Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)
Low blood sugar (also known as Hypoglycemia) is a
condition found in Diabetics that is characterized by low blood
glucose. When your blood sugar level drops well below normal, your
muscles and brain are starving for the energy they get from glucose to
function properly. Low blood sugar is most often a side effect of
insulin and other Type 2 Diabetes medications.
Almost all of the foods you eat have sugar of some form in it. Glucose (interactive)
including fructose and galactose are special sugars that provide energy
and cell building material for your body. Glucose is most often found
in carbohydrate-rich food, such as rice, potatoes, bread, cereal,
sweets and fruit. After you eat these carbohydrates, The carbs are
digested down to glucose. The glucose is absorbed into your bloodstream
and converted into usable energy units that are absorbed by your cells.
helps to convert glucose into the usable energy units that your cells
use for energy. Insulin also helps to store excess glucose in your
liver and muscles for later use. When those energy units are stored
instead of used, the glucose becomes glycogen. Glycogen becomes fat if it is never used by your muscles and organs.
In order for your muscles and liver to release the glycogen from
storage, your glucose level needs to fall below normal. At this point
of low glucose, your pancreas releases a hormone called called glucagon. Glucagon tells the liver to release glycogen to generate glucose.
However, many Diabetics do not have a normal response to low blood
sugar due either to their natural chemistry or to their medications.
When the body does not release the glucagon in response to low blood
sugar, it takes longer for the glucose levels to rise to a normal level
again. Usually, Diabetics must eat something with sugar in it in order
to quickly restore the glucose levels in their blood to normal levels.
Low blood sugar is usually caused naturally when your blood sugar
level drops below normal due to your Diabetes medications or eating
habits. However, Low blood sugar can also be caused by the following
Eating too little
Taking too much insulin or other Type 2 Diabetes medications
- What is the Ideal Blood Glucose Level?
Normal blood glucose levels (measured in mg/dL)
Morning (before breakfast)
Target blood glucose levels for Diabetics
Morning (before breakfast)
1-2 hours after a meal
Less than 180
Low blood sugar
70 or below
Symptoms of Low blood sugar
Low blood sugar has many symptoms, including:
Dizziness or feelings of faint
Feelings of weakness
You may also have low blood sugar during sleep, in which case you might:
Cry out or talk in your sleep
Wake up feeling tired, confused, or irritable
First test your blood with a Diabetes Testing Kit to prove you have
low blood sugar. Some low blood sugar symptoms are similar to high
blood sugar symptoms.
In most cases, you can quickly treat low blood sugar by drinking or
eating something with a high level of sugar, such as orange juice or a
piece of candy. If your low blood sugar goes untreated, you may faint,
have seizure or even lose consciousness.
Talk to your Diabetes medical team for more information about
treating your low blood sugar, as your doctor or Diabetes dietician may
suggest a particular meal plan or exercise regimen that will help to
ease the side effects of your low blood sugar.
If your blood glucose level falls below 70 mg/dL, you can raise the level quickly by taking one of the following fast-acting remedies:
½ cup of fruit juice
½ cup of soda
1 cup of milk
5 or 6 pieces of hard candy
1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar
If you suffer from Diabetic low blood sugar, be sure to tell your
family and friends about your condition. In some cases, your low blood
sugar may cause you to lose consciousness, in which case, you will need
to be injected with glucose. Type 1 Diabetics are especially prone to
this kind of insulin side effect. Thus, many Diabetics carry glucose
tablets with them for quick fixes.