Hypoglycemia is a condition characterized by abnormally low blood glucose (blood sugar) levels, usually less than 70 mg/dl. However, it is important to talk to your health care provider about your individual blood glucose targets, and what level is too low for you.
Hypoglycemia may also be referred to as an insulin reaction, or insulin shock. Hypoglycemic symptoms are important clues that you have low blood glucose. Each person’s reaction to hypoglycemia is different, so it’s important that you learn your own signs and symptoms when your blood glucose is low. The only sure way to know whether you are experiencing hypoglycemia is to check your blood glucose, if possible. If you are experiencing symptoms and you are unable to check your blood glucose for any reason, treat the hypoglycemia. Severe hypoglycemia has the potential to cause accidents, injuries, coma, and death.
You might get low blood sugar (also called hypoglycemia) if you:
- Take certain medicines and eat too few carbohydrates, or skip or delay a meal
- Take too much insulin or diabetes pills.
- U have some kidney involvement, liver disorders and recent infection.
Signs and Symptoms of Hypoglycemia
Shakiness, Nervousness or anxiety, Sweating, chills and clamminess, Irritability or impatience, Confusion, including delirium, Rapid/fast heartbeat, Lightheadedness or dizziness, Hunger and nausea, Sleepiness, Blurred/impaired vision, Tingling or numbness in the lips or tongue, Headaches, Weakness or fatigue, Anger, stubbornness, or sadness, Seizures, Unconsciousness.
- Consume 15-20 grams of glucose or simple carbohydrates if you are conscious.
- If patient is not in a state to eat, hospitalize him because he or she need intravenous glucose.
- Recheck your blood glucose after 15 minutes
- If hypoglycemia continues, repeat.
- Once blood glucose returns to normal, eat a small snack if your next planned meal or snack is more than an hour or two away.
- Go to your Doctor and adjust dose of your diabetic medication or insulin.
Important points to remember
Always have something sugary with you for use in an emergency.
- Tell your friends or family what signs you have when you go hypo and how to treat it, as you may not be able to think clearly when your blood glucose goes low.
- You will come to recognize your own hypo warning signs, but these may change over time, so be prepared to check your blood glucose level if you experience any unusual symptoms.
Dr Vikash Maskara
Consultant, Internal Medicine
Narayana Multispecialty Hospital, Barasat