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Diabetes: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar From Medicines

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) occurs when the sugar (glucose) level in the blood drops below what the body needs to function normally. Some pills for diabetes can cause low blood sugar.

Even mild low blood sugar can affect the way you think and respond to things around you. And mild low blood sugar can quickly drop to a more dangerous level.

actionset.gif Diabetes: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar From Insulin
  • Low blood sugar as a side effect of oral diabetes medicines usually causes mild symptoms, such as sweating, shakiness, and hunger.
  • Taking too many of your diabetes pills in one day, not eating enough food, or doing strenuous physical activity can cause your blood sugar level to drop below your target range.
  • If your blood sugar is low and you don't eat anything, it may drop to a very low level. Keep some hard candy, raisins, or other quick sugar foods with you at all times. Eat some at the first sign of low blood sugar.
  • Test your blood sugar often so you do not have to guess when it is low.
  • Teach your friends and coworkers what to do if your blood sugar is very low.

what.gif What is low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)?
why.gif Why do you need to deal with low blood sugar?
how.gif How to deal with low blood sugar
where.gif Where to go from here

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Other Works Consulted

  • American Diabetes Association (2013). Standards of medical care in diabetes—2013. Diabetes Care, 36(Suppl 1): S11–S66.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJennifer Hone, MD - Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
Last RevisedJune 29, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 29, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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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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