Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is a condition that occurs when your blood sugar (glucose) is too low. Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low but poorly controlled diabetes can have symptoms of hypoglycemia at higher blood glucose levels.

 

Hypoglycemia: When & How?

  • Delaying or skipping meals or when you do not eat enough food.
  •  Wrongly taking excess dose of medicine or insulin
  •  Wrongly timing insulin/ medication with meal.
  • Unaccustomed physical activity or exercise
  • Alcohol intake.
  • Vomiting / other illness (e.g. Fever), kidney disease.

 

How to recognize?

  • Abnormal hunger, feeling restless without food.
  • Blurry vision, dizziness, headache.
  • Fast or pounding heartbeat – palpitation, shaking or trembling.
  • Sweating, tingling or numbness of hands and legs.
  • Tiredness or weakness, acting aggressive, feeling nervous, unclear thinking.

Danger Signs: Very low blood glucose may cause one to faint, have a seizure or become unconscious. Hospitalize immediately for administering intravenous dextrose.

 

What to do?

  • If there is ready access to glucometer check  blood glucose or move onto next step.
  • Add 4 teaspoons of glucose or sugar to a glass of water and drink it immediately (other options: honey, fruit juice, glucose biscuits)
  • If symptoms still persist or blood glucose is still low after 15 mins, take additional 4 teaspoons of glucose or sugar in a glass of water.
  • Take a snack (2 slices of bread or 1 apple or a glass of milk) to prevent recurrence of hypoglycemia.
  • If  hypoglycemia occurs while travelling, take any available sweet drink or food.
  • Try to find out the reason which might have caused hypoglycemia. Most common reason is irregularity in your meals. If hypoglycemia occurs in spite of a normal routine talk to your doctor.

 

Preventive Tips:

  •  If  blood glucose level before exercise is less than 100 mg/dL, take a light snack (a piece of brown bread, or a glass of milk or an apple).
  • Carry some snacks (biscuits, lozenges) while going for exercise.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse if you need a bedtime snack (e.g. a glass of milk) to prevent low blood sugar at night.
  • Eat meals at regular intervals, and balance extra exercise with extra food or lower your insulin dose by consulting your doctor.
  •  Call a local emergency number if hypoglycemia does not improve after basic corrective steps.
  • Always carry some identification of you being a diabetic as it will help others identify the problem in case of emergency.
  •  Ask your doctor about usage of glucagon injection.