What is hypoglycemia?
• Low blood sugar <70 mg/dL
• Symptoms include: hunger, sweats, shakes, blurry vision, weakness, fatigue, confusion, passing out, seizures, heart palpitations
• Sometimes, after having diabetes for several years, patients lose their ability to sense their blood sugar is low and no longer have symptoms – this is called “hypoglycemia unawareness”
When does it occur?
• Most commonly occurs in individuals who have diabetes mellitus and are on medication that can cause low blood sugars
• However, exercise and excessive alcohol intake can also lower blood sugar
• In rare instances, low blood sugar can be caused by a growth or problem with the pancreas (gland that sits under the stomach)
• Can also happen in those who have pre-diabetes after a meal
How do I treat my low blood sugar?
• If you are having symptoms of a low blood sugar, check your finger stick by glucometer!
• If your blood sugar is <70mg/dL, eat a quick source of sugar
o Examples: 3-4 glucose tablets, ½ cup of juice or regular soda, 2 tbsp raisins, 4-5 saltine crackers, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp honey or corn syrup, 6-8 hard candies
• Always carry a quick source such as one of these above for emergent situations
• 15:15 rule – consume 15 grams of carbohydrates and wait 15 minutes to recheck blood sugar
• Call 911 if the blood sugar does not rise after treatment!
How to prevent low blood sugars:
• Check blood sugar by finger stick using a glucometer regularly
• Always check blood sugar when you don’t feel well