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Managing Hypoglycemia

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What is hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia means “low blood sugar.” This means that your blood sugar has dropped below 70 mg/dL. There are different levels of hypoglycemia and different ways to treat it.

What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia?

Some people might feel shaky, sweaty, hungry, irritable, or nervous. Additionally, some people might experience headaches, weakness, trouble concentrating, or a fast/irregular heartbeat.           

How do I know if I have low blood sugar?

You may be able to tell if your blood sugar is low if you experience symptoms. However, sometimes our bodies don’t always send us consistent messages. The ONLY way to truly know if we have a low blood sugar is to check with a FDA approved glucose meter.

How do I make my blood sugar go up, but not too high?

First, be sure your blood sugar is truly low by using your glucometer.

  • If it is between 59 and 70: 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates can bring your blood sugar back to normal.
  • If it is less than 59: you may need more than 15 grams of carbohydrates to treat.

Fast acting carbohydrates include regular soda, candies, glucose tabs or gel, skim milk, or some juices. Although tempting to eat as much as you can when your blood sugar is low, try to avoid doing so. Start with 15 grams of carbohydrate, check your blood sugar in 15 minutes, and treat again if it is still lower than 70. Once your blood sugar is normal, eat a small snack to prevent another low. Do not use chocolate or candies with nuts. The fat from these foods won’t allow your blood sugar to go up quickly.

What happens if my blood sugar is low and I’m unconscious or asleep?

If a family member or friend who is using insulin is unconscious, jerking or unable to swallow, glucagon should be given, even if you’re not sure the cause is low glucose. Glucagon is an injectable medication used to treat severe hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. While insulin decreases sugar in the blood, glucagon works the opposite way to increase sugar levels in the blood when it is too low. Food or sugary drinks should not be given to someone who is unconscious or unable to swallow safely.

Your doctor can prescribe you with glucagon. It’s important to teach people in your lives how to use it. Watch our video and share with your loved ones, coaches, teachers, and support system.

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