It is important to know how to treat hypoglycemia, as this could mean saving a life when an attack occurs.
Hypoglycemia occurs when the body’s blood sugar or blood glucose level drops below normal. Hypoglycemia is also known as low blood sugar or low blood glucose, or an insulin reaction. Glucose comes from the food we eat and is used by the body as a source of energy. So when people have low glucose in their bloodstream, they are “low” on energy. That is, they feel dizzy, weak, hungry and a host of other symptoms that vary from person to person.
The best way to avoid hypoglycemia is to eat well and regularly, never skipping a meal. It’s better to have moderate meals at regular intervals throughout the day than big meals with lengthy gaps in between. Nevertheless, despite precautions, sometimes people will have hypoglycemic reactions. It is best to be prepared.
The following are steps on how to treat hypoglycemia.
Be aware. If you, or someone close to you, has diabetes, you should know the symptoms. Hypoglycemic attacks can be very mild to severe, and it is best to recognize the signs as soon as they occur. Some symptoms may be hunger, weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, sleepiness, confusion, slurred speech, rapid heartbeat or anxiety, clammy hands, headache, shaking, sweating, listlessness, discomfort, etc. A severe episode may result in unconsciousness, coma, seizures or even death. As stated above, symptoms may vary from person to person, so it’s important to know your own or another person’s particular signs.
Be prepared. The quickest way to get glucose into the body is to eat 15 grams of sugar or simple carbohydrates. Always have appropriate food around and know how much to eat to reach the 15-gram requirement. Some products that fit the bill include a half cup of soda or ready-to-drink juice, four or five pieces of saltine crackers, four tablespoons or five sugar cubes.. Some people also carry glucose tablets for this purpose.
Be quick. Once symptoms manifest, act quickly: drink or eat the 15 grams of sugar immediately. Don’t put symptoms off as insignificant or imaginary. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Be proactive. Always be vigilant in managing your health care. Hypoglycemia may be a side effect of too much medication or insulin, so be observant about how you feel after taking medication. Communicate with your doctor should this be the case; do not adjust your medication on your own. Again, do not skip a meal, especially breakfast, and make sure your meals have enough carbohydrates in them. If you know you’re going to be extra active for the day, or if you increase your exercise regimen, be sure to make a corresponding increase in your carbohydrate intake.
This is a tired old saying, but it’s always worth repeating: an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Do not take the symptoms of hypoglycemia lightly. When attacks occur too often, talk to your doctor. Controlling the attacks may require a change in medication, diet, lifestyle habits or other factors. Hypoglycemia is by no means easy to live with, but vigilance and alertness can at least help you manage the condition.
To be best equipped to deal with hypoglycemia, learn how to detect symptoms, how to be prepared and how to treat hypoglycemia before it worsens.