Taking Action Against Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar is when the blood sugar level goes down too low. That can cause the person to feel sick. Low blood sugar is also called hypoglycemia (hy-po-gly-SEE-mee-uh).

You need to watch for low blood sugar levels. But do not let fear of low blood sugar stop you or the person in your care from trying to control his or her diabetes.

What causes low blood sugar?

Low blood sugar is most often caused by

  • Missing a meal or snack
  • Eating less than usual
  • Being more active than usual
  • Taking certain diabetes medicines

Ask the health care provider for ways to help reduce the risk of low blood sugar levels for the person in your care.

What are the common signs of low blood sugar?

Learn the signs of low blood sugar. These may include feeling

  • Nervous
  • Shaky
  • Sweaty
  • Dizzy
  • Confused

What should you do if the person in your care has low blood sugar?

Signs may be mild at first but may get worse quickly if you do not treat them. If the person in your care has any signs of low blood sugar, test his or her blood sugar right away.

If the blood sugar level is less than 70 mg/dL, give him or her a carbohydrate or sugar. Use any of the following fast-acting sources of sugar:

  • 1/2 cup of fruit juice or regular soda (not diet)
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar, honey, or corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of raisins
  • 1 cup of low-fat or fat-free milk
  • 2 to 5 glucose tablets (you can buy them at the drug store)

Then, test the blood sugar again in 15 minutes. If the blood sugar has not gone up, you may need to give him or her more carbohydrates with sugar. Wait another 15 or 20 minutes, then test the blood sugar again.

Always treat low blood sugar right away. It is not safe to wait.

There are things you can do to help the person with diabetes prevent high and low blood sugar levels.

Have the person in your care

  • Follow a healthy eating plan. Try to eat meals at the same time each day.
  • Take his or her medicine as prescribed by the health care provider.
  • Do activities as recommended by his or her health care provider. Stick to a regular schedule of activity.
  • Check his or her blood sugar levels the way the health care provider said to. Share the blood sugar results with the health care provider.
  • Always carry fast-acting sources of sugar. Something like hard candy or glucose tablets. That way, he or she can treat low blood sugar levels at any time.

Tell the health care provider if the person often has high or low blood sugar levels. The health care provider may need to make a change to the person’s diet, activity, or diabetes medicine.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest