What You Need to Know About Treating Low Blood Sugar

What You Need to Know About Treating Low Blood Sugar

In a perfect world, you wouldn’t have to worry about dips in blood sugar. But the world isn’t perfect, and neither are people, so being able to address the problem is crucial to your health. These four tips will help you get your blood sugar back on track.

What is Hypoglycemia?

Abnormally low blood sugar, medically known as hypoglycemia, insulin reaction or insulin shock.

Symptoms include sweating, shaking or numbness, extreme hunger, lightheadedness or dizzyness, confusion, loss of consciousness, severe fatigue, dry or tingling mouth, nausea, anxiety, blurry vision, head pain, irritability, confusion, rapid heartbeat, and slurred speech.
 
Testing your blood sugar is the best way to determine for sure low blood glucose is the source of your symptoms. Here are four tips for managing bouts of hypoglycemia.

1. Defense is the best offense

Defending yourself against low blood sugar is just as important as avoiding blood sugar spikes. Do your best to follow a regular eating plan and stay on schedule. Work with your doctor and nutritionist to create a balanced plan for everyday eating.

Include a game plan for special events, too, like traveling, holidays or celebrations. This will help you stay on track and not feel left out when you don’t have your usual choices available.

2. Always be prepared

Hypoglycemia is the one time you actually want to increase your blood sugar. The quickest way to do this is with a fast-acting carbohydrate to raise your blood sugar. Always have choices handy. Some ideas are:

  • Fruit juice
  • Hard candy (not sugar-free)
  • Glucose tablets
  • A regular soft drink (start with 6-8 ounces)

3. Know your limits

Sometimes low blood sugar occurs not because you didn’t eat right but because you worked out too hard. Pay attention to how you feel after physical activity. Know what your physical limits are and stop before they cause your blood sugar to drop.

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes and you’re not sure yet how much exercise is too much, keep track in a journal. Note how you feel after each activity. If you feel dizzy, nauseated, overly tired or have trouble with your vision, test your blood sugar. If it’s too low, have a fast-acting carbohydrate to help raise it back to a normal level.

4. Have a backup plan

Sometimes your blood sugar drops without a warning. It’s not because of anything you did or didn’t do, and it can take you by surprise. Always have someone you can call, text or message in case of an emergency. This is especially important if the drop is very sudden and you become disoriented.

A good way to make it as easy as possible for you to get help is to keep an emergency contact in your smartphone labeled “ICE.” This stands for “in case of emergency,” and many people are familiar with it. By doing this, you and anyone helping you can quickly get in touch with your loved ones and help you as fast as possible.

Even if you get caught off guard, these tips will help you get back to normal. Make a plan and stay healthy by staying one step ahead.

Sources:

"Hypoglycemia" (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) 

"More Tips for Dealing With Low Blood Sugars" (DiabetesNet.com) 

"When Your Blood Sugar Gets Too Low" (WebMD.com) 

LaDonna Hadley is a professional freelance writer contributing to tech, travel and lifestyle blogs and articles. Before changing careers to a full-time writer, she worked as a surveillance analyst and enjoyed a career in gaming. She has four children and enjoys hiking and building things in her spare time.