February 24, 2015

PWD Seem Not to Understand Hypoglycemia

Do you know the symptoms of hypoglycemia? According to the survey conducted by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) many people with diabetes (type 1 and type 2) are unsure of how to manage hypoglycemia. An online survey showed that many patients with diabetes are concerned about experiencing hypoglycemia but are unsure of how to prevent and manage the condition.

The online survey, which polled more than 1000 adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes resulted in the following:
  1. 60 percent of respondents have experienced hypoglycemia.
  2. 19 percent of these have visited the emergency room for treatment.
  3. 40 percent experienced nighttime hypoglycemia.
  4. 84 percent felt anxiety.
  5. 68 percent felt frustration.
  6. 60 percent felt fear of nighttime hypoglycemia.
Then the next important data showed (from the 1000):
  1. 62 percent expressed concern about experiencing hypoglycemia.
  2. 81 percent perceived hypoglycemia as a significant health concern.
  3. 98 percent reported understanding the importance of controlling hypoglycemia.
  4. 81 percent acknowledged the health consequences if not treated appropriately.
The findings showcase a need for further education about hypoglycemia. People living with diabetes may be unaware of the causes, symptoms as well as the methods of preventing and managing hypoglycemia as evidenced by the following survey findings:
  • Of respondents who had not experienced hypoglycemia, approximately 42 percent were unable to define it correctly
  • Less than one third (30 percent) of respondents cited avoiding alcohol as a way to prevent hypoglycemia
  • Nearly half (49 percent) were not aware that taking glucose tablets could help treat an episode
Hypoglycemia can be a debilitating complication for people with diabetes, but it is often under recognized. This means that people with diabetes should be taught the warning signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia. Then these same people need to be taught how to effectively manage and prevent hypoglycemia from happening.  Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugars reach a low level, usually 70mg/dl (3.9 mmol/L) or below. Hypoglycemia can affect people living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, who are on insulin or multiple therapies for diabetes. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, dizziness, fatigue, confusion and  lack of coordination. In severe cases, hypoglycemia can lead to unconciousness, seizures, or death.

To treat hypoglycemia, those living with diabetes should regularly check their blood sugar levels. If levels are 70mg/dl or lower, it is recommended to consume 15-20 grams of carbohydrates and check levels again 15 minutes following consumption. If low blood sugar levels continue, repeat. Once blood sugar returns to normal, the individual should consume a small snack if the next planned meal or snack is more than an hour or two away to prevent recurrence of hypoglycemia.

Part 1 of 4

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