Cold sweats, trembling hands, intense anxiety, a general sense of confusion -- no, it's not the night before final exams. These are signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), and it often happens when you take too much insulin.
Hypoglycemia happens to many people with diabetes. And it can sometimes be serious. Thankfully, most episodes related to insulin can be avoided if you follow a few simple rules.
If you're one of the nearly 24 million Americans living with type 2 diabetes, you know your body has difficulty using or producing insulin. What can you do to manage the disease? We asked Jill Crandall, MD, professor of clinical medicine and director of the diabetesclinical trials unit at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, to debunk some myths and help you learn to live well.
You might have too much insulin in your system and get a drop in your blood sugar for several reasons. 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 normally 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. Blood sugar rises after meals. Taking rapid-acting or short-acting insulin without eating could lower sugar levels to a potentially dangerous level.
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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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