Fast Recognition of Hypoglycemia Symptoms is a Vital Diabetes Survival Skill
Recognizing hypoglycemia symptoms is one of the most important diabetes survival skills. Unfortunately many people are put on diabetes medicines that have a risk of hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar) and they are never taught to recognize the symptoms or what to do about it. Glucose (blood sugar) is the body’s source of energy. Hypoglycemia means that there is not enough energy to meet the body’s needs. If this is not treated appropriately there is a possibility that this can progress to a medical emergency.
Hypoglycemia occurs when the blood sugar drops below 70. Most people feel symptoms when the blood sugar drops below 60. The symptoms of hypoglycemia are related to one of two causes. Some of the symptoms are the result of the body not having enough glucose for energy needs. These are symptoms like confusion, fuzzy thinking, sleepiness, irritability, impaired vision, anger, lack of coordination and other similar symptoms. Other symptoms are related to the fight or flight syndrome that occurs in the body because it recognizes hypoglycemia as an emergency. These are symptoms like shakiness, palpitations (rapid heart rate), anxiety, sweating, clamminess, etc. The person may also feel extremely hungry as the body tries to correct the situation. If not treated, hypoglycemia can progress to seizures, unconsciousness or even death.
How to treat hypoglycemia
Treating hypoglycemia symptoms is simple, especially if it is recognized early. Simply eat 15g of carbohydrates, rest and re-test 15 minutes later. If the blood sugar is still low, eat another 15g of carbs. You can buy glucose tablets or glucose gel at your drug store that serve this purpose. You could also eat any carbohydrate food like a glass of milk, soda (not diet), juice, crackers, etc. Eat a small meal within the next hour. If hypoglycemia is so severe that a person has passed out or has become uncooperative they may need an injection called glucagon that would have to be given by someone else. People who experience frequent low blood sugars may have this medication prescribed. If this medication is not available, emergency medical services must be called.
How to avoid hypoglycemia
Some of the best ways to prevent hypoglycemia are to eat meals at regular intervals, take medications as prescribed and recognize and treat symptoms early before they progress to a medical emergency.
This post is Day 19 of 31 Days to Better Nutrition.