Low blood glucose (hypoglycaemia) is when your blood glucose levels have fallen low enough that you need to take action to bring them back to your target range. This is usually when your blood glucose is less than 70 mg/dL. However, talk to your diabetes care team about your own blood glucose targets, and what level is too low for you.
- Excess insulin/medication
- Missing or delaying meals
- Unplanned or excessive exercise
- Alcohol consumption
Signs and Symptoms
Each person’s reaction to low blood glucose is different. Learn your own signs and symptoms of when your blood glucose is low. Taking time to write these symptoms down may help you learn your own symptoms of when your blood glucose is low. From milder, more common indicators to most severe, signs and symptoms of low blood glucose include:
- Feeling shaky
- Being nervous or anxious
- Sweating, chills and clamminess
- Irritability or impatience
- Palpitations (Fast heartbeat)
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Color draining from the skin (pallor)
- Feeling Sleepy
- Feeling weak or having no energy
- Blurred/impaired vision
- Tingling or numbness in the lips, tongue, or cheeks
- Coordination problems, clumsiness
- Nightmares or crying out during sleep
- Seizures and later on unconsciousness
Treatment-The “15-15 “Rule
The 15-15 rule—have 15 grams of carbohydrate to raise your blood glucose and check it after 15 minutes. If it’s still below 70 mg/dL, have another serving.
Repeat these steps until your blood glucose is at least 70 mg/dL. Once your blood glucose is back to normal, eat a meal or snack to make sure it doesn’t lower again.
This may be:
- Glucose tablets
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of juice or regular soda (not diet)
- 1 tablespoon of sugar, honey, or corn syrup
- Hard candies, jellybeans, or gumdrops (if liquid sweets are not available) – see food label for how many to consume
- Do not skip meals.
- Avoid prolonged or strenuous exercises than usual.
- Limit alcohol intake and discuss with Doctor or educator.
- Adopt self-monitoring of blood glucose.
- Always carry 4-5 toffee/sugar candies/sugar sachets and Identification card.
If a patient is unconscious:
- Turn the patient to its right or left.
- Do not give anything forcibly through mouth.
- Rush to nearby hospital to give IV glucose.