How Do You Feel If Your Blood Sugar Is Low
If your blood sugar is low, you may feel out of it confused, annoyed, and without focus. You should treat lows immediately, whether your glucose is below 70 mg/dL or trending toward that number, and whether or not you are feeling symptoms.
Its important to take hypoglycemia seriously. Read on to learn what to do when your blood sugar is low.
Check Blood Sugar Regularly
People who regularly check their blood sugar tend to have better-controlled blood sugar overall. Checking blood sugar levels at home helps people become aware of their blood sugar trends. It can also help people identify how their lifestyle habits affect their blood sugar and make adjustments to achieve better blood sugar control.
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.
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Preventing A Low Blood Sugar Level
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.
- Use a continuous glucose monitor or flash monitor to see how your blood sugar levels are changing. Ask your diabetes care team about getting a monitor if you do not already have one.
- 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.
Blood Sugar Levels Explained
There is a healthy target range for your glucose levels. Exceeding this range may put pressure on your organs. High blood glucose is associated with numerous affections. Lower blood sugar may also lead to digestive and kidney diseases.
For a healthy person, glucose levels should be between 80 and 99 mg dl, but this target must be achieved hours after having a meal. Those who are worried about their sugar levels must check their blood sugar before having a meal.
Values will change after a meal according to the American Diabetes Association, values can go up to 140mg/dl after an hour of a meal. Those with diabetes can have up to 130mg/dl before meals and under 180mg/dl a couple of hours after meals.
Managing diabetes requires checking these values all the time. Severe high blood sugar is just as harmful as too much insulin. Low blood sugar levels can also indicate some problems, but not as harsh. Checking these values regularly implies checking on how the body works in breaking down food.
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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.
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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How Serious Is Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemic episodes can range from mild to severe.
Mild hypoglycemia can usually be treated by the individual and are to be expected to some degree in people on insulin. Mild hypos are not associated with significant long term health problems unless they are occurring very regularly or for long periods of time.
Severe hypoglycemia, however, will require treatment from someone else and may require an ambulance. Severe hypos can lead to immediate danger if not treated immediately. Whilst rare, severe hypos can potentially lead to coma and death.
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How To Avoid Dangerously Low Blood Sugar Levels
Glucose or blood sugar is one of the most vital macronutrients that are necessary for the proper functioning of the human body. Our body consumes carbohydrates, or in simpler words, complex molecules of sugar that are broken down to glucose during digestion. Glucose is absorbed from the intestinal lumen into the circulation and taken to the bodys cells for carrying out optimal biochemical processes.
Some primary food sources of glucose include dairy products such as milk, cheese, and butter, bread, quinoa, oats, fruits, chickpeas, kidney beans, and potatoes. Apart from dietary sources, our body can also produce glucose from fats and proteins when required.
While fructose and galactose are also simple sugars that are readily absorbed by the body, glucose is the primary source of energy that our body utilizes for maintaining life. In healthy individuals, the body produces a hormone called insulin which is responsible for taking up glucose from the blood into the cells.
Insulin helps to maintain optimum blood sugar levels within the range of 80 to 180 mg/dl. After consuming food, our pancreas secretes insulin so that the cells can utilize or store excess blood sugar.
A level of 120 to 140 mg/dl after 2 hours of eating is considered optimum. However, a blood glucose level higher than 120mg/dl after 8 hours of fasting, and 180mg/dl after 2 hours of food consumption is considered excess, or a condition is known as Diabetes Mellitus.
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What Is Normal Blood Sugar By Age
For those who do not have diabetes, the normal range of blood sugar levels is usually recommended to be between 90 and 110 mg/dL.
While this is the recommended range, in some cases, a reading of 130 or 140 mg/dL may also be considered normal, taking other factors into account that your doctor will explain to you in detail.
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How Is It Treated
If you often have symptoms of hypoglycemia, you should see your healthcare provider. Your provider can help you determine the cause. Your provider will also give you guidelines for treating low blood sugar when you are having symptoms.
When you see your provider, be sure to take your notebook or glucose meter with all of the results of your recent blood sugar checks. This helps your provider know whether you are on the right medicines and are taking the right dose at the right time of day. Without this record, it is harder for your provider to help you figure out the cause of your symptoms.
Here are some examples of guidelines your provider may give you:
- If you have diabetes and you think your blood sugar may be too low, check it with your home meter before treatment, if possible.
