What Are the Risk Factors?
The following people have a greater risk of experiencing hypoglycemia:
- People taking insulin or insulin shots
- Persons who use oral diabetes medications like sulfonylureas
- Those with liver or kidney failure
- People who have had diabetes for an extended period of time
- Others who don’t experience hypoglycemic symptoms (hypoglycemia unawareness)
- People who take multiple medications
- People with disabilities that may prevent a faster response to lowered blood sugar
- Persons who have an increased alcohol intake
What Are the Possible Complications?
Being unaware of its symptoms and inability to receive immediate treatment may prove fatal. The brain is in constant in need of glucose to function, so having low blood sugar levels may cause:
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
Note that you must familiarize yourself with your own early symptoms. Hypoglycemia can increase the risk of grave, if not deadly, mishaps.
How To Deal with Low Blood Sugar
Here are some ways to be prepared and be able to deal with hypoglycemia:
Monitor and treat your blood sugar early. Monitor and check your blood sugar level often to treat yourself if needed. If you have had hypoglycemia for a long time now, you may not notice its symptoms until it worsens. Careful monitoring will make sure that your glucose levels are within your doctor’s recommended target range.
Never skip meals or delay snacks. You need to be consistent with what you eat and when you consume meals, especially when you are taking insulin or other types of diabetic medications.
Take medicine on time. Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor.
Adjust your medication and food intake according to your physical activities. Balancing how much you eat with the type of your activities will aid in decreasing the frequency of hypoglycemic episodes.
Eat something while ingesting alcohol. Drinking alcohol can cause delayed hypoglycemic episodes hours later. Hence it would be wise to eat something while you drink.
Record your blood sugar levels. This will aid not only yourself, but as well as your doctor in identifying the cause of your hypoglycemic episodes, and finding ways to prevent them.
How To Treat Hypoglycemia
If you have possible symptoms, here are possible treatment methods:
Consume small amounts of fast-acting carbohydrates. These are simple carbohydrates that are quickly absorbed in the body. These include glucose tablets, fruit juice, honey, and sugary candy.
Recheck blood sugar levels 15 minutes after treatment. If blood sugar levels are still under your target range, eat or drink more food, then check your blood sugar levels again after 15 minutes. Repeat this until your blood sugar level is back to normal range.
Have a snack or meal. Once it turns back to normal, go eat some snacks or meals that can help stabilize and replenish your blood sugar.
For cases of severe hypoglycemia, you may need someone to help you recover or take a glucagon injection from a glucagon kit. When there is no glucagon kit available, call for emergency medical assistance.
Hypoglycemia is a condition common to patients with diabetes that should not be ignored. When early signs of low blood sugar appear, do not hesitate to contact a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment. When left untreated, it could lead to fatigue, fainting or even death.