Due to an extremely busy and hectic daily schedule, we often ignore the requirements of our body. We often give it too much or too little, and reasons can be various behind this ignorance. The main ingredient that keeps us energetic all day long is glucose, which is formed by the food intake. On the contrary, the deficiency of glucose in the body leads to low blood sugar symptoms.
Low blood sugar is called Hypoglycemia in medical terms. Low blood sugar symptoms are easily identifiable if you know what causes it and how to cope with the same. In this article, we will be discussing the symptoms of low blood sugar and its other essential aspects.
Understanding low blood sugar symptoms
To identify the signs, first understand that low blood sugar or Hypoglycemia can occur to people who have diabetes as well as people who don’t. In case you are diabetic, it happens as a result of issues such as a lack of physical activities, wrong food habits, and medicines. While in non-diabetic people, it is of two kinds:
- Reactive Hypoglycemia: It happened after a few hours when you ate the meal.
- Fasting Hypoglycemia: It occurs due to an underlying disease or medication.
Now coming to the low blood sugar symptoms, a majority of people feel the symptoms of low blood glucose when the blood sugar level is 70 milligrams or lower. The symptoms may differ from person to person, depending upon the way their blood sugar level goes. The most common symptoms may include:
- Shaking limbs
- Anxiety and excessive sweating
- Paleness in skin
- Irregularity in a heartbeat
- Sleepiness and Dizziness
Low blood sugar can get worsened if symptoms are:
- Ambiguity or confusion
- Blurred vision
- Losing consciousness
- Low blood sugar seizure
- Passing out
Cause of low blood sugar symptoms in diabetic people
People with type 2 diabetes can have low blood sugar symptoms. Certain drugs given to keep the sugar level in control are somewhat responsible for low blood sugar levels, such as:
- Micronized Glyburide
You can consult your doctor is he is giving any of the above drugs as a part of diabetes medication. On the other hand, some sulfonylureas are less common, but they cause a lowering of blood sugar levels frequently as compared to the new sulfonylureas. Some of the old drugs are:
Other causes of low blood sugar symptoms are alcohol, and if you are taking probenecid, warfarin, or allopurinol along with your diabetes medications. However, a diabetic person is less prone to getting Hypoglycemia if he is taking biguanides like metformin, thiazolidinediones, and alpha-glucosidase inhibitors alone. But if you are having these with insulin or Sulfonylureas, there are chances of getting low blood sugar.
Also, other factors are contributing to type 2 diabetes low blood sugar symptoms like intake of excessive insulin to cope up with the carbohydrates you are drinking and eating in more than the suggested amount. For instance:
- It can occur if you had a meal having simple sugars in a large amount
- Missing a snack or not having a complete meal
- Eating later than usual mealtime
- Alcohol intake without eating food
Therefore, you should not miss any meals if you have diabetes, especially if you are on medications.
Low blood sugar symptoms without diabetes
As mentioned previously, non-diabetic people also experience low blood sugar symptoms. Why it occurs in people who do not have diabetes, let’s find out:
Reactive Hypoglycemia occurs when a person has insulin in his blood in more than the required amount. It usually happens within a duration of a few hours after having a meal.
Other possible reasons behind low blood sugar symptoms without diabetes include:
- Stomach surgery
- Prediabetic conditions or if you are likely to develop diabetes
- Defects of rare enzymes
Fasting Hypoglycemia occurs when:
- Taking medicines like aspirin and other sulfa drugs
- Inexhaustible alcohol intake
- Kidney, pancreas, liver or heart diseases
- Low levels of certain hormones
Low blood sugar treatment
For diagnosing Hypoglycemia (non-diabetic), a doctor conducts a physical examination and inquiries about the medicines you are taking. The aim behind this is to know your complete health information. Besides, if you have had any disease history or undergone any sort of surgery will also become a matter of further caution.
He also checks blood glucose levels if you are facing low blood sugar symptoms and examines to ensure that you are feeling better after the blood sugar level reaches its normal range.
In case he suspects Hypoglycemia alongside the symptoms, you will fast till the symptoms begin to appear. In this case, blood sugar is tested at different intervals during the entire fasting. To diagnose Hypoglycemia, there is a test called MMTT or mixed meal tolerance test. As the term suggests it meaning itself, that you will be taking a drink that will raise your blood sugar level. For a few hours after that, he will examine blood sugar levels.
Treatment of Hypoglycemia
In case you have diabetes, low blood sugar treatment includes constant monitoring of blood sugar levels. The ideal range of sugar level is 70 mg/dl if the results are below this range, drink or eat 15 to 20 gms carbohydrates. For example, to balance the scale, juices, glucose tablets, or candies are an option. It usually wears off the low blood sugar symptoms.
If you are non-diabetic, to get low blood sugar treatment with long-term sustainability, it depends on how you are managing the causes that result in Hypoglycemia. If a particular medicine is lowering your blood glucose level, you should change it or ask your doctor about it. It there’s a tumor or any other injury, get surgery right away and treat it without any further delay. To fix the low blood sugar in the morning, intake 15gms carbohydrates, like candies, any of your favorite juices, or glucose tablets.
