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    How to Handle an Insulin Overdose

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    Cold sweats, trembling hands, intense anxiety, a general sense of confusion -- these are signs of low blood sugar. Your doctor may call it hypoglycemia. It often happens when you take too much insulin.

    Hypoglycemia happens to many people with diabetes. It can be serious. Thankfully, most insulin problems can be avoided if you follow a few simple rules.

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    How to Avoid Mistakes

    Several things can put too much insulin in your system. It most often happens when you:

    Misread the syringes or vials: This is easy to do if you’re unfamiliar with a new product.

    Use the wrong type of insulin: Let's say you usually take 30 units of long-acting and 10 units of short-acting insulin. It's easy to get them mixed up.

    Take insulin, but don't eat: Rapid-acting and short-acting insulin injections should be taken just before or with meals. Your blood sugar rises after meals. Taking rapid-acting or short-acting insulin without eating could lower your sugar to a dangerous level.

    Inject insulin in an arm or leg just before exercise . Physical activity can lower your blood sugar levels and change how your body absorbs insulin. Inject in an area that isn’t affected by your exercise.

    Symptoms of an Insulin Overdose

    If you have low blood sugar because of an insulin overdose, you may have:

    • Anxiety
    • Confusion
    • Extreme hunger
    • Fatigue
    • Irritability
    • Sweating or clammy skin
    • Trembling hands

    If your blood sugar levels continue to fall, you could have seizures or pass out.

    What to Do If You Have an Insulin Overdose

    Don’t panic. Most insulin overdoses can be treated at home. Follow these steps if you’re able:

    Check your blood sugar. You’ll need to know where you’re starting from.

    Drink one-half cup of regular soda or sweetened fruit juice, and eat a hard candy or have glucose paste, tablets, or gel.

    If you skipped a meal, eat something now. Something with 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrates should raise your blood sugar.

    Rest. Get off your feet and take a break.

    Recheck your blood sugar after 15 or 20 minutes. If it's still low, take another 15 to 20 grams of a quick-acting sugar, and eat something if you can.

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