Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Glucose):

Hypoglycemia, sometimes called an Insulin reaction, can happen even during those times when you're doing all you can to manage your Diabetes and it can an happen to any person who has Diabetes; therefore, all Diabetics should check blood glucose levels to determine when their levels are low and learn to identify the symptoms of Hypoglycemia so that it can be treated quickly; it can be treated by raising your blood glucose level with some form of sugar.

How do I know when my blood glucose is low?

Part of managing your Diabetes is checking your blood glucose on a regular basis; ask your doctor how often you should check and what your blood glucose levels should be; checking your blood and then treating low blood glucose early will help you avoid problems associated with Hypoglycemia; you should also check your blood whenever you feel low blood glucose coming on; if, after checking, your blood glucose level is low, you should treat Hypoglycemia quickly; basically, if you feel a reaction coming on but cannot check, remember this simple rule: * When In Doubt, Treat *

What Are The Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia?
Pale skin color.
Sudden moodiness or behavior changes, for no apparent reason.
Clumsy or jerky movements.
Difficulty paying attention, or confusion.
Tingling sensations around the mouth.

How do I treat Hypoglycemia?

The quickest way to raise your blood glucose and treat Hypoglycemia is with some form of sugar; many Diabetics like to carry glucose tablets; you can get glucose tablets at any chemist and at many other stores as well; other sources of sugar or simple carbohydrates also work well to treat Hypoglycemia, such as Fruit Juice, Boiled Sweets, Pretzels, and Cream Crackers, etc; the important thing is to get at least 15 to 20 grams of sugars or carbohydrates as soon as possible.

A food's nutrition label can tell you how much you need to eat of that food to get enough to treat an episode of Hypoglycemia; to treat it you should stick with something that is mostly sugar or carbohydrates; foods that have a lot of fat as well as sugars and carbohydrates, such as chocolate or cookies, do not work as quickly to raise blood glucose levels; foods with 15 grams of carbohydrates include such as, 4 oz (1/2 cup) of juice or regular soda; 2 tablespoons of raisins; 4 or 5 salty crackers; 4 teaspoons of sugar or 1 tablespoon of honey or corn syrup.

Ask your health care professional or dietitian to list foods that you can use to treat low blood glucose; then be sure you always have at least one type of sugar with you; foods that most Hypoglycemics should eat include the following; though, if unsure, check with your dietician: Lean meat and poultry such as Beef, Chicken and Turkey, try to avoid processed meats, they are not as good; Whole grains, such as Rices and Pastas; vegetables such as, Tomatoes, Onions, Carrots, Lettuce, Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Spinach, Peppers, Mushrooms, Cucumbers, Celery, Nuts, Nut Butters, Protein Powders and Beans of all types; Plain Yogurt & Water.

Once you've checked your blood glucose and treated your Hypoglycemia, wait 15 or 20 minutes and then check your blood again; if your blood glucose is still low and your symptoms of Hypoglycemia 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 glucose levels up.

What if Hypoglycemia Goes Untreated?

It's important to treat it quickly because Hypoglycemia can get worse and you could pass out; if you do pass out, you will need immediate treatment, such as an injection of glucagon or emergency treatment in an hospital.

if you suffer from Hypoglycemic attacks, on a regular basis, ask your doctor about Glucagon; it raises blood glucose and it is injected like Insulin; your doctor may prescribe it for you and tell you how to use it; if you do need it, you will 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 you have had an Hypoglycemic attack and glucagon is not available, you should be taken to the nearest emergency room for treatment for low blood glucose; if you need immediate medical assistance or an ambulance, someone should call an emergency number for help; it is a good idea to place the emergency numbers by a telephone.

if you do Pass Out from Hypoglycemia, here are some DOs and DON'Ts for Friends, Families and Co-Workers:
DO NOT inject Insulin.
DO NOT provide food or fluids.
DO NOT put hands in your mouth.
DO inject glucagon.
DO call for emergency help

What is Hypoglycemia Unawareness?

This is a state in which a person does not feel or recognize the symptoms of Hypoglycemia; this can cause a person to not recognize when blood glucose levels are dropping below a safe level and so they don't know when to take action to bring the glucose levels back up; this seems to occur more frequently in people who have had a lot of low blood glucose episodes or who have had Diabetes for a long time, but it doesn't happen to everyone.

In addition to Unawareness, a personís body may not respond immediately to treatment and the Hypoglycemia may last longer; people with Hypoglycemia Unawareness are also less likely to be awakened from sleep when Hypoglycemia occurs at night and they have less defenses against Hypoglycemia during exercise; this is a dangerous condition, and if you think you have Hypoglycemia Unawareness, you should consult with your health care team; sometimes, just avoiding mild Hypoglycemia can help restore a personís awareness of the symptoms of Hypoglycemia.

Some Safety Nets For Hypoglycemia Unawareness:
Increase the number of times you check every day or check at different times.
Always check before driving; if levels are low, eat and test again, until levels are no longer low.
Discuss your Hypoglycemic episodes with your health care team so that you can look for patterns to use as warning cues.
Educate the people youíre with everyday about Hypoglycemia and how to help you.
Wear an ID bracelet that identifies you as a person with Diabetes.
Ask for prescription glucagon, and be sure those around you know how to use it.
Attend a class on blood glucose awareness training offered at a specialty Diabetes clinic.

Medical IDs:

Many people with Diabetes, particularly those who use Insulin, should have a medical ID with them at all times; in the event of a severe Hypoglycemic episode, a car accident, or other emergency, the medical ID can provide critical information about the personís health status, such as the fact that they have Diabetes, whether or not they use Insulin, whether they have any allergies, etc; emergency medical personnel are trained to look for a medical ID when they are caring for someone who canít speak for themselves.

Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace; traditional IDs are etched with basic, key health information about the person and some IDs now include compact USB drives that can carry a personís full medical record for use in an emergency.

How can I prevent low blood glucose?

Your best bet is to practice good Diabetes management and learn how to detect Hypoglycemia so that you can treat it early, before it gets any worse.

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