What is hypoglycemia anyway?
Low blood sugar is called hypoglycemia. This occurs when there is too much insulin in your blood and not enough sugar or glucose. For those who have Type 1 diabetes, it can be dangerous and even life threatening. So listen up.
It’s important to plan ahead for low blood sugar. And to know the early symptoms of hypoglycemia.
Early symptoms of low blood sugar
Ø Pale skin
Ø Pounding heart
Ø Frequent sighing
Ø Nausea or vomiting
Late symptoms can make you seem to be drunk or violent and it is very serious.
Late symptoms of low blood sugar
Ø Blurred vision
Ø Impaired coordination
Ø Personality change
Ø Numbness in the mouth
How does hypoglycemia happen?
Hypoglycemia can happen if you overestimate the amount of insulin you need and take too much of it, or if you don’t eat enough food to compensate for the amount of insulin you took. It also happens if you get more exercise than usual, or if you eat later than usual, or miss a meal or snack.
Strategies to raise your blood sugar level
If your blood sugar is too low (less than 70 mg/dl), it’s important to bring your level up immediately. Drink half a cup of orange juice or half a cup of apple juice. You can also take a tablespoon of honey, molasses or corn syrup. Another option is to buy 5mg tabs of glucose and take 3 of those. Or you can even follow the advice of the song and take a rounded tablespoon full of sugar to help. Wait fifteen minutes and then take a blood sugar reading.
Believe it or not, there is a condition called hypoglycemia unawareness. It happens when you don’t experience or feel the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Around 20% of people with diabetes have this condition. It is more likely in people who have had diabetes for a long time or who have had many episodes of hypoglycemia.
Strategies for coping with hypoglycemia unawareness include setting your target blood sugar levels higher so that you have only a couple of low sugar episodes in a week. Discuss this with your physician. Another strategy is to test your blood sugar levels before doing an activity that requires full attention, like driving. Reducing the frequency of low blood sugars can help bring your awareness of hypoglycemia back.
With a little planning, you can do anything
So that is the scoop on low blood sugar. Planning ahead and carrying glucose tablets or even hard candy is key. Then you can do anything with Type 1 diabetes!