Hypoglycemia: Symptoms and Treatment of Low Blood Sugar

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By : Editor

Do you ever feel dizzy or shaky in the middle of the day? Elevated heartbeat or sweating profusely out of nowhere? These may be signs of low blood sugar levels. A healthy person’s blood sugar levels may vary throughout the day depending on multiple factors. But if it drops below normal blood sugar level, it can take a dangerous form called Hypoglycemia. According to American Diabetes Association (ADA), “Low blood sugar (also known as hypoglycemia) is when your blood sugar level falls below 70 mg/dL after which you need to take action to bring them back to a healthy target range.” It can also be referred to as insulin reaction, or insulin shock.

Taking too much medication, skipping meals, eating less than normal, or exercising more than usual are the causes of low blood sugar people who have diabetes. According to a review published in June 2015 in the journal, PLoS One found that among people with type 2 diabetes, this was a common occurrence. But people who don’t have diabetes can get low blood glucose as well, which are of two kinds:

  • Reactive hypoglycemia occurs a few hours after a meal
  • Fasting hypoglycemia occurs due to medicine or a disease

 Signs and Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar

The National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), point that hypoglycemia symptoms usually appear when blood sugar levels are below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). However, this number can vary with each individual. From more common indicators to most severe, here are some low blood sugar symptoms:

  • Blurry or impaired vision
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Nervousness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Pale skin
  • Headache
  • Hunger
  • Shaking, shivers
  • Dizziness
  • Sweatiness 
  • Difficulty in falling asleep
  • Skin tingling 
  • Trouble thinking clearly or concentrating, feeling disoriented
  • Loss of consciousness, seizure, coma

The only way to know whether you are experiencing low blood sugar is to check your blood sugar immediately and for some reason you are unable to check your blood sugar, treat the hypoglycemia by ‘The 15-15 Rule’! According to the American Diabetes Association, the 15-15 Rule is to consume 15 grams of carbohydrate to raise your blood sugar and check it after 15 minutes. If it still hasn’t risen more than 70 mg/dL, have another serving. Some easily digestible carbohydrates would include:

  • Half a cup of juice (Any fruit juice) or regular soda (Not diet)
  • 1 tablespoon honey or sugar
  • 4 or 5 saltine crackers
  • 3 or 4 pieces of candy or glucose tablets

As it is easy to mistake hypoglycemia as just weakness or fatigue, the general solution of ‘eating as much as you can till you feel better’ may actually cause your blood sugar levels to shoot up quicker! Monitoring blood sugar, with either a meter or a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), is the best method for preventing hypoglycemia. If you are experiencing low blood sugar levels often bring a record of blood sugar, insulin, exercise, and food data to your physician for him to identify the cause of your lows. Your best bet is to practice good diabetes management and knowing how to detect hypoglycemia so you can treat it before it gets out of hands!