December 23, 2016

Hypoglycemia and Diabetes – Part 2

Part 2 of 2 parts

When you have low blood glucose, first, eat or drink 15 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate, such as:
  • Three to four glucose tablets
  • One tube of glucose gel
  • Four to six pieces of hard candy (not sugar-free)
  • 1/2 cup fruit juice
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup soft drink (not sugar-free)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (put it under your tongue so it gets absorbed into your bloodstream faster)
Fifteen minutes after you've eaten a food with sugar in it, check your blood glucose again. If your blood sugar is still less than 70 mg/dl, eat another serving of one of the foods listed above. Repeat these steps until your sugar becomes normal. These are important steps and should be followed.

Hypoglycemia may make you pass out. If so, you'll need someone to give you a glucagon injection. Glucagon is a prescription medicine that raises blood sugar, and you may need it if you develop severe hypoglycemia. It's important that your family members and friends know how to give the injection in case you have a low blood sugar reaction.

If you see someone having a severe hypoglycemic reaction, call 911, or take him or her to the nearest hospital for treatment. Do not try to give an unconscious person food or fluids as they may choke. Never give a person insulin if they are having an episode of hypoglycemia as this could kill them.

Do not drive when you have low blood glucose. It's very dangerous. If you're driving and you have hypoglycemia symptoms, pull off the road, check your blood sugar, and eat a sugary food. Wait at least 15 minutes, check your blood sugar, and repeat these steps if necessary. Eat a protein and carbohydrate source (such as peanut butter crackers or cheese and crackers) before you drive on. Be prepared – always keep a sugar source in your car at all times for emergencies.

If you have diabetes, ways you can prevent hypoglycemia include:
  • Follow your meal plan.
  • Eat at least three evenly spaced meals each day with between-meal snacks as prescribed if necessary.
  • Plan your meals no more than 4 to 5 hours apart.
  • Exercise 30 minutes to 1 hour after meals. Check your sugars before and after exercise, and discuss with your doctor what types of changes can be made.
  • Double-check your insulin and dose of diabetes medicine before taking it.
  • If you drink alcohol, be moderate and monitor your blood sugar levels.
  • Know when your medicine is at its peak level.
  • Test your blood sugar as often as directed by your doctor or what your experience has taught you.
  • Carry an identification bracelet or other identification that says you have diabetes and specify the type of diabetes you have.
Always carry a list of the medications you are currently taking in your wallet, purse, or in what you carry daily. Always list your primary care doctor and the phone number for him/her so contact can be made if you are unable to communicate at the time.

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