Hypoglycemia means that your blood glucose is low—generally below 70 mg/dL. Symptoms occur quickly and need to be treated as soon as possible.
Low glucose levels vary from person to person, so it is important to ask your health care provider or diabetes educator what is too low for you.
Not enough food.
Eat all your meals and snacks on time.
More physical activity than usual.
Avoid exercise during diabetes medicine peak time.
Drinking alcohol without food.
Always eat a snack or a meal when you drink.
Too much diabetes medicine.
Take only the dose that has been prescribed.
It is best to be safe. It will not harm you if you take some glucose even if you just suspect that your blood glucose is low.
Mild (one or more of the following):
A medical identification bracelet or necklace with "Diabetes" on it can help people help you if you can't help yourself. Although not as easily noticed, you can carry a card in your purse or wallet that says you have diabetes.
Very severe (rare):
Test your blood glucose as soon as you feel symptoms.
If your level is low, treat with 15 grams of carbohydrate. Examples include:
Retest your blood glucose every 15 minutes until your blood glucose is above 80 mg/dL without symptoms.
After a hypoglycemia event you may need more food:
Do not subtract what you eat to treat hypoglycemia from your next snack or meal. This food is needed to keep your blood glucose in a better range.
Also, if you have unexplained hypoglycemia often (two times in 1 day or 2 days in a week), call your health care provider or diabetes educator.
If you take insulin, always check your blood glucose before you drive.
If you are on insulin, you may be required by state law to submit a special document from your health care provider stating you can drive safely. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions.
You can also check the Department of Public Safety or Department of Transportation website for your state’s requirements.
If you live in Minnesota, please visit: dps.mn.gov
If you live in Wisconsin, please visit: dot.wi.gov
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Basic Skills for Living with Diabetes, sixth edition
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts
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