A blood sugar below 70 mg/dl is called hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Certain diabetes pills make the body produce more insulin. If you take these pills or inject insulin, you are at risk for low blood sugars.
The following actions can lead to low blood sugars:
- Eating too little
- Skipping a meal or a snack
- Being very active
- Drinking alcohol
- Taking more insulin or diabetes pills than you need
If your blood sugar goes too low, you may get some of these symptoms:
- Fast heart beat
- Blurred vision
- Upset or bad tempered
In most cases, you can treat low blood sugar simply and quickly.
- Check your blood sugar to be sure it's low (less than 70 mg/dl).
- Then eat or drink 15 grams of quick acting carbohydrate such as 3 glucose tables, a cup fruit juice or 6-7 small hard candies.
- After 15 minutes, check your blood sugar again to make sure it went up to a normal level.
- Then eat a small snack such as a sandwich, or 1 oz. cheese with 4-6 snack crackers.
- If the blood sugar did not rise, treat again.
What is so bad about low blood sugars?
Low blood sugars are serious. If one occurs when you are driving a car or working with heavy equipment, it could cause an accident. If low blood sugar is not treated, you could pass out and need medical help. Learn how to prevent and treat low blood sugars.
- Teach your household members about low blood sugars.
- If they find you passed out, they should call 911.
- If you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes and take insulin, they can also give you a shot of glucagon to raise your blood sugar. Glucagon is a hormone that raises the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Make sure you have a glucagon kit at home. People with type 2 diabetes who do not take insulin, would rarely pass out from a low blood sugar.
Low blood sugar can make you feel bad and spoil your day. Take control of your health. Work with your health care team to control your blood sugar levels and prevent low blood sugars.
If you have further questions about hypoglycemia, contact your diabetes healthcare team.