Dealing with Hypoglycemia

  • 9 months ago
2 minute read.
Dealing with Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is a clinical condition most commonly seen in people with diabetes. It is characterized by low blood sugar levels, usually less than 70mg/dL.

What are the causes of hypoglycemia in diabetics?

Hypoglycemia in diabetics can be caused by:

  • Skipping of meals or irregular meal timings
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Kidney disease
  • Excess exercising
  • Overdose of insulin

How does one diagnose hypoglycemia?

The best way to be sure that you are experiencing hypoglycemia is by doing a simple blood test.Signs and symptoms to look for:

Early signs and symptoms of mild hypoglycemia include:
• Hunger
• Shakiness
• Sweating and chills
• Anxiety
• Irritability
• Pallor
• Rapid Heart beat
• Light headedness or dizziness
• Headache
• Weakness or fatigue
• Nightmares or crying out during sleep

Signs and symptoms of severe hypoglycemia include:
• Confusion
• Seizures
• Loss of consciousness
• Coma

These symptoms rarely appear in kids or teens with diabetes who have had the disease for only a few years. But it can show up in adults if they didn’t control sugar levels on time.

What is nondiabetic hypoglycemia?

Nondiabetic hyperglycemia refers to the drop in your blood glucose level, even if don’t have diabetes. Such hypoglycemia may occur due to a severe illness or injury. It can also happen over a longer period because of a chronic disease.

Following add on to the risk of nondiabetic hyperglycemia-

  • Low levels of hormones like cortisol or glucagon
  • Tumor in the pancreas
  • Surgery or trauma
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Excess drug usage like salicylates or pentamidine
  • Nutrition provided through IV tubes
  • Diabetes heredity in family
  • Obesity or a lack of physical activity
  • Stomach infections

Preventing hypoglycemia

Do Self monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG)- Regular self monitoring of blood glucose levels with a glucometer will help you identify the onset of symptoms and avoid hypoglycemia.

Eat Regularly- Eating every 2 hours will prevent your blood sugar levels from going down.

Alcohol- Heavy drinking session causes hypoglycemia, so avoid it. Keep your alcohol intake within the recommended limits and always eat something after and with your drink.

Exercise- Always eat something before any kind of strenuous exercise. Preferably, try and include a meal that has a good mix of fiber and starch.

Be prepared- Patients with type 1 diabetes should always carry a container of fruit juice or keep a small packet of sugar in the bag, in case of an emergency.

HbA1C (A1C or Glycosylated Hemoglobin Test)

Your healthcare provider may regularly perform a test called HbA1c (A1C, or Glycosylated Hemoglobin Test).

An A1C test provides a picture of your average blood sugar control for the past two to three months. Blood sugar is measured by the amount of glycosylated hemoglobin (A1C) in your blood.

The higher the HbA1c values, the significantly shorter the time in hypoglycemia (<70 mg/dL).

Immediate treatment

If you have symptoms of hypoglycemia, following may help-

  • Try glucose tablets or gel, fruit juice, honey, or candy that get converted and absorbed in blood easily.
  • Recheck after a while and if blood sugar levels are still less than 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L), drink 15 to 20 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate or glucose tablets. Repeat  until the blood sugar is above 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L).
  • Once your blood sugar gets normal, eating something that can refuel your body's glycogen.

A proper diet regimen with regular follow ups with your doctor and nutritionist will definitely help you keep hypoglycemia away.

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