger portions of food than usual if you don’t take enough insulin or other diabetes medication as prescribed and if you decrease your levels of physical activity, she says. Heightened stress levels can also increase blood sugar levels. Non-diabetes-related medications that are known to raise blood sugar levels include steroids, beta-blockers, birth control pills, and many mental health medications, she explains.
Signs of high blood sugar include frequent urination, fatigue, dry or itchy skin, feeling thirsty, more frequent infections, and eating more food but not gaining as much weight as usual, says Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD, the corporate vice president for the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute in La Jolla, California.
High blood sugar levels can cause these symptoms through various mechanisms, according to the Mayo Clinic. For example, high blood sugar levels damage blood vessels and nerves throughout the body. They can also deprive organs of energy and can cause fluid to accumulate in the eyes. And in an attempt to get your blood sugar to a healthier level, your body will often increase urine output.
Don’t Miss: Insulin Resistance Diet Plan For Weight Loss
Who Is At Risk Of Hypoglycaemia
People with diabetes who inject insulin or who take certain diabetes tablets are at risk of low blood glucose.
There are other medical conditions that may cause a person to produce too much insulin and people can experience symptoms of low blood glucose levels even when they do not take insulin or certain diabetes medications. If so it is important to have this investigated by your doctor.
Foods To Eat And Foods To Avoid With Type 2 Diabetes
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes your doctor most likely has recommended dietary changes to manage your blood sugar levels. Simple carbohydrates or simple “carbs” are the primary culprit in raising blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. “Glycemic index” and “glycemic load” are terms used to measure the impact some foods have on your blood sugar levels. Low glycemic foods, for example complex carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa, steal cut oatmeal, vegetables, some fruits , beans, and lentils don’t raise blood sugar levels very much. However, high glycemic foods for example, sugar, white flour and bread, cookies, pastries, and white potatoes can raise blood sugar levels dangerously high.
Recommended Reading: What Is Insulin Dependent Diabetes
What Is Low And High Blood Sugar Level
Low Blood Sugar Levels
Low blood sugar levels, also known as Hypoglycaemia, occurs when there is insufficient sugar level in the blood, making it difficult for the body to operate normally. Diabetes-related side effects are the most prevalent cause of low blood sugar. However, it might also be related to:
- Eating less after taking diabetic medicine
- Exercising more than usual
- A rare likelihood of a tumour producing more insulin.
- Endocrine disorders
Low blood sugar levels can cause both short-term issues such as disorientation and dizziness, as well as long-term consequences such as coma or even death. If your blood sugar is less than 70 mg/dL, you should start treating yourself immediately.
High Blood Sugar Levels
High blood sugar or Hyperglycaemia occurs when people have high blood sugar in their bloodstream.
- Blood glucose levels higher than 7.0 mmol/L when fasting
- Blood glucose levels higher than 11.0 mmol/L 2 hours after meals
Causes of Hyperglycaemia include:
- Inadequate usage of insulin or diabetes medication
- Not eating a proper diabetes diet
- Having an infection or illness
Short term effects of Hyperglycaemia include nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, dry mouth, among others. Long term effects of hyperglycaemia include cardiovascular diseases, nerve damage, kidney damage, blindness, etc.
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 — over 70 mg/dL — 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.
Recommended Reading: What Can Diabetic Dogs Eat
What Drinks And Foods Raise Blood Sugar Fast
The acute management of low blood sugar involves the rapid delivery of a source of easily absorbed sugar. Regular soft drinks, juice, lifesaver candies, table sugar, and the like are good options. In general, 15 grams of glucose is the dose that is given, followed by an assessment of symptoms and a blood glucose check if possible. If after 10 minutes there is no improvement, another 10-15 grams should be given. This can be repeated up to three times. At that point, the patient should be considered as not responding to the therapy and an ambulance should be called.
The equivalency of 10-15 grams of glucose are:
- 4 teaspoons of sugar
- 1/2 can of regular soda or juice
Many people like the idea of treating low blood sugar with dietary treats such as cake, cookies, and brownies. However, sugar in the form of complex carbohydrates or sugar combined with fat and protein are much too slowly absorbed to be useful in acute treatment.
Once the acute episode has been treated, a healthy, long-acting carbohydrate to maintain blood sugars in the appropriate range should be consumed. Half a sandwich is a reasonable option.
If the hypoglycemic episode has progressed to the point at which the patient cannot or will not take anything by mouth, more drastic measures will be needed. In many cases, a family member or roommate can be trained in the use of glucagon:
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
Also Check: How Can I Lower My Blood Sugar Quickly
A Few Final Notes On Keeping Blood Sugar Stable
Taking an active, intentional approach to your blood sugar levels is crucial to your quality of life and overall health, ONeill says. Avoiding too-high or too-low blood sugar levels will help you avoid adverse symptoms and health complications, and staying within your target range can enable you to feel your best and do whatever you want to do in life, she says.
Test your blood sugar regularly, listen to your body, and dont ever hesitate to reach out to your doctor.
Additional reporting by Karen Appold.
Hypoglycemia Tests And Diagnosis
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.
Recommended Reading: How To Check Insulin Resistance
When To Call The Doctor
If signs of low blood sugar do not improve after you have eaten a snack that contains sugar, have someone drive you to the emergency room or call 911 or the local emergency number. Do not drive when your blood sugar is low.
Get medical help right away for a person with low blood sugar if the person is not alert or cannot be woken up as this is a medical emergency.
Causes Of Low Blood Sugar
There are many reasons why you may have low blood sugar, including:
- Taking too much insulin.
- Not eating enough carbs for how much insulin you take.
- Timing of when you take your insulin.
- The amount and timing of physical activity.
- Drinking alcohol.
- How much fat, protein, and fiber are in your meal.
- Hot and humid weather.
- Unexpected changes in your schedule.
- Spending time at a high altitude.
- Going through puberty.
You May Like: Do Peanuts Lower Blood Sugar
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 don’t 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 it’s 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 isn’t 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 shouldn’t be done if the person is drowsy or unconscious because of the risk of choking.
Are High Levels Of Blood Sugar Dangerous
High blood sugar levels can be dangerous. Blood sugar above 200 mg/dL at any time is considered very high. In type 1 diabetes, very high blood sugar can lead to a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis .
DKA occurs when insulin levels are very low, which causes the body to start producing ketones to use as fuel instead of glucose. A sign of ketone bodies being present is fruity-smelling breath.DKA can be fatal, so prompt medical attention is required.
Some symptoms of DKA include:
- Excessive thirst
In type 2 diabetes, very high blood sugar can cause hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome . HHS doesnt cause ketones to build up, but it does present as:
- Very high blood sugar
Dont Miss: Can Diabetics Eat Banana
Don’t Miss: Safe Glucose Level For Type 2 Diabetes
Tips For Avoiding High And Low Blood Sugars
Walking the tightrope of a life with diabetes is not easy.
We need to strive every day to make sure that we dont let our blood sugars go too high or too low, and that can be exhausting.
Here are some strategies to help keep your blood sugar in balance:
- Eat similar foods and meals that have predictable carbohydrate counts
- Cook food at home, so you know all of the ingredients in your meal
- Keep to a routine, and eat at the same times every day
- Get enough sleep!
- Double-check your insulin doses to make sure youre not taking too much, nor too little
- If youve counted carbohydrates for a meal and dosed insulin for those carbohydrates, eat everything