February 27, 2015

Hypoglycemia and You

With hypoglycemia, remember testing is the most reliable and not your feelings. However, if you do not trust one meter reading, it is often wise to rewash your hands, paying attention to the finger you will be using for the test and then retest. Keep in mind that insufficient blood on the test strip can give a false reading on your blood glucose meter. The correct technique of testing is especially during hypoglycemia is important.

If you find that you develop hypoglycemia during or after exercise, contact your doctor to decide if a lower medication dose may be necessary. Remember, low blood glucose is any reading below 70 mg/dl (3.9 mmol/L). Treat it and do not suffer the complications of not treating low blood glucose.

Remember, very low blood glucose levels may require more than 15 grams of carbohydrates to correct back to safe levels of blood glucose. To do this, consider your blood glucose reading, the amount of medication in your system, the amount and timing of your last meal, and the effects of any recent exercise. All of these can affect the amount of carbohydrates needed to correct low blood glucose readings.

Appropriate carbohydrate choices to treat hypoglycemia include:
3 or more glucose tablets
½ cup orange, apple, or pineapple juice
1/3 cup prune, grape, or cranberry juice
½ cup of regular soda (not diet)
1 small apple, orange, pear, peach, or banana
2 tablespoons of raisins
1 cup of nonfat milk
1 tablespoon of sugar, honey, or syrup (can mix in water if desired)

Don't consider donuts, ice cream, candy bars, pie, cookies. These all contain fat in quantities that will slow digestion and availability of the carbohydrates. With hypoglycemia, fast digestion and absorption into the blood stream is required. If you take any medication that can cause hypoglycemia, you should always carry an appropriate source of carbohydrates with you in case you need it.

Keep glucose tablets in the car's glove box, your purse, your desk at work, or your pocket. It is also wise to wear form of identification that states that you have type 2 diabetes. This is where medical alert jewelry comes in handy.

It is important to follow up or talk with your doctor regularly. You may be needing a different medication or your dose of your current medication may need to be adjusted. Medication doses often need to be reduced when you start an exercise program, improve your food choices, or lose some weight. Continue to do your blood glucose testing and write down the results. The doctor may only use your A1c results, but you may need to show your testing results to prove you need a change in dose.

Be prepared to show the doctor blood glucose readings below 70 mg/dl if they happen. If they don't happen, you are fortunate and probably not on a medication that will cause hypoglycemia. The best idea is to research or look up your medication and I suggest on WebMD, or on this website, or this discussion of oral diabetes medications that may cause hypoglycemia.

Part 4 of 4

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