What is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia, or low blood glucose, happens when blood glucose levels drop too low. For most people with diabetes this means a glucose less than 70 mg/dl. Hypoglycemia can be caused by skipping a meal or a snack, eating less than usual, taking too much diabetes medication, or more exercise than usual.
Symptoms of low blood sugar include:
- Feeling weak or shaky
- Sweating or chills
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Fast heartbeat
- Blurred vision
How to treat a low blood sugar:
Step 1: Check your glucose. If your glucose is between 51-70 mg/dl, eat or drink 15 grams of carbohydrate to raise glucose. If you your glucose is less than 50 mg/dl, take 30 grams of carbohydrate.
Good sources of 15 grams fast acting carbohydrate are:
- 3-4 glucose tablets or glucose gel (read package instructions)
- ½ cup (4 oz.) fruit juice or regular soda
- 1 tablespoon sugar or 3 sugar packets
- 1 cup (8 oz.)nonfat milk
Step 2: Wait 15 minutes, and check your glucose. If your blood sugar is still below 70 mg/dl, eat another 15 grams of fast acting carbohydrate food. If you still do not feel better, call your doctor.
Step3: Eat a meal or snack 30-60 minutes after treating low blood sugar. Do not use a meal or a snack to treat low blood glucose.
Other safety tips:
- Know symptoms of hypoglycemia. Tell friends and family about these symptoms.
- If you use a diabetes medication, always carry some of the fast acting carbohydrate with you.
- Wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace.
- Check your blood glucose before driving.