Blood sugar refers to the glucose present in our blood. This glucose is formed from the food we eat. It is carried through our bloodstream to different parts of the body mainly to provide energy. Measuring blood glucose is an essential measure of our health.
Hypoglycemia refers to low blood sugar. This is a condition when blood sugar concentrations fall below normal. Without enough glucose, our body will not be able to perform its normal functions. It can be a concern for people with diabetes taking certain blood sugar-lowering medications, but it can also affect people who don’t have diabetes.
An episode of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) comes on very suddenly and you must be aware of how to tackle it effectively.
Causes of Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia is usually seen as a side effect of Diabetes treatment. Some common causes of Hypoglycemia include:
- Overmedication with insulin or Anti diabetic pills
- Drinking too much of alcohol
- Missed meals. Hypoglycemia may occur in people with cancer who are on chemotherapy, which often causes loss of appetite
- Genetic defects in the regulation of Insulin release
- Liver failure – ability of liver to generate new glucose gets impaired
- Pituitary and adrenal gland disorders affect the production of glucose
Symptoms of Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia means that there is not enough glucose reaching our brain. With drop in blood sugar our brain gets impacted immediately and we start feeling weak and fatigued. There is also a blurred/ impaired vision. Sometimes you tend to feel extremely hungry as well.
Other symptoms may also include-
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Paleness, cold/clammy skin
What to do when you feel hypoglycemic ?
If your blood glucose is less than 70 mg/dL, immediate action must be taken to increase the blood sugar level. In such a condition the healthiest thing to do is get your glucose levels up, immediately.
- Get some carbohydrates into your body immediately – snack on something sweet, maybe glucose tablets
- Drinking fruit juices or simple plain water with added sugar also helps.
Check the levels again after 15 minutes and eat some other carb rich snack in case it is still low. Once you're above 70, follow up with a protein snack to help stabilize your blood sugar.
Untreated mild to moderate hypoglycemia can lead to severe hypoglycemia and unconsciousness. Such a situation requires the intervention of a special and cannot be self treated.
How to prevent hypoglycemia?
- Regularly checking your blood sugar level can help you keep it in your target range
- Keeping quick fix foods around you whether in office or in the dashboard of your car is a good practice.
- People with Hypoglycemia must check their blood glucose level frequently especially during long journey trips. If the person is driving, there could be trouble concentrating or seeing clearly.
- Be aware of what causes the sugar levels to drop, when is it that it usually drops – maintaining a record of these things will better prepare you to handle situations.
- It’s critical to eat small snacks every 2-3 three hours. This helps prevent your blood glucose from falling too low.
- Maintain a healthy body weight by consuming a healthy diet and engaging in adequate exercise.
Are you diabetic? Do you monitor your blood sugar levels?