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When Your Blood Sugar Is Too High or Too Low

What You Need to Know about Low Blood Sugar continued...

In case of a medical emergency, be sure that you carry medical identification (a tag or card) that says you have diabetes and lists the medicines you take. It should also give the name and telephone number of your doctor. Tell your family, friends, teachers, or other people you see often about the signs of low blood sugar. Explain how to treat it. You may need their help some day.

You can prevent most low blood sugar reactions by eating your meals on time, taking your diabetes medicine, and testing your blood sugar often. Testing your blood will show if your sugar level is going down. You can then take steps, like eating some fruit, crackers, or other snack, to raise your blood sugar level.

Action Steps...

If You Use Insulin

  • Tell your doctor if you have low blood sugar reactions often, especially if they happen at the same time of day or night.
  • Tell your doctor if you have passed out from low blood sugar or if you ever needed someone's help.
  • Ask your doctor about "glucagon." Glucagon is a medicine to raise blood sugar. If you pass out from low blood sugar, someone should call "911" emergency and give you a glucagon shot.

 

If You Don't Use Insulin

  • Be sure to tell your doctor about other medicines you may be taking.
  • If you take diabetes pills you can also have low blood sugar reactions. The doctor may need to make a change in your medicine or eating plan. (If you don't take pills or insulin, you don't have to worry about low blood sugar reactions.)

Always be prepared for a low blood sugar reaction. Keep a snack handy. Ask your doctor or diabetes educator for a list of snacks to treat low blood sugar.

Information for Your Doctor about This Document

Blood glucose values and other management guidelines cited in this document are based on recommendations from:

  • American Association of Diabetes Educators
  • American Diabetes Association
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Diabetes Translation
  • Diabetes program at the Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Recommendations for improving blood glucose control are based on the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), a 10-year clinical study of insulin-dependent diabetes sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH. The DCCT showed that volunteers who intensively managed their diabetes reduced their risk of eye disease by 76 percent, kidney disease by 50 percent, and nerve disease by 60 percent.

References

American Diabetes Association. (1995) Clinical practice recommendations. Diabetes Care, 18 (Suppl. 1).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Diabetes Translation. (1991). The prevention and treatment of complications of diabetes mellitus: A guide for primary care practitioners. Atlanta, GA.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Diabetes Translation. (1991). Take charge of your diabetes: A guide for care. Atlanta, GA.

The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial Research Group. (1993). The effect of intensive treatment of diabetes on the development and progression of long-term complications in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. The New England Journal of Medicine, 329(14), 977-986.

Peragallo-Dittko, V., Godley, K., & Meyer, J. (1993). A core curriculum for diabetes education (2nd edition). Chicago: American Association of Diabetes Educators.

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WebMD Public Information from the U.S. National Institutes of Health

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Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
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Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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