Low Blood Sugar (hypoglycemia)

Blood glucose (also called blood sugar) levels will vary – up or down. This is normal. If it varies within a certain range, you probably won’t be able to tell. But if it goes below the healthy range and is not treated, it can get dangerous.

Hypoglycemia happens when your blood glucose levels have fallen low enough that you need to take action to bring them back to your target range. This is usually when your blood glucose is less than 70 mg/dL. 

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

Signs and Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar
If low blood sugar is not treated, it can become severe and cause you to pass out. If low blood sugar is a problem for you, talk to your doctor or diabetes team.

Symptoms can include:
Feeling shaky
Being nervous or anxious
Sweating, chills and clamminess
Irritability or impatience
Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
Feeling Sleepy
Feeling weak or having no energy

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, vehicle, and at home.

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Check your blood sugar right away if you have any symptoms of low blood sugar. If you think your blood sugar is low but cannot check it at that time, treat anyway.

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.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects 30.3 million Americans. Although there is no cure for diabetes, it can be managed to help reduce the risk of complications. Columbus Regional Health Diabetes Services can help. The diabetes team at Columbus Regional Health educates people with diabetes and their families to help them better understand and treat their disease.

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