People with diabetes struggle to keep their sugars in a target range recommended by their physicians. When the sugar is out of range on the high side, they recognize the elevated sugar and fear complications. When the sugar is out of range on the low side, they may have symptoms of hypoglycemia or low sugar which can lead to other problems. Do you have problems keeping your sugar in range. If so, have you been advised about hypoglycemia and told what to do about it. Please comment and share the advise that was provided for you. Do you have any other tips for our readers?
Research has proven that good control of Diabetes lowers the incidence of diabetic complications. As a result, the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists have encouraged physicians to help patients get their sugars as close to the normal range as possible. Many patients believe that this means getting their sugars as low as they can, and will often skip meals or exercise excessively to do so. However, these behaviors can be very dangerous for a patient with diabetes, and may result in hypoglycemia. Complications of hypoglycemia are discussed below.
The April addition of Medscape News cited an online survey presented by Barbara Boughton at the 20th annual meeting of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists in which she mentioned that 55% of adults with diabetes had sugar levels that were too low, and 42% of people with low blood sugar had symptoms of hypoglycemia. Approximately 26% of low sugar reactions occurred while people were working, and 19% occurred when they were driving. About one third of people who experienced the symptoms of hypoglycemia while engaging in these activities did not know that skipping meals and/or engaging in excessive exercise while taking insulin or other medications for diabetes may bring about hypoglycemia. In addition, many of the individuals surveyed did not know that dizziness, “fuzzy” thinking, and/or shakes may be symptoms of hypoglycemia.
As an endocrinologist, I have felt that the danger of diabetic complications from poorly-controlled sugars has been appropriately emphasized in the medical literature and the lay press, but the dangers of hypoglycemia have not received sufficient publicity. It is important to balance the risk of high-sugar complications against the risk of hypoglycemia. As a first step, patients should be advised to take their medications appropriately, monitor their sugars and eat regularly and consistently. In addition, the risk of hypoglycemia may be decreased by following these steps:
1.) Recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia caused by inadequate sugar to the brain. These symptoms include loss of consciousness, dizziness, and impaired ability to think.
2.) Recognize symptoms caused by your body trying to raise the sugar. These symptoms sugar include excessive sweating, rapid heart beat and extreme anxiety.
3.) Do not skip meals.
4.) If you are going to exercise excessively, make sure you have a snack beforehand.
5.) Have food and with you if you are going to go on a car trip.
6.) Learn how to monitor your sugar, and check it at intervals as advised by your health care provider.
7.) If you have any of the aforementioned symptoms, check your sugar level immediately.
8.) Always carry juice or some other source of sugar with you.
9.) Discuss how to recognize and treat hypoglycemia with your health care provider, as the general advice provided here may not apply to your specific needs.
10.) Make sure family members or others close to you understand how to recognize symptoms of hypoglycemia and know how to help you if you are not able to check your sugar level or drink juice on your own.
11.) Family members need to understand that hypoglycemia may cause confusion and even lead to your refusing to eat or drink. If they cannot get you eat or drink something to appropriately raise your sugar level, they will need to get you professional medical attention immediately.
12.) If you have hypoglycemia and are unable to take in sugar by drinking juice or ingesting another appropriate source of sugar, call for help as you will need immediate medical attention requiring a visit to the nearest emergency room.
Above all, follow the advice of your health care provider. If you have hypoglycemia or a low sugar reaction, inform your physician after the fact so (s)he may help you understand why it occurred and help you take active steps to prevent another one.
MEDICAL ADVICE DISCLAIMER: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for his or her own situation, or if he or she has any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.
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