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Learning About Hypoglycemia and Diabetes | Diabetes Daily Post
Learning About Hypoglycemia and Diabetes

Learn about Hypoglycemia and Diabetes

hypoHypoglycemia is defined as having a blood glucose level less or equal to 70 mg/dL by American Diabetes Association (ADA). When blood levels drop to 70 mg/dL or below it causes palpitations, sweating, tremor, seizures, coma, and even rarely, death. Errors in medicating are among most cited causes of hypoglycemia in type 2 diabetes. Nocturnal hypoglycemia events are commonly associated with young type 1 diabetes patients rarely in type 2 diabetes. Hypoglycemic unawareness in type 1 diabetes patient is dangerous and masked hypoglycemia in type 2 diabetes patients is also dangerous if one operates dangerous machinery or while driving.

According to one of the publication by ADA titled “Hypoglycemia in Diabetes: Pathophysiology, Prevalence, and Prevention”, risk factors for hypoglycemia are:

  • Ill-timed insulin injection, wrong type of insulin or wrong dose
  • Missing meals or during overnight fasting
  • After alcohol ingestion
  • During or after exercise
  • After weight loss
  • Renal impairment

ADA recommends addressing hypoglycemia with The Rule of 15:

  • Always check your blood glucose if feeling sick. Once low blood glucose is detected, apply the rule of 15.
  • Eat or drink 15 grams of carbs, such as glucose gel or juice, wait 15 minutes check blood glucose. If still low eat another 15 grams of carbs and wait 15 minutes and check again.
  • Caution: do not take carbs before checking blood glucose to prevent over rating the blood glucose. You may not feel better instantly but you are on the way to get better and 15 minutes are needed to evaluate that.

Hypoglycemia can be a problem for some if not able to control it in time and manage appropriately. Hypoglycemia problems must be discussed thoroughly with healthcare providers. The diligence in monitoring the blood glucose is the key in preventing hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia should not be taken lightly; at the same token should not be a cause for behavior changes such as exercise avoidance or lack of drug compliance (skipping meds). Since life style management involving increased physical activities for type 2 diabetes patients, managing hypoglycemia becomes very important. Individuals should check their blood glucose before each exercise and prepare to ingest carbs if needed and/or reducing insulin doses (consult your health providers if insulin reduction is needed while exercise).

Engage with your health professionals (primary doctor, diabetes educator, and pharmacist, etc) to learn and share your successes in managing your diabetes with others in a community supporting group.

Brought to You By:
Charles H. Liu
DDP Medical Writer on Staff

Charles H. Liu, R. Ph, MBA

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