After some time, you are good at reducing your blood sugar levels to your normal range. However, this can sometimes lead to lowering too much your blood sugar levels resulting in hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia happens when there is more than sufficient insulin while too little glucose is in your bloodstream to supply the cells in your brain as well as the muscles to have them function properly.
Since hypoglycemia happens very fast, it is necessary to realize its coming and have it treated without delay. The danger of having sudden uncontrollable muscular movements and going into a coma is the result of your brain not getting sufficient glucose from the bloodstream to function as it should.
Hypoglycemia can occur when:
- You do not eat after taking your medicine.
- You eat too little for the dosage taken.
- You miss a meal.
- You exercise excessively.
Hypoglycemia are put under three levels:
- Mild Hypoglycemia.
- Moderate Hypoglycemia.
- Severe Hypoglycemia.
Mild hypoglycemia will progress to moderate and, finally, severe, if left untreated.
The signs for mild hypoglycemia are dizziness, shakiness, nervousness, pounding heartbeat, tiredness, drowsiness, sweating, feeling of insufficient blood to the lips and abrupt hunger pangs.
For moderate hypoglycemia, the symptoms are slow and unclear speech, bad coordination, inability to concentrate, headache, irritability, blurred vision and a change in personality.
In severe hypoglycemia, which is an emergency case, uncontrollable shaking of the body and coma result.
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Before treating yourself for hypoglycemia, it is better to confirm that what you are experiencing is indeed hypoglycemia. Test for blood glucose levels to determine if your reactions are indicative of low blood glucose levels.
Since hypoglycemia is the result of too much insulin but too little glucose in your bloodstream, providing yourself with sugary food is the treatment. It requires approximately a quarter of an hour for the food to be taken into the bloodstream and you notice the uncomfortable feeling of hypoglycemia recede. However, it is important not to give yourself too much sugary food or drinks in your treatment as that can take you to the other problem of too high blood glucose levels.
Once you have confirmed with a blood test that you have hypoglycemia, you must treat it without any delay.
Blood glucose levels lower than 60 mg/dL indicates low blood glucose level. Even if you are unable to check the blood glucose level but have the symptoms given above, you should:
- Give yourself 15 grams of equivalent or glucose, like a 4 oz. glass of juice, or a 10 oz. glass of skim milk or 4 Dex®Glucose Tablets. Chocolates or candy bars are not the best things to use for raising your blood glucose since they have fat which will slow down the required raise in blood sugar.
- Since it takes a quarter of an hour for the food to increase your blood glucose, you have to wait for that long before you administer another test.
- And if the test indicates that your blood glucose is still below 60 mg/dL, you will need another dose of glucose of the same amount.
With the blood glucose level too low, you could go into a coma. In a coma, no food or drink can be given to you. Therefore, someone living with you should learn how to administer a glucagon injection so that he can give you such an injection at such times. The EMS (Emergency Medical Service) or a doctor must be requested to check your problem.
To Prevent Hypoglycemia:
- Follow strictly the times for food and medicine.
- Sufficient food for the dosage of medicine must be taken.
- Alcohol must never be taken on an empty stomach.
- Be ready with some carbohydrates food to counter any delay in your meals.
- Your blood glucose level should be at its lowest before any meal, if you are using insulin.
- If you exercise more than usual, you should eat more to have sufficient glucose in your blood for the extra energy expended.
- Inform your doctor or your health-care team of any incidents of unexpected hypoglycemia.
Nighttime low blood sugar can also be prevented by doing the following:
- Just before your late night snack, test your blood glucose level. If the test shows lower than 120 mg/dL, you should eat a little more food comprising of protein and carbohydrates.( see How To Test Your Blood Glucose)
- Should your blood glucose level be high in the morning, test your blood glucose at three in the morning. And if you find your glucose levels low then, you can administer a lower dosage of long-lasting insulin (Ultralente or Lantus®) or NPH(intermediate insulin) at evening time. Because these adjustments are not easily understood, you should talk with your doctor on the matter.(see Types Of Insulin)
- Roommates and family member ought to be made to understand that sweating, nightmares, and seizures at night can be signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia. So are headaches in the morning and these people must be ready to administer treatment with glucose tablets, glucagon or gels, whenever needed.