You are aware that you should keep your blood glucose in a target range, it should not be too high however it should not be too low. In case you have diabetes or you someone you know has diabetes, it is important you understand what hypoglycemia is.
Hypoglycemia actually occurs when the blood glucose levels are very low. Typically that is less than 70 mg/dl. It is important to consult with your doctor about your own target when it comes to the levels of your blood glucose.
Your doctor will tell you what level is too low for you. This condition can also be referred as insulin shock or insulin reaction.
The symptoms are actually important clues to find out if you have low levels of blood glucose. And actually, the reaction to hypoglycemia is different for every individual. It is good that you learn and become aware of your own symptoms and signs when you experience low blood glucose.
The most accurate and sure way to find out whether you have hypoglycemia is to check the blood glucose. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you are not able to do that you need to treat this condition. Severe cases of hypoglycemia can cause injuries, accidents, coma and even death.
18 Symptoms and Signs of Hypoglycemia
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Crying out during sleep or nightmares
- Sweating, clamminess, and chills
- Lack of coordination
- Impatience or irritability
- Anger, sadness or stubbornness
- Confusion, including delirium
- Weakness or fatigue
- Rapid/Fast heartbeat
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Tingling or numbness in the tongue or lips
- Hunger and nausea
- Blurred/impaired vision
4 Steps to Treat Hypoglycemia
#1 You need to consume 15 to 20 grams of simple carbohydrates or glucose.
#2 Then, after 15 minutes you need to recheck the blood glucose.
#3 If the hypoglycemia continues, you need to repeat this.
#4 Once it is in its normal target level, you can eat a snack in case the next meal you planned is not for an hour or maybe two hours.
Commonly used 15 grams of simple carbohydrates:
- Gumdrops, jelly beans, hard candies (check the package to determine the amount you should consume)
- Glucose tablets (follow the instructions on the package)
- Eight ounces of nonfat or 1 percent milk
- Gel tube (follow the instructions on the package)
- One tbsp. corn syrup, honey, or sugar
- Two tbsp. of raisins
- Four ounces (1/2 cup) of juice or regular soda (not diet)
If you experience hypoglycemia and not treat it that might cause unconsciousness such as passing out, coma and also it might cause a seizure. In this case, a glucagon is a must. What is glucagon?
The glucagon is actually a hormone that helps and stimulates your liver to release the stored glucose in the bloodstream in time when the blood glucose levels are very low.
There are special injectable glucagon kits. These kits are used in the form of medication and are used to treat when a diabetic passes out from an acute insulin reaction.
You need a prescription in order to have a glucagon kits. You need to consult your doctor if you need one, and when and how to use this kit.
In fact, people that are in frequent and constant contact with coworkers, significant others and family members that have hypoglycemia should learn how to perform and put glucagon in case they need to treat serious hypoglycemic events.
In case you find yourself in this type of situation, and the hypoglycemic person has a seizure, or passes out and does not wake up, and there is no glucagon, or you do not know how to inject it, call 911.
If Glucagon Is Needed:
- Follow the instructions from the manufacturer and inject glucagon into the person’s thigh, buttock or arm.
- When the person wakes up i.e. regains consciousness that is usually after 5 or in some cases 15 minutes, they might experience vomiting or nausea.
- In case you are the individual that needed glucagon, consult your doctor and let him/her know about your situation and see what you can do to prevent future serious hypoglycemia.
- Put hands in mouth (the person can choke)
- Inject insulin (will lower blood glucose even more)
- Provide food or fluids (the person can choke)
Checking your blood glucose levels is important. Why? Because you might be one of the many that experience hypoglycemia unawareness. The symptoms of this condition occur when the levels of the blood glucose are below 70 mg/dl.
However, some people are below this particular level, and yet they have no symptoms. This is actually hypoglycemia unawareness. These individuals are likely to be awakened from sleep in case the hypoglycemia happens at night.
Hypoglycemia Unawareness Occurs More Frequently With People Who:
- Have a tight control over their diabetes (that can increase the chances of having reactions such as low blood glucose)
- Frequently experience episodes of low blood glucose (which might cause to stop feeling the early signs of hypoglycemia)
- If individuals have had diabetes for a long time.
Consult your doctor, in case you believe that you might have hypoglycemia unawareness. Your doctor can raise or adjust the targets of your blood glucose, and that can help you avoid future episodes.
Other Causes of Symptoms
Some people have symptoms of this condition even when the levels of their blood glucose are higher than the usual 70 mg/dl.
This occurs when a person has high blood glucose levels, and they suddenly start to go down. In case this happens, you need to talk to your doctor.
People with diabetes, especially those who use insulin, need to have at all times a medical ID with them. In the case of an emergency like a car accident or severe episode of hypoglycemia the medical ID can be useful.
The medical ID can provide the emergency medical personnel with critical information about the individual’s health status, whether they have diabetes, use or not use insulin, whether they have certain types of allergies, and more.
Many people with diabetes, particularly those who use insulin, should have a medical ID with them at all times.
Usually, the medical IDs are worn as necklace or bracelet. The traditional IDs have vital information about the health of an individual.
However, some modern and innovative IDs have compact USB drives. In the USB drive, there is a full medical record of an individual in case of emergency.
How to Prevent Low Blood Glucose?
The best thing to do is to practice good management of your diabetes and to learn how to recognize symptoms of hypoglycemia, so you will be able to treat it early.