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Preventing Diabetic Hypoglycemia

Preventing Diabetic Hypoglycemia

What is Diabetic Hypoglycemia?

For those with diabetes, when there is too much insulin and not enough sugar (glucose) in the blood, low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia occurs. Though there is no one cause to the sudden drop in blood sugar, there are early warning signs and common factors you can look for to help prevent it from recurring:

Symptoms to Look Out For

Early warning signs often include sweating, shaking, hunger, irritability, anxiety, or headaches. For some, symptoms occur while asleep, often leading to confusion, nightmares, tiredness, and damp sheets. When left untreated, symptoms may become severe, leading to:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Unconsciousness

If symptoms are severe and occur several times a week, it’s essential to speak with your doctor about how you can adjust your program or medication.

What Causes It?

Often, those taking insulin are more likely to experience hypoglycemia. However, those taking oral diabetes medications can experience symptoms, too. Taking too much insulin, not eating enough, skipping meals, and drinking alcohol are some of the most common causes. Luckily, with some monitoring, you can help reduce your chances of hypoglycemia. The best course of prevention is to:

Keep on top of monitoring your blood sugar: You’ll want to stick to checking and recording your blood sugar, as suggested by your doctor. Doing so is the most beneficial way to keep your sugar in the target range.

Time out your meals and snacks: Consistency in your diet is key to keeping your blood sugar level. Skipping or missing meals could be the leading cause of your symptoms. When activity levels increase, so should your food intake. If you plan to drink alcohol, eat a meal or a snack, as drinking on an empty stomach can lead to hypoglycemia.

Keep track of your low glucose reactions: When your sugar drops, record when and the possible whys. Keeping track of the time of day and what you ate can help find the common cause and spot patterns to avoid future drops.

Remember, if you are experiencing hypoglycemia, let those around you know what the symptoms are and how to treat them, in case it does occur and you are unable to help yourself, they can step in and do so. Be sure to keep your doctor informed and carry a form of diabetes identification on you in case of an emergency.