The best way to monitor your glucose levels is to prepare low blood sugar levels chart. It will not only help you to assess the necessary changes but in worse cases, if it’s out of your hand to manage, your doctor will provide a helpful solution after evaluating the chart.
Prevention of Hypoglycemia
For diabetic patients, here are some easy lifestyle changes that you can make for a steady blood sugar level:
- Keep an even space between the meals and have at least three meals a day with in-between suggested meal snacks.
- After meals, develop a habit of exercising for 30 to 60 minutes. Also, you should check sugar pre- and post-exercise. In this way, you can discuss the same with your doctor for any other necessary changes.
- Before taking diabetes medicine and insulin, cross-check the dosage.
- If you are an alcoholic, keep it a moderate intake and always monitor your glucose level.
- Be aware of the peak level of your medicine.
- Always test sugar as your doctor has prescribed
- Have an identification bracelet saying that you have diabetes.
For non-diabetic people, the first and foremost effort should be to prevent diabetes from happening. It all depends upon your food habits, daily routine, and the time you spend on working out. If you do it all and still face some issues with the blood sugar levels, consult your doctor if there are any changes required. He may suggest your necessary changes in terms of adjustments in eating and time spent on exercising. Diet changes that might help you are:
- Do not gobble a large amount of food at once but develop a habit of having small meals after a specific time interval. It will help you to manage sugar levels without starving yourself.
- Include a wide food variety to meet the essential requirements of the body rather than eating whatever you want just to fill up the tummy. It may comprise foods that are high in protein content and fats. Highly fibrous foods should also be a part of your daily meals.
- Do not intake foods that are high in sugar.
Keep getting consultation from your doctor for figuring out any other factors that might be causing symptoms of low blood sugar levels.
What to do in case of unconsciousness or passing out
Hypoglycemia results in passing out or unconsciousness. If it happens so, you will be needed a glucagon shot by someone. Glucagon, a prescription medicine, increases blood sugar levels, and you may be in need case of severe Hypoglycemia. The family members must be aware of it and the process of giving a glucagon shot.
If you encounter some other person with severe hypoglycemia condition, take him to the hospital immediately. Remember, that trying to feed him fluids, food or insulin is dangerous, as it may choke the person.
Avoid driving if having low glucose level
It is quite dangerous to drive if you are having low levels of blood glucose. Pull off immediately if you are experiencing any of the hypoglycemia symptoms. Check the blood sugar level and have some sugary food. Wait for 15 minutes and again check the glucose level. If it isn’t under control, you may have to repeat the steps. Apart from that, we always have some sugar source with you in case of such emergencies.
Prevention tips for diabetic patients
For a diabetes patient, it needs much care and attention to regulate blood sugar levels. Even a little bit of ignorance can lead to severe consequences. Here is how you can prevent Hypoglycemia also if you have diabetes:
- Never skip any meals and keep following the meal plan as your doctor has prescribed
- Take three meals within an equal time interval besides meal snacks
- Do not keep a gap between meals from more than four to five hours
- It is essential to keep exercise in your routine, especially before and after meals.
- Keep a check on the peak level of your diabetes medicine and double-check the dosage of insulin and drugs.
- Keep alcohol intake moderately low
Some real foods to balance low blood sugar levels naturally
When a person experiences low glucose levels, there is an immediate need for carbohydrates that can act fast and bring the glucose level back to normal. However, these solutions, such as sugary food, glucose tablets, or candies, are not healthy ones. For this, one needs to avoid food with a high amount of fats. Though the fact is often capable of stabilizing glucose levels, it delays the absorption of much-required carbohydrates.
The immediate remedies are useful but are not nutritious. Here are some ways to manage low blood sugar naturally and effectively:
- If there are symptoms of Hypoglycemia, even if the glucose level is more than 80mg/dl, you can use peanut butter that doesn’t have sugar.
- If the glucose level is falling between 7o to 80 mg/dl, crackers and peanut butter will raise the glucose level, whereas the peanut butter filled with protein and fat will maintain the standard.
- Glucose level within the range of 55 to 70 mg/dl requires dried or fresh fruits as they have an ample amount of sugars that are naturally occurred. The amount of fiber in these foods is minimum and helps to elevate blood glucose efficiently and rapidly. Such foods may include raisins, grapes, apple sauce, pineapple, and Medjool dates.
- For blood sugar below 55 mg/dl, since it is an alarming situation, so you will need fast and quick functioning carbohydrates in liquid form. For instance, grape juice or maple or honey syrup can be the option. It contains the highest amount of carbohydrates in liquid form that acts faster than solid foods. At such a low level of glucose in the blood, a person may find it difficult to chew or swallow; therefore, it is best to give the essential carbohydrates in liquid form.
Getting a proper diet plan from your dietician will enable you to manage the sugar level better. Conclusively, before the implementation of any of the given suggestions in your low blood sugar management plan, always consult or discuss it with your doctor first.