- Always carry some form of sugar you can eat as soon as you have any symptoms of hypoglycemia. The following amounts and types of foods will bring your blood sugar level up:
- 2 to 5 glucose tablets
- 1/2 cup fruit juice
- 1/2 cup regular soda
- 6 to 8 ounces of skim milk
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup of raisins
- 5 to 7 pieces of hard candy like Lifesavers
- a tube of glucose in gel form
- 1 tablespoon of molasses, corn syrup, or honey
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S For Treating A Person With Symptoms Keeping Them From Being Able To Treat Themselves
Dont hesitate to call 911. If someone is unconscious and glucagon is not available or someone does not know how to use it, call 911 immediately.
- Provide food or fluids
How Common Is Low Blood Glucose
Low blood glucose is common among people with type 1 diabetes and among people with type 2 diabetes who take insulin or some other diabetes medicines. In a large global study of people with diabetes who take insulin, 4 in 5 people with type 1 diabetes and nearly half of those with type 2 diabetes reported a low blood sugar event at least once over a 4-week period.2
Severely low blood glucose, defined as when your blood glucose level drops so low you cant treat it yourself, is less common. Among U.S. adults with diabetes who take insulin or some diabetes medicines that help the pancreas release insulin into the blood, 2 in 100 may develop severely low blood glucose each year.3
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Treating Someone Who’s Unconscious Or Very Drowsy
Follow these steps:
Tell your diabetes care team if you ever have a severe hypo that caused you to lose consciousness.
What’s Considered Low Blood Sugar
Typically, blood sugar should be between 70 and 120 milligrams per deciliter . Below 70 mg/dL is considered hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.
Blood sugar levels are a lot like temperatures, though. Whats too low for one person may not cause another person to have any adverse effects or symptoms. Its best to try to focus on how the person feels and responds more than focusing too much on the difference between 68 and 70 mg/dL.
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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
What Is The Normal Level Of Sugar In The Blood
According to CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following blood sugar level is the normal range that healthcare teams recommend for individuals who do not have diabetes.
|140 mg/dL or lesser
While these are the recommended blood sugar levels for those who do not have diabetes, your healthcare provider will be able to give you the best target range for your blood sugar levels, based on other factors such as your age, overall health, any medications you are on and so on.
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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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Normal Blood Sugar Levels In Teenagers Between The Ages Of 13 And 19
In teenagers who do not have diabetes, the regular blood sugar levels should be as following:
- The American Diabetes Association does not specify any particular target normal blood glucose levels for teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19.
- It is a good idea to ensure that the blood glucose in teens within this age range is between 70 and 140 mg/dL.
- We at Fitterfly recommend that you take the professional suggestion of your teenagers doctor to understand the healthy blood glucose levels for your teen.
Should You Consider Taking Insulin
- Most blood sugar reactions are managed by eating meals on time, taking diabetes medicine, and testing blood sugar more often.
- For type 2 diabetics there is not enough insulin production by the pancreas therefore they might need to consider additional insulin boosts to maintain blood sugar levels. It is advisable to talk to your doctor or health coach to guide you regarding the same.
Low Blood Glucose During Sleep
Your blood glucose level can drop while you sleep and stay low for several hours, causing serious problems.7 Symptoms of low blood glucose while you sleep can include
- crying out or having nightmares
- sweating enough to make your pajamas or sheets damp
- feeling tired, irritable, or confused after waking up
Although you may not wake up or notice any symptoms, low blood glucose can interfere with your sleep, which may affect your quality of life, mood, and ability to work. Having low blood glucose during sleep can also make you less likely to notice and respond to symptoms of low blood glucose during the day.
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How Do You Treat Hypoglycemia
Low blood sugar levels happen when theres too little glucose left in the bloodstream to continue supplying fuel to your organs, muscles, and tissues. It most often occurs when you dont eat enough food, especially carb-containing foods, given your blood-sugar-lowering medications and physical activity levels, ONeill says. Levels can decrease gradually or suddenly.
When the amount of glucose in the bloodstream drops to too-low levels, the body reacts by releasing epinephrine, also called adrenaline or the fight or flight hormone. Epinephrine revs your heart rate and can cause sweating, shaking, anxiety, and irritability. If not enough glucose is able to reach the brain, the result may be difficulty concentrating, confused thinking, and slurred speech. In extreme cases, a lack of glucose within the brain can lead to seizures, coma, and even death, she says.
People with low glucose levels can use the ADAs 15-15 Rule, which advises people consume 15 g of carbs, wait 15 minutes, and check their levels again. If the number is still low, repeat until reaching at least 70 mg/dL.
You can find 15 g of carbs in:
- 1 slice of bread
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