- Consume 15-20 grams of glucose or simple carbohydrates
- Recheck your blood glucose after 15 minutes
- If hypoglycemia continues, repeat