Prevention and Treatment of Low Blood Sugar
How to prevent low blood sugar
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) may be prevented if you:
- Eat your meals on time.
- Don't skip meals or snacks.
- Learn to adjust your food and diabetes medicine for exercise.
- Test your blood sugar on schedule.
- Do extra tests when you don't feel normal, and write down the results in your log book.
How to treat low blood sugar
When you feel your blood sugar (glucose) might be low, test your blood. If your reading is too low (below 70 mg/dL or the level set by your doctor), you need to treat it right away. Sugar or simple carbohydrates, such as fruit juice, hard candies, or pretzels or crackers work well to treat low blood sugar. The important thing is to get at least 15-20 grams of sugars or carbohydrates. Be sure to keep foods that contain sugar or glucose products with you at all times. Foods with about 15 grams of carbohydrate:
- 3 glucose tablets (5 grams glucose each)
- 1/2 cup of fruit juice or regular soda (not sugar free)
- 6 or 7 hard candies (not sugar free)
- 1 tablespoon of honey or sugar
After eating or drinking something:
- Wait 15 minutes then test your blood sugar again. Record the number in your log book. Also, be sure to write down that you had low blood sugar.
- If you don't feel better in 15 minutes, according to the American Diabetes Association you should repeat the above steps ("How to treat low blood sugar").
- If your blood sugar is still low, call your doctor's office.
- If your next meal is more than an hour away, follow the sugar with something that provides carbohydrate and protein (like half a sandwich or some crackers and cheese).
- Be sure to eat your normal meal at the regular time, even if you have previously used a low blood sugar treatment.
Low blood sugar is usually easy to treat. However, if it is not dealt with quickly, serious reactions may result. Talk with your doctor about what steps to take in case of a low blood sugar emergency, and most important, how to avoid one.
Important to do:
- Learn your body's warning signs of falling blood sugar.
- When you notice symptoms, test your blood sugar if you can.
- If your blood sugar is low or if you cannot test, treat yourself for low blood sugar. If your next meal is more than an hour away, have a snack.
- Always wear or carry diabetes identification.
- Educate family members, friends, or coworkers on symptoms of and treatment for low blood sugar.
- Be sure to keep foods that contain sugar or glucose products with you at all times.
Emergency treatment for severe low blood sugar
An injectable treatment for severe low blood sugar is available by prescription. This treatment quickly raises blood sugar and is important therapy for severe low blood sugar. It is given as a shot just like insulin. If your blood sugar level gets so low that you pass out or can't swallow, you will need an injection of this emergency treatment. If you take insulin, your family, friends, coworkers, and exercise partners should learn how to give you this shot. When you need emergency treatment for severe low blood sugar, you may not be able to give it yourself.
This emergency treatment should be used as directed by your doctor in a emergency situation. As with low blood sugar, nausea and vomiting may occur. Generalized allergic reactions have also been reported.