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Hypoglycemia and Diabetes

Hypoglycemia Treatment in Diabetes continued...

Your doctor may find that you are taking too much insulin that peaks toward the evening to morning hours. In that case, he or she may lower your insulin dose or change the time when you get your last dose of insulin.

When You Have Low Blood Sugar

Start by eating or drinking 15 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate such as:

  • Three to four glucose tablets
  • One tube of glucose gel
  • Four to six pieces of hard candy (not sugar-free)
  • 1/2 cup fruit juice
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup soft drink (not sugar-free)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (put it under your tongue so it gets absorbed into your bloodstream faster)

Fifteen minutes after you have eaten a sugar-containing food, check your blood sugar again. If your blood sugar is still less than 70 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter), eat another serving of one of the foods listed above. Repeat these steps until your sugar normalizes.

If You Pass Out

Hypoglycemia may make you pass out. If so, you will need someone to give you a glucagon injection. Glucagon is a prescription medicine that raises blood sugar and may be needed with severe hypoglycemia. It is important that your family members and friends know how to give the injection in case you have a low blood sugar reaction.

If you see someone having a severe hypoglycemic reaction, call 911 or take them to the nearest hospital for treatment. Do not try to give an unconscious person food, fluids, or insulin as they may choke.

Do Not Drive When You Have Low Blood Sugar

It is very dangerous to drive during a low blood sugar reaction. If you are driving and you have symptoms of hypoglycemia, safely pull off the road and eat a sugary food. Wait at least 15 minutes, check your blood sugar, and repeat these steps if necessary. Eat a protein and carbohydrate source (such as peanut butter crackers or cheese and crackers) before continuing to your destination.

Be prepared. Keep a sugar source in your car at all times for emergencies.

Preventing Hypoglycemia

If you have diabetes, ways you can prevent hypoglycemia include:

  • Follow your meal plan.
  • Eat at least three evenly spaced meals each day with between-meal snacks as prescribed.
  • Plan your meals no more than 4 to 5 hours apart.
  • Exercise 1/2 to 1 hour after meals. Check your sugars before and after exercise, and discuss with your doctor what types of adjustments can be made.
  • Double-check your insulin and dose of diabetes medicine before taking it.
  • Know when your medicine is at its peak level.
  • Test your blood sugar as often as directed by your doctor.
  • Carry an identification bracelet that says you have diabetes.
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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on August 21, 2014

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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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