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
  • Confusion
  • Nervousness
  • Sweating or chills
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Headaches
  • 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:


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.
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