How to treat a blood sugar drop in a pinch

The Following is from The American Diabetes Association website (https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/medication-management/blood-glucose-testing-and-control/hypoglycemia

Low blood sugar (also known as hypoglycemia) is when your blood sugar 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 sugar is less than 70 mg/dL. However, talk to your diabetes care team about your own blood sugar targets, and what level is too low for you.

Signs and symptoms of low blood sugar (can happen quickly)

Each person’s reaction to low blood sugar is different. Learn your own signs and symptoms of when your blood sugar is low. Taking time to write these symptoms down may help you learn your own symptoms of when your blood sugar is low. From milder, more common indicators to most severe, signs and symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • Feeling shaky
  • Being nervous or anxious
  • Sweating, chills and clamminess
  • Irritability or impatience
  • Confusion
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Hunger
  • Nausea
  • 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
  • Headaches
  • Coordination problems, clumsiness
  • Nightmares or crying out during sleep
  • Seizures

The only sure way to know whether you are experiencing low blood sugar is to check your blood sugar, if possible. If you are experiencing symptoms and you are unable to check your blood sugar for any reason, treat the hypoglycemia. 

Treatment – The “15-15 Rule”

Repeat these steps until your blood sugar is at least 70 mg/dL. Once your blood sugar is back to normal, eat a meal or snack to make sure it doesn’t lower again.

  • Glucose tablets (see instructions)
  • Gel tube (see instructions)
  • 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—see food label for how many to consume

But what if you don’t have supplies with you? What to do in a pinch.

This from Healthline.com https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/low-blood-sugar-healthy-food-type-1-diabetes#4

If your blood sugar is 55-70 mg/dL:

  • Raisins (1/2 small box)
  • Apple sauce (about 1/2 cup)
  • Dates (about 3 large)
  • Pineapple (3/4 cup)
  • Grapes (15)
  • Bananas (1)

What to look for in a fast food restaurant or convenience store

Here is what to look for in a pinch if the other options are not available.

♦ 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of any fruit juice
♦ 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of a regular (not diet) soda
♦ 2 packets of sugar under the tongue
♦ 5 lifesavers
♦ 3 pieces of hard candy

The urge will be to eat until you feel better

Do not fall victim to this. A common indicator of low blood sugar is extreme hunger but eating too much can cause it’s own problems. Remember to treat and wait 15 minutes then repeat as needed.

If you are a companion or caregiver keep these alternate treatments in mind because people with low blood sugar often experience confusion as one of the symptoms and this makes rational thinking and problem solving difficult.

As always consult you healthcare professional before using any of these tips.

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Published by Gene Smith

Sometimes go by "Grumpy Old Guy ". I am an almost retired guy living with diabetes in the American South.

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