Diabetic Hypoglycemia

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Diabetic hypoglycemia is a serious condition that happens when your blood glucose (sugar) level drops too low.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Medicines:

Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or specialist as directed:

You may need dose changes to your insulin or oral diabetes medicine if you have hypoglycemia. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage diabetic hypoglycemia:

If you have any symptoms of low blood sugar, check your level right away.

  • If your blood sugar level is 70 mg/dl or below: You need to eat or drink a fast-acting carbohydrate (sugar or starch) right away. Drink 4 ounces (½ cup) of fruit juice, or sugar soda or eat 5 to 6 pieces of hard candy, or take 4 glucose tablets (15 to 20 grams of glucose).

    • Check your blood sugar level 15 minutes later.

      • If your blood sugar level is above 70 mg/dl, you should eat a snack or a meal. Avoid foods that are high in fat.

      • If your blood sugar level is still low, drink ½ cup of juice, or eat 5 to 6 pieces of candy, or sugar soda or take 4 glucose tablets (15 to 20 grams of glucose).


  • Always carry a source of fast-acting carbohydrate, such as sugar or starch: If you do not have a blood glucose meter, or you are very drowsy, eat some sugar right away. Try not to use high fat sugars, such as chocolate. The fat content may make it take longer to increase your blood sugar. Always carefully follow your healthcare provider's instructions on how to treat low blood sugar levels.



  • Teach others how to help you: Teach others to call 911 if you have symptoms of low blood sugar, or you have fainted and they find you. This is an emergency. Teach them how to treat your low blood sugar if you are awake. Tell them never to make you swallow anything if you are not awake. If they cannot wake you, they need to give you a glucagon injection. Ask your healthcare provider for a glucagon kit prescription.

  • Carry medical alert identification: Wear medical alert jewelry or carry a card that says you have diabetes. Ask your healthcare provider where to get these items.

Prevent diabetic hypoglycemia:

  • Take diabetes medicine as directed: Take your medicine at the right time and in the right amount. Your healthcare provider may change your blood sugar target levels if you get hypoglycemia often.

  • Eat regular meals and snacks: Talk to your dietitian or healthcare provider about a meal plan that is right for you. Eat the same amount of food for each meal and eat at the same time each day. Do not skip meals.

  • Check your blood sugar level: Ask your healthcare provider what your blood sugar levels should be before and after you eat. Ask when and how often to check your blood sugar level. You may need to check at least 3 times each day. Record your blood sugar level results and take the record with you when you see your healthcare provider. He may use the record to make changes to your medicine, food, or exercise schedules.



  • Exercise carefully: Check with your healthcare provider before you return to your exercise program or try a new form of exercise. Exercise can decrease your blood sugar. Have a carbohydrate snack available during and after exercise. If your blood sugar level is less than 100 mg/dL, have a carbohydrate snack before you exercise. Examples are 4 to 6 crackers, ½ banana, 8 ounces (1 cup) of milk, or 4 ounces (½ cup) of juice.

  • Be careful with alcohol: Alcohol can cause your blood sugar level to drop for up to 12 hours after drinking. Ask your healthcare provider if alcohol is safe for you. If you drink alcohol, always have a snack or meal at the same time. Limit alcohol to 1 drink per day if you are a woman. Limit alcohol to 2 drinks per day if you are a man. A drink of alcohol is 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1½ ounces of liquor.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have signs of low blood sugar.

  • You have had more than one low blood sugar level.

  • You have questions about the amount of insulin you are taking.

  • You have questions about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

You cannot get something to eat and you have any of the following symptoms of low blood sugar:

  • You feel you are going to pass out.

  • You have trouble thinking clearly.

  • You have a seizure or pass out.

  • Your blood sugar is less than 50 mg/dl and does not respond to treatment.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Diabetic Hypoglycemia (Aftercare Instructions)

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