Hypoglycemia can happen even during those times when you're doing all you can to control your diabetes. So, although many times you can't prevent it from happening, hypoglycemia can be treated before it gets worse. For this reason, it's important to know what hypoglycemia is, what its symptoms are, and how to treat it.

What is Hypoglycemia? (Low Blood Sugar)

  • Part of living with diabetes is learning to cope with some of the problems that go along with having the disease. Hypoglycemia is one of those problems. Hypoglycemia happens from time to time to everyone who has diabetes.

What Are The Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia?

The symptoms include:

  • Shakiness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Sweating.
  • Hunger.
  • Headache.
  • Pale skin color.
  • Sudden moodiness or behavior changes, such as crying for no apparent reason.
  • Clumsy or jerky movements.
  • Difficulty paying attention, or confusion.
  • Tingling sensations around the mouth.

How do you know when your blood sugar is low?

  • Part of keeping diabetes in control is testing blood sugar often.
  • Ask your doctor how often you should test and what your blood sugar levels should be. The results from testing your blood will tell you when your blood sugar is low and that you need to treat it.
  • You should test your blood sugar level according to the schedule you work out with your doctor. More importantly, though, you should test your blood whenever you feel an insulin reaction coming on. After you test and see that your blood sugar level is low, you should treat this condition quickly.
  • If you feel a reaction coming on but cannot test, it's best to treat the reaction rather than wait. Remember this simple rule:

When in doubt, treat.

How Do You Treat Hypoglycemia?

  • The quickest way to raise your blood sugar is with some form of sugar, such as 3 glucose tablets (you can buy these at the drug store), 1/2 cup of fruit juice, or 5-6 pieces of hard candy.
  • Ask your health care professional or dietitian to list foods that you can use to treat an insulin reaction. And then, be sure you always have at least one type of sugar with you.
  • Once you've tested your blood and treated your reaction, wait 15 or 20 minutes and test your blood again. If your blood sugar is still low and your symptoms don't go away, repeat the treatment. After you feel better, be sure to eat your regular meals and snacks as planned to keep your blood sugar level up.
  • It's important to treat hypoglycemia quickly because it can get worse and you could pass out. If you pass out, you will need IMMEDIATE treatment, such as an injection of glucagon or emergency treatment in a hospital.
  • Glucagon raises blood sugar. It is injected like insulin. Ask your doctor to prescribe it for you and tell you how to use it. You need to tell people around you (such as family members and co-workers) how and when to inject glucagon should you ever need it.
  • If glucagon is not available, you should be taken to the nearest emergency room for treatment. If you need immediate medical assistance or an ambulance, someone should call the emergency number in your area (such as 911) for help. It's a good idea to post emergency numbers by the telephone.

If you pass out, people should:

  1. NOT inject insulin.
  2. NOT give you food or fluids.
  3. NOT put their hands in your mouth.
  4. Inject glucagon.
  5. Call for emergency help.

How do you prevent hypoglycemia?

Good diabetes control is the best way we know to prevent hypoglycemia. The trick is to learn to recognize the symptoms of an insulin reaction. This way, you can treat low blood sugar before it gets worse.

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