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Hypoglycemia

A hypo or hypoglycaemia is when your blood sugar level is too low – that’s below 70 mg/dl.

Sugar is the only source of energy hence the amount of sugar in the blood has to be kept at a certain level to ensure the energy. Hypoglycemia is a major hazard and results from an abnormally low blood sugar level (<70 mg/dl).

Causes

  • Delaying or skipping a meal
  • Eating too little food at a meal
  • Getting more exercise than usual
  • Chances of hypos are more when you take insulin or sulphonylureas
  • Drinking alcohol

Symptoms

Symptoms may differ from person to person and also in the same person from one episode to another. The following are the most common symptoms:

  • Trembling and shakiness
  • Sweating
  • Becoming anxious or irritable
  • Palpitations and a fast pulse
  • Lips feeling tingly
  • Blurred sight
  • Feeling hungry
  • Tiredness
  • Giddiness
  • Confusion

Treatment

If you experience any of the above symptoms, it is important to try and test your blood sugar to make sure that you are having  a hypo. If it is 70 mg/dl or lower you should eat or drink 15 – 20 grams of quick acting carbohydrates like:

  • 2 teaspoons of sugar in water
  • 1 cup of milk with sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of glucose powder with water
  • Half a cup of fruit juice

If testing is not possible and symptoms are mild then take any food or drink that is readily available. If symptoms are severe then take sugar or glucose.

Attendant/ care giver should contact the doctor or go to a hospital immediately if the patient becomes unconscious.

Tips For Preventing Hypos

  1. Don’t miss a meal
  2. Strictly follow the timing of food and medications.
  3. Consult your doctor for medicine dosage adjustments in case hypoglycaemia occurs.
  4. Eat more carbohydrate if you are more active than normal.
  5. Don’t drink alcohol on an empty stomach or drink too much alcohol.

Remember: Always carry glucose or sugar with you wherever you go. It could save your life.