Preventing and managing Hypoglycemia Low Blood Sugar: learn about causes, symptoms, and practical solutions for stability
Hypoglycemia can cause serious problems, from dizziness and palpitations to seizures and loss of consciousness.
Hypoglycemia occurs when the amount of glucose or sugar in the blood falls below the normal level. Many know it as ‘Hypo’ for short. Hypoglycemia occurs primarily in patients with diabetes, especially those requiring insulin.
On the other hand, hyperglycemia refers to increased blood sugar levels.
Hypoglycemia can cause serious problems, from dizziness and palpitations to seizures and loss of consciousness. So it is important to identify the symptoms of ‘hypo’ and start treatment quickly. It is usually possible to treat it yourself at home.
Symptoms of low blood sugar
The symptoms of hypoglycemia can vary from person to person. If you have a history of frequent low blood sugar, you may be able to tell if you are experiencing hypoglycemia by observing the symptoms yourself. However, your symptoms may also vary over time.
Some of the early signs of low blood sugar are: If not treated quickly, serious problems such as seizures and loss of consciousness can occur.
Early symptoms are:
- Excessive sweating
- Feeling tired
- Feeling hungry
- Pins and needles around the lips
- Trembling in the body
- Chest palpitations
- Being easily upset, tearful, agitated, or cranky
- Turning pale
Delaying treatment may lead to the emergence of additional symptoms. For example-
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating on work
- Incoherent behavior, slurred speech, and loss of balance (such as when drunk)
- Sleepy sleepy
- Fainting or fainting
The patient may become ‘hypo’ even during sleep. This results in the following symptoms:
- Experiencing sleeplessness at night can be challenging.
- Feeling tired
- Wetting the bed sheets from excessive sweating throughout the night
Causes of low blood sugar
The main reasons why the blood sugar level of diabetic patients becomes ‘hypo’ are:
- Drug effects—especially diabetes medications, insulin in excess, sulfonylureas (e.g., glibenclamide and gliclazide) and glinides (e.g., repaglinide and nateglinide), or hepatitis C medications
- Skipping meals or eating late
not eating enough sugary foods during meals. For example: rice, bread, potatoes, bread, pasta, and fruits
- Exercising—especially strenuous exercise, heavy work, or unplanned exercise
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or consuming alcohol on an empty stomach.
Sometimes there is no clear cause for low blood sugar. Sometimes even people without diabetes can have low blood sugar.
Apart from diabetes, there are other causes of low blood sugar:
People who do not have diabetes do not usually have hypoglycemia. But apart from diabetes, other causes of low blood sugar include:
- Excess insulin is released in the body after eating. This condition is caused by various reasons, including stomach surgery. In this case, symptoms of hypoglycemia usually appear 4 hours after eating a sugary meal.
- Abstinence or fasting
- Pregnancy complications
- Gastric bypass surgery (an operation on the stomach for weight loss)
- Uncontrolled alcohol consumption
- Various physical problems For example-
Various health problems, such as adrenal gland disease or heart disease
- some medicine E.g., quinine is used to treat malaria.
Consult a doctor if symptoms of hypoglycemia occur repeatedly. The doctor will suggest some simple tests to determine if the blood sugar level has actually gone down. Also, try to find out what is causing these symptoms.
What to do when blood sugar levels drop:
If blood sugar drops below 4 points or symptoms of hypoglycemia occur, do the following:
Step 1: Eat sugary foods or drink sugary drinks.
Have a small glass of soft drink (e.g., Coke or Seven Up) or fruit juice. Alternatively, eat a small handful of sweets or three to six glucose or dextrose tablets.
If you have a tube of glucose gel at home, take two tubes of gel by mouth.
Step 2: Measure your blood sugar after 10 minutes.
If it is 4 points or more and you feel better than before, go to step 3.
If blood sugar is still below 4 points, go back to step 1 and eat a sugary drink or food. Check blood sugar again after 10–15 minutes.
Step 3: If it is already time for you to eat, then eat. In this case, you should choose foods that slowly supply sugar to the body.
The food can be flour bread (red flour bread is better), khichuri cooked with pulses and vegetables, red rice, or oats. You can eat cow’s milk or curd with them. In this case, it is better to choose low-fat milk and curd.
If it’s not time to eat, eat a sugary snack. Breakfast can be a piece of bread (whole grain is best), a few biscuits, or a glass of cow’s milk.
If you feel better than before or have only a handful of hypoglycemia symptoms, you usually won’t need to go to the hospital. But if you have repeated hypoglycemia or you have no symptoms even after your blood sugar has dropped, you should contact your doctor.
How to treat someone who has fainted:
First, place the patient in a special position called ‘the’recovery position’ as described below. Then arrange for the patient to be taken to the hospital as soon as possible.
Avoid feeding the patient to prevent anything from getting stuck in their throat when they are lethargic.
Ways to place the patient in the recovery position:
Getting the patient into this position as directed is somewhat challenging. But doing it right can reduce the chances of the patient suffocating. Below are the nine steps for placing the patient in the recovery position:
1. Place the patient on his back.
2. Kneel to one side of the patient. Bend the patient’s arm, which is near you, at right angles to the patient’s body. That is, place the patient’s arm horizontally along the shoulder. Keep it like this so that the palm of the hand is facing upwards.
3. Fold the patient’s other hand in a special way. For this, you place the patient’s other hand on the cheek where the patient is sitting. Fold the patient’s hand so that the back of the hand rests on the patient’s cheek. Now hold the patient’s hand on his cheek with one of your hands.
4. Now bend the patient’s knee away from you. Bend the patient’s knee to a 90-degree angle or right angle with your free hand.
5. Hold the patient’s bent knee and carefully pull the patient to one side. Tilt so that the patient is facing you. The lower leg should be longer.
6. It should be ensured that the patient’s folded, i.e., hand placed on the cheek, keeps the head balanced. The patient’s other arm, i.e., the arm placed horizontally, will prevent excessive tilting to one side.
7. Ensure that the patient’s bent knee stays at a right angle even after tilting.
8. Gently tilt the patient’s head back and hold the snout up. Open the airway like this. Note if anything is obstructing breathing.
9. Maintain constant observation of the patient until making arrangements to transport them to the hospital.
Note: If you have a glucagon injection at hand and know how to administer it, place the patient in the recovery position and give this injection. However, if the patient has consumed alcohol before experiencing hypoglycemia, it should be avoided.
If the patient’s condition does not improve within 10 minutes after the injection, healthcare providers should urgently take them to the hospital.
If the patient regains consciousness and feels well within 10 minutes of the injection, monitor the patient’s condition. If he can eat properly, give him a sugary snack. For snacks, choose a piece of bread or toast (whole grain is best), a few biscuits, or a glass of cow’s milk.
Even if the patient regains consciousness, the patient should be admitted to the hospital in the following two cases:
If blood sugar drops again
It is important to tell your doctor if you ever lose consciousness due to severe hypoglycemia.
How to treat someone having a seizure:
If someone has a seizure due to low blood sugar, follow these steps:
1. Stay with the patient. Ensure the patient’s safety to prevent any harm. Place the patient on something soft. Keep the patient away from all dangerous objects. For example, roads, stoves, heaters, radiators, and exposed electrical connections
2. If the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, arrange for the patient to be taken to the hospital urgently.
3. When the seizure stops, allow the patient to eat sugary foods and follow the usual procedures for treating hypoglycemia.
It is important to tell your doctor if you have ever had a seizure due to severe hypoglycemia.
Home remedies to prevent low blood sugar:
Diabetics can reduce the risk of hypoglycemia by following the following six tips:
1. Regularly measure blood sugar levels. Be aware of the symptoms of low blood sugar. In this way, if the symptoms of hypoglycemia appear, it will be possible to avoid serious complications by starting treatment quickly.
2. Always have some sugary food or drink with you. For example, glucose or dextrose tablets, fruit juice, some sweets, or lozenges If there is a glucagon injection kit, it should always be carried.
3. You must not skip any meal. One must take every meal at the right time. Breakfast, in particular, cannot be skipped in any way. Consult your doctor if you follow a special diet.
4. Be careful while exercising. Eating sugary snacks before exercise helps reduce the risk of hypoglycemia. It may be necessary to reduce the dose of some diabetes medications, including insulin, before or after vigorous exercise. Find out more about this from the doctor.
5. In particular, patients using insulin may become hypoactive during sleep. To prevent this from happening, have a sugary snack like a biscuit or a piece of bread before going to bed.
6. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
If your blood sugar drops frequently, consult your doctor to find out how to prevent it.
Driving with low blood sugar
You may be able to drive if you have low blood sugar due to diabetes or another disease. But in this case, it is very important to take some extra precautions to avoid danger.
Diabetic patients may have to drive vehicles (e.g., CNG, automobiles, pickups, buses, and trucks) for professional reasons or for daily commuting. In this case, the following three things should be ensured to avoid the risk of hypoglycemia:
- Measure the blood sugar level within 2 hours before driving.
- Measure blood sugar level after 2 hours after driving for a long time.
- Carry sugary snacks and sugary foods like bananas or flour bread when starting the journey.
If it seems that the sugar level has reduced to ‘hypo’ while moving, then
- Stop the car at a safe place.
- Remove the key and shut off the car.
- Get out of the driver’s seat.
- The blood sugar level should be measured with the help of a glucometer. If hypoglycemia occurs, seek immediate medical attention.
- Do not drive until you feel normal for at least 45 minutes.
Driving with low blood sugar puts yourself and others at serious risk. So if you feel unwell or have symptoms of hypoglycemia, avoid driving and seek medical attention immediately. Discuss this in detail with your doctor and take the right steps.
Hypoglycemia Low Blood Sugar:
In summary, hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a condition that needs to be managed carefully and proactively. Maintaining stable levels of glucose in the blood requires identifying the symptoms, comprehending the true causes, and putting realistic remedies into practice. Individuals can create customized management programs that may involve food alterations, routine monitoring, medication adjustments, and modifications to their lives by collaborating closely with healthcare providers. To avoid incidents of hypoglycemia and the possible difficulties they may cause, it is critical to remain alert and responsive. People with hypoglycemia are able to enhance their general health and well-being by better controlling the amount of sugar in their blood with appropriate medical treatment.
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