Friday, June 5, 2020

Low Blood Sugar Levels - Some Interesting Facts

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Low Blood Sugar Levels - Some Interesting Facts


Low Blood Sugar Levels - Some Interesting Facts


Be a little sweet-tooth, please…


What is it?

When blood sugar levels fall below 70 mg/dL, people may experience symptoms of low blood sugar. Some people may feel very sick with blood sugar levels of 70 mg/dL, while others might not notice signs until blood sugar dips lower than this. Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, is one of many potential risk factors for a person with diabetes.
A person who has frequent episodes of hypoglycemia will become gradually less aware of these symptoms.

Causes of Low Blood Sugar 


  • Taking certain medicines and eating too few carbohydrates
  • Skipping or delaying meals
  • Taking too much insulin or diabetes pills
  • Being more active than usual
  • low-carbohydrate diets
  • an insulin-producing tumor (insulinoma)
  • other hormonal imbalances, such as low adrenal function and low growth hormone
  • accidental ingestion of anti-diabetic drugs


Symptoms to look out for…

 Hypoglycemia can cause:


  • Symptoms related to the brain "starving" for sugar - Headache, dizziness, blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, poor coordination, confusion, weakness or fainting, tingling sensations in the lips or hands, confused speech, abnormal behavior, convulsions, loss of consciousness, coma
  • Symptoms related to the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine - Sweating, tremors (feeling shaky), rapid heartbeat, anxiety, hunger


Categories of Hypoglycemia

Typically, hypoglycemia is subdivided into three categories: symptomatic, asymptomatic, and severe hypoglycemia.

  • Symptomatic - Common signs of symptomatic hypoglycemia include a racing heart, shakiness, hunger, sweating, and nausea. These are signs that your body is trying to correct for low blood sugar and is called the counterregulatory response. With the counterregulatory response, your body reduces the insulin it makes, increases the production of a hormone called glucagon (the anti-insulin hormone) and increases adrenaline.


  • Asymptomatic- Person with blood sugars frequently less than 70 mg/d may develop asymptomatic hypoglycemia. This happens when the body’s response to hypoglycemia can be dulled due to the loss of the counterregulatory response. People experiencing asymptomatic hypoglycemia may not have symptoms until their blood sugar drops very low, affecting brain function. 


  • Severe-Severe hypoglycemia refers to a type of hypoglycemia that makes you unable to treat yourself due to confusion, sleepiness, or even coma, requiring the assistance of others. At extremely low blood sugar levels, seizure and even death can occur.

Am I at risk?


  • Anyone diagnosed with diabetes that is taking medication for blood sugar control, whether it’s a pill or injections, is at risk for hypoglycemia.
  • Age also can be a factor when it comes to hypoglycemia. Those over age 65 may be at increased risk for hypoglycemia because of the body’s slower clearance of diabetic medications and an impaired counterregulatory response.
  • Additionally, certain medications increase the risk of hypoglycemia. Insulin, either through subcutaneous (under the skin) injections or from an insulin pump, can lead to hypoglycemia in certain conditions.

If you think you have low blood sugar…


  • Be able to verbalize what to do if you feel that your blood sugar is low. You should always have 15 grams of carbs, as a low blood sugar treatment, in your pocket, purse. 
  • When hunger is the culprit, eating a glucose-rich meal, such as fruit and pancakes, can quickly raise blood glucose levels.
  • Consuming rapid-acting carbohydrates, such as 8 ounces of fruit juice, regular coke, glucose tablets, or candy is also a good way to treat low sugar levels.
  • Following the rule of 15 is a good way to ensure a proportionate response to hypoglycemia.




Treat by eating or drinking 15 grams of something high in sugar, such as:


  • 4 ounces (½ cup) of regular fruit juice (like orange, apple, or grape juice)
  • 4 ounces (½ cup) of regular soda pop (not diet)
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) of milk
  • 3 or 4 glucose tablets
  • 5 to 6 candies that you can chew quickly (such as mints)


Wait 15 minutes and then check your blood sugar again. If it is still low, eat or drink something high in sugar again. Once your blood sugar returns to normal, eat a meal or snack. This can help keep low blood sugar from coming back.
An important but often-forgotten response to low blood sugar levels in the prevention of future events.

  • After a hypoglycemic episode, determining what caused it is essential to avoid low blood sugar episodes in the future. 
  • Making note of the possible cause and informing your diabetes healthcare team about such episodes is extremely helpful. This can allow for discussion of how future episodes of hypoglycemia can be prevented and guide changes in medication regimens.

Overall


  • Low blood sugar happens for many different reasons. It is vital not to self-diagnose. Even if symptoms go away after eating a meal, consider making permanent lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of morning blood sugar drops.
  • Healthful changes include eating a later dinner or having a snack before bed. See a doctor for help managing chronically low blood sugar.
  • Extremely low blood sugar prevents the body from getting the energy it needs and is a medical emergency. So, if eating a meal does not relieve symptoms, a person should go to the emergency room or call a trusted doctor.
  • Most people who experience low blood sugar can manage symptoms with a few simple lifestyle changes. Though low blood sugar can make a person feel very ill, it is not always a cause for concern.
  • When blood sugar levels are dangerously low, prompt treatment will increase the chances of a full recovery.


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