What is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia means low blood sugar. When the amount of blood glucose falls below the acceptable normal level (< 70 mg/dL), it is called Hypoglycemia
What are the symptoms of Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia produces a number of symptoms. You should learn to recognize these symptoms at the earliest. The common symptoms are:
Can Hypoglycemia occur without symptoms?Hypoglycemia is generally accompanied by warning symptoms described above. In some diabetics, especially those with long standing poorly controlled disease and in diabetics taking beta blocker drugs (e.g. Atenolol which is used to control the increased blood pressure ), severe hypoglycemia may occur without warning symptoms. Occasionally hypoglycemia occurring during sleep may not produce symptoms other than sweating and bad dreams. Your doctor will advise you about it.
How does Hypoglycemia occur?The body has the capability of correcting low blood sugar by generating glucose. Lowering of blood sugars to levels that produce symptoms of hypoglycemia occurs only when correcting influences cannot work. This may be due to excess insulin or oral hypoglycemic agent. At times, hypoglycemia may occur even with normal doses of insulin or oral drugs, if the patient exercises inappropriately or reduces his food intake considerably.
What happens when Hypoglycemia is not treated?The consequences of untreated hypoglycemia depend on how severe it is. Mild hypoglycemia, irrespective of the cause, is self-limiting and is corrected by the body's natural mechanisms. If not treated properly, severe hypoglycemia, especially that caused by excess insulin or oral anti diabetic drugs, may result in unconsciousness. Here, the body's compensatory mechanisms are unable to counter the effect of too much insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents.
How to treat hypoglycemia?When the patient is conscious and hypoglycemia is suspected, he/she should be given something sweet to eat or drink e.g.20 to 25 gms of sugar, sweets, glucose, lemonade or tea etc. and this should be followed by a carbohydrate meal.
It’s easy to remember how to treat hypoglycemia with the 15-15 rule. Eat 15 grams of carbohydrates, wait 15 minutes, and then test your blood glucose again to see if you are on your way up to a normal level. If not, take a second dose of 15 grams and test again. You want to get safely up to 100 mg/dL. Fifteen grams of carbohydrates should bring up your glucose by about 50 mg/dL. It is often recommended that people use hard candies or glucose tablets, or drink some fruit juice. Fifteen grams of carbohydrates looks like this:
Don’t forget: One candy or tablet will raise your glucose by only 10 mg/dL or so. You are likely to need several!
What is Glucagon?Glucagon is a hormone. Like insulin it is produced in the body. It is released when the blood sugar falls below the accepted normal levels. It has an effect which is opposite to the effect of insulin. It increases blood sugar by stimulating natural body mechanisms.
How to use Glucagon?Glucagon is available in vials in a powder form, has a shelf life of two years and has to be reconstituted with a diluting fluid which is provided with the vial. Before reconstitution it can be stored at normal temperature.
Measures To Be Carried Out By The Diabetic