Hypoglycemia, also known as "low blood sugar," occurs when the amount of glucose in the blood is below normal levels. Glucose is used as an energy source by the body. If blood sugar levels are too low, brain and muscle cells will not have enough energy to function properly. Hypoglycemia can occur due to diabetes or as a reaction to certain foods that a person eats (or when you don't eat enough of certain foods). This condition often occurs due to a sudden drop in blood sugar levels. This can usually be treated quickly by eating a small amount of glucose-containing food as soon as possible. If left untreated, hypoglycemia can lead to confusion, headaches and fainting, and in severe cases seizures, coma, and even death.
Method 1 of 2: Preventing Low Blood Sugar
Step 1. Follow the doctor's instructions
Follow the instructions for using medications from your doctor consistently, such as insulin and other oral medications to treat diabetes. Follow the instructions on how to take it and when to take it. Then, if your doctor has asked you to go on a strict diet or you have consulted a registered dietitian or nutritionist, make a concerted effort to follow that diet plan, which has been properly designed to avoid complications with your disease and keep your blood sugar levels under control. remains stable throughout the day.
Sometimes the best way of prevention is to follow the rules and guidelines given by health practitioners
Step 2. Test your blood sugar regularly
Diabetics are advised to monitor blood sugar at least once a day. The best test is after waking up in the morning before eating something. Record the numbers on paper or a journal, writing down the date, time, and test results. Some people with diabetes, especially those with "fragile" diabetes (a condition characterized by fluctuating blood sugar levels), should check their blood sugar more often up to 4 times a day (before breakfast, lunch and dinner, and before bed). You can monitor blood sugar levels using a glucometer (blood sugar measuring device). Equipment that must be purchased is a glucometer, a lancet (a small sharp-pointed instrument) for pricking the finger, a compatible test strip, and rubbing alcohol to clean the finger before pricking. Steps to test blood sugar:
- Wash your hands with water and soap.
- Clean the index finger or middle finger with a cotton swab that has been moistened with alcohol.
- Hold the lancet in front of the finger at a 90-degree angle, then push the lever to poke the finger.
- Drop your blood onto the test strip.
- Insert the test strip into the glucometer slot and wait for the reading.
- Record the test results in your notebook. Blood sugar levels are considered low if they are less than 70 mg/dL, and usually a person will begin to experience symptoms of hypoglycemia when their blood sugar levels reach this number.
Step 3. Eat three meals plus three snacks a day
So that you can eat regularly and consistently, have three meals a day with three snacks throughout the day. Set meal times and snacks so that the gap between each meal is not too long. If you forget to skip a snack or eat late, your blood sugar levels can drop.
- Time your meals so that the gap between meals is no more than 4 or 5 hours.
- If you have diabetes, never skip a meal, especially if you are taking diabetes medication.
- Take into account if there are activities that make you expend extra calories. For example, if you run a marathon on a Saturday, you will have to eat more that day than on a normal day.
Step 4. Eat a balanced diet
Your meal should contain protein such as fish, beef, or chicken, about the size of a deck of cards (85 - 113 grams). If you are a vegetarian, get protein from other sources, such as tofu, eggs, Greek yogurt, or soy. In addition to protein, make sure your diet contains sources of complex carbohydrates, as well as fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Your daily diet should contain 40 to 60% complex carbohydrates. Good sources of complex carbohydrates include brown rice, beans, whole grain breads, and vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and kale. Limit consumption of refined carbohydrates such as pastries, white bread, syrup, and sweets.
- Some good examples of fruits include oranges, peaches, blueberries, grapes, watermelon, and strawberries. Fruits not only complement the food you eat, but also provide important phytonutrients. Natural sources of sugar are fresh fruits. Fresh fruit can also increase blood sugar and prevent hypoglycemia.
- An easy rule of thumb is that one plate should be filled with two-thirds of fruit and vegetables.
Step 5. Limit caffeine consumption
Avoid foods and drinks that contain lots of caffeine such as coffee, tea and sodas. Caffeine can cause the same symptoms as hypoglycemia, making your condition worse.
Step 6. Carry a snack with you at all times
If you are at risk for hypoglycemia, provide food at work, in the car, or anywhere else you visit. Good food choices to take with you include string cheese (cheese that has a stringy texture and stretches when melted), yogurt, nuts, fruit, or smoothies.
Step 7. Consume alcohol with food
Consuming alcoholic beverages, especially on an empty stomach, can cause hypoglycemia in some people. In certain cases, the reaction can be experienced within a day or two so that the link can be difficult to identify. If you are a connoisseur of alcohol, always accompany alcohol consumption with food or snacks.
Step 8. Do exercise at the right time
Exercise is very important for people with diabetes, because it can help lower blood glucose levels. For this reason, physical activity can also lower glucose levels too low, even up to 24 hours after exercise. If you want to exercise, do so within half to an hour after eating. Always check your blood sugar levels before and after exercise.
- Bring a snack with you when you do vigorous exercise, such as cycling or running. Eating a snack can help prevent hypoglycemia.
- If you do exercise that burns a lot of calories, adjust the medications you take or eat an extra snack. The adjustment depends on the results of your blood sugar test, as well as the duration and intensity of the exercise. Consult a doctor if you have diabetes but still want to do exercises while maintaining your condition.
Step 9. Take action when your blood sugar drops
Immediately eat a snack when the first signs of hypoglycemia appear. Eat whatever is nearby or something you can get your hands on quickly. The symptoms will go away within 10 to 15 minutes after you eat something. Have a repeat blood test 15 minutes later to make sure your blood sugar is back to 70 mg/dL or higher. If the number is still too low, have another snack. You don't need to go to the hospital or the doctor if you've only had one episode of hypoglycemia. If possible, stay seated, as you may pass out. Some options to quickly resolve this situation include:
- 1/2 cup (118 ml) fruit juice (grape, apple, orange, etc.)
- 1/2 cup (118 ml) plain soda (not diet soda)
- 1 cup (236 ml) milk
- 5 or 6 hard candies (e.g. Kopiko, Relaxa, etc.)
- 1 tbsp sugar or honey
- 3 or 4 glucose tablets or 1 serving of glucose gel (15 grams). Keep in mind that the correct dosage for these foodstuffs may have to be reduced if used by children. Read the directions carefully before giving your child glucose medication so you can determine the correct dose.
Method 2 of 2: Understanding Low Blood Sugar
Step 1. Understand how hypoglycemia works
Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar occurs when blood sugar is below normal levels. A person usually begins to feel symptoms of hypoglycemia when his blood sugar is below 70 mg/dL. Low blood sugar exclusively occurs in diabetics in response to insulin therapy accompanied by insufficient caloric intake, excessive use of insulin, or exertion without adequate caloric intake (e.g. you run 10 km but not accompanied by eat a snack).
- Other rare causes include a tumor in the pancreas that produces too much insulin (insulinoma), as well as reactive hypoglycemia, which occurs when blood sugar drops after a person eats certain foods.
- Hypoglycemia can occur as a side effect of some medicines to treat diabetes, such as insulin and pills used to increase insulin production (such as glipizide and glyburide). Hypoglycemia can also be caused by a combination of several drugs (eg a combination of glipizide with metformin or glyburide with metformin). So you should tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, and supplements you are currently taking (including herbal remedies).
Step 2. Recognize some of the symptoms of low blood sugar
There are several physical and mental symptoms that you can identify as signs that indicate that you have low blood sugar. These signs include:
- Mental confusion (e.g. not knowing the date, year, etc.)
- Altered level of consciousness, drowsiness, or poor concentration
- Diaphoresis or "cold sweats"
- Coma (Note: severe disorientation and coma can occur when blood glucose levels reach approximately 45mg/dL)
Step 3. Take precautions
Test your blood sugar at least once a day (when you wake up and before eating anything). Follow the recommendations above to do regular exercise and eat meals and snacks throughout the day. Take precautions by bringing snacks with you when you go out.
- In addition, if you have diabetes or are prone to attacks of hypoglycemia, explain your symptoms to family, friends, and trusted coworkers so they can help if your blood sugar drops suddenly to a severe level. If the sufferer is a child, school staff should be given instructions on how to recognize and manage symptoms of hypoglycemia in children.
- Try to carry objects that are used as identification for people with diabetes, such as necklaces, bracelets, or diabetes medical cards. This is very useful in emergency situations to let people know that you have diabetes.
- Be careful when driving as it can be very dangerous when symptoms of hypoglycemia appear. When driving long distances, check your blood sugar frequently (especially before handling the wheel) and eat snacks as needed to keep your blood glucose level above 70 mg/dL.
Step 4. Consult a doctor
Tell your doctor that you have prolonged hypoglycemia (more than a few times a week) so that the doctor can adjust the dose of the medication accordingly.