"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Dealing with hypoglycemia

Learn the symptoms of low blood sugar and tips on how to treat it.

Photo: Dolgachov/iStock

Hypoglycemia is a potentially dangerous condition through which blood sugar drops too low. Too much exercise, too little food or carbohydrates, small or delayed meals, or a mix of those aspects can result in hypoglycemia. Symptoms vary depending on the severity of the response, but often include:

  • panic
  • Sweating
  • Feeling cold and clammy
  • Trembling or trembling
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Light headed
  • hunger
  • Irritability

If early symptoms aren't recognized and treated promptly, blood sugar levels can proceed to drop, leading to

  • Drowsiness
  • weakness
  • blurred vision
  • Ambiguous address
  • get confused
  • clumsiness
  • Personality changes or strange behavior similar to agitation or paranoia.

At its worst, hypoglycemia may cause seizures or coma.

Most individuals with type 2 diabetes don't have to worry about hypoglycemia. However, it may well occur in individuals who use insulin or take a diabetes medicine called a sulfonylurea. Changes in eating habits, similar to weight-reduction plan—especially if carbohydrates are reduced—or increased exercise can result in hypoglycemia. Talk to your doctor before making any changes to your food plan or increasing your exercise.

15/15 Rules for Treating Low Blood Sugar

Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of hypoglycemia, in order that if it does occur, you may take steps to properly treat it and forestall the issue from recurring.

If you think that you're having a low blood sugar episode, don't ignore your symptoms. If possible, check your blood sugar with a finger stick test. If it's less, follow the 15/15 rule. Eat 15 grams of carbohydrates and wait quarter-hour. Here are some foods that may provide about 15 grams of carbohydrates to lower blood sugar.

  • Take three glucose tablets or 4 dextrose tablets.
  • Drink 4 to six ounces of fruit juice.
  • Drink 5 to six ounces (about half a can) of standard soda, similar to Coke or Pepsi
  • Eat five to seven life savers.
  • Eat 2 tablespoons of raisins.
  • Eat six jelly beans.

Do not eat foods that contain chocolate, peanut butter, nuts, or fats. Fat slows the body's absorption of carbohydrates, so fatty foods don't raise your blood sugar as quickly. After eating carbohydrates, wait about quarter-hour for the sugar to enter the bloodstream. If you don't feel higher inside quarter-hour, more carbohydrates will be used. Your blood sugar must be checked to be sure it's in a protected range.