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If you have diabetes, you know that keeping your blood sugar levels in check is important. But what do you do when they start to dip too low?
Your body needs glucose, a type of sugar, for energy. Glucose comes from the food you consume and is also made by your liver and muscles. When your blood sugar level starts to fall, you may feel shaky, dizzy, have blurred vision or lightheaded. You may get sweaty or have a fast heartbeat. These are called hypoglycemia or low blood sugar symptoms.
It can be serious when your blood sugar gets too low. You could faint or have a seizure. Low blood sugar is dangerous for people with diabetes and has the potential to result in a coma or death if not treated right away. People with type 1 diabetes usually struggle with low blood sugar, and without proper management, it could lead to potential severe hypoglycemia.
It’s vital to know how to raise your blood sugar quickly.
The best way to do that is by eating or drinking foods that contain sugar and simple carbohydrates. Here are six examples:
1. Fruit juice and regular soda
2. Table sugar, honey, or corn syrup
3. Hard candy or gumdrops
4. Sports drinks
5. Dried fruit
6. Cake, cookies, or other desserts
7. Slice of bread (either whole-grain breads white bread)
8. Tablespoons of raisins
When you have diabetes, your body is lacking insulin or is unable to use its own insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose to enter your cells and provide them energy. When there isn’t enough insulin or the insulin isn’t working properly, too much sugar stays in your blood. That can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease, blindness, nerve damage, and kidney disease.
If you have diabetes and your blood sugar starts to drop, eat or drink a food or beverage with sugar in it right away. The sugar will help raise your blood sugar level. Be sure to check your blood sugar level again after 15 minutes to make sure it’s rising. If it’s not, eat or drink another item with sugar in it. You can check your blood sugar with your insulin pump, a continuous glucose monitor, or convenient and easy-to-use test strips.
Yes, you can with glucose gel and chewable glucose tabs.
Glucose gel is a thick, clear liquid that you squeeze from a tube. It’s absorbed quickly through the lining of your mouth.
Chewable glucose tablets are just what they sound like – sugar in tablet form that you chew and then swallow. They come in different fruit flavors.
Both glucose gel and chewable tablets are available without a prescription. You can find them at most pharmacies and some grocery stores.
If you have diabetes, you should always carry glucose gel or tablets with you in case your blood sugar starts to drop. Check your blood sugar level before you eat or drink anything sugary. And be sure to follow up with a snack or meal that has protein and the proper grams of carbohydrate to help keep your blood sugar level from dropping again.
Not everyone has the same symptoms from hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels), and some people may not have any symptoms at all. It varies entirely from person to person. If you have diabetes, it’s important to know your own signs and symptoms of low blood sugar to treat it quickly.
If you don’t have diabetes, you may still experience hypoglycemia if you take insulin or other diabetes medications. Other hypoglycemia causes include drinking alcohol, not eating enough food, or skipping a meal.
If you have symptoms of hypoglycemia, check your blood sugar level right away. Treat your low sugar levels if it’s below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
If you often have hypoglycemia or your blood sugar levels drop too low, talk to your doctor. They can help provide you with some health tips, find the cause, and make changes to your diet or effective methods to your medication schedule. You may need to change your diabetes medication, insulin dose, and diabetes treatment plan if you are experiencing more frequent episodes.
You should also see your doctor if you have diabetes and are pregnant. Low blood sugar is more common during pregnancy and can be dangerous for you and your baby.
Hypoglycemia unawareness is dangerous; it's important to know how to keep your blood glucose levels within a normal range. There are a few things you can do to prevent low blood sugar levels:
If you have diabetes, it’s important to know your own signs and symptoms of low blood sugar to treat it quickly. Make sure you're aware of your personal healthy range. You should also carry glucose gel or tablets with you in case your blood sugar levels drop. If you often have hypoglycemia, a frequent rise in blood sugar, or any other issues with your insulin level, talk to your doctor. They, along with your diabetes care team, can help you find the cause and make changes to your diet or medication schedule.