Not eating enough or skipping meals, taking diabetes medication, and sticking with a strenuous workout program can easily throw your blood sugar off balance and make you deal with low blood sugar. Excessive alcohol and not getting enough sleep may also result in low blood glucose levels. You cannot function normally when your blood sugar is below 70mg/dl. Therefore, it is important to know what to do when your blood sugar is low to avoid dealing with certain problematic symptoms.
How Do You Know If Your Low Blood Sugar Is Low?
When your blood sugar is low, you will experience a number of symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of hypoglycemia include fatigue, heart palpitations, shakiness, pale skin, sweating, anxiety, irritability, hunger, and tingling sensation around the mouth.
You may experience some other symptoms when your condition becomes worse. Some people have to deal with visual disturbances, confusion, loss of consciousness, and seizures. You should see your doctor immediately if you notice these symptoms and you do not have diabetes.
Your doctor would suggest you to drink juice, take glucose tablets, and add some soft drinks in your diet to prevent low blood glucose levels. Be sure to seek immediate medical assistance if these steps do not raise your blood sugar levels. It is also important to see your doctor immediately if you have diabetes and your symptoms are quite severe.
What to Do When Your Blood Sugar Is Low?
If you have trouble managing your blood sugar, you have to learn a few skills and understand how your body behaves when your blood glucose levels are low.
1. Learn to Check Your Glucose Levels
You will have to be a self-test pro to confirm that your blood sugar level is actually low. Ensure that you keep your blood glucose meter at room temperature and know about the exact expiration date of all your testing supplies. When you want to check your blood sugar, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soapy water and then prick your finger. Factors like outdated test strips, humidity, and wet fingers can keep you from getting accurate results.
2. Know the Right Foods to Eat
Once you have checked and confirmed that your blood sugar is low, you need to react quickly. In most case, consuming 15-50g of fast-acting carbs can resolve the issue and keep you from dealing with serious symptoms. Some good examples of fast-acting carbs include soft drinks, fruit juice, candy, and glucose tablets. Keep in mind that foods that contain protein or fat take time to digest, so they are not going to help raise your blood sugar levels quickly enough.
Be sure to check your glucose levels again after 15 minutes of taking fast-acting cars. If the levels are lower than 70mg/dL, you should have another serving of 15-20g of fast-acting carbs. Recheck your sugar levels after 15 minutes to ensure that they are above 70 mg/dL now. If everything seems normal, be sure to have a meal or snack to help stabilize your blood sugar. This also improves levels of glycogen in the body.
Remember, if your symptoms are rather severe, you may not be able to raise your blood sugar levels by taking sugar orally. This is when you require intravenous glucose or an injection of glucagon. No one should try to give drink or food to someone who is unconscious because of very low sugar levels. It is important to keep a home glucagon kit in case you usually have severe episodes of hypoglycemia. Also, ensure that your family and friends know where you have kept the kit, so they could use it immediately in case of an emergency.
3. Getting Treated for Underlying Conditions
It is usually not enough to know how to raise your blood sugar levels, you should also learn how to prevent the issue. It means that you need to know if an underlying condition is making it difficult for you to manage your blood sugar levels. Sometimes, you may be taking a medication that results in hypoglycemia. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing certain symptoms after starting a new medication. In rare cases, a tumor can also be the reason behind hypoglycemia.
Some people have hypoglycemic unawareness, meaning that they do not notice any symptom until it is too late. If that is the case with you, it is better to let someone else sit behind the wheel to be on the safer side. When you have diabetes, you should never drive without eating something. Hitting the road hungry could lead to serious issues, especially if you do not know that your blood sugar levels are falling quickly.
It is also a good idea to test your blood glucose levels before you go out or drive. Be sure to eat something if you notice that your blood sugar levels are on the lower side. Wait for 15 minutes and then check again. Do not drive unless you have confirmed that your blood sugar is within the normal range. Eating a small apple or protein-rich snack before going out may also help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
How to Prevent Low Blood Sugar
It is certainly important to know what to do when your blood sugar is low, but you should also learn about ways to avoid the issue as much as possible. Here are some steps to take to prevent hypoglycemia.
If You Have Diabetes
- Always follow your diabetes management plan to the dot.
- Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have changed your eating habits or you are not taking a new medication. You should include a new exercise in your routine only after your doctor gives you a go-ahead.
- Consider trying a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), especially if you have hypoglycemic unawareness. The device has a tiny wire that needs to be inserted under your skin. With this device, it is possible to send blood glucose readings to a receiver. It checks your blood glucose levels every five minutes, and if the levels come down, it will trigger an alarm.
- Never forget to keep some source of fast-acting carbohydrate with you all the time. You can keep glucose tablets in your pocket and have it before your blood sugar falls to a dangerous level.
If You Do Not Have Diabetes
- Consider eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels from getting too low.
- Go talk to your doctor to identify the underlying cause of hypoglycemia, as that is the only way to find a more permanent treatment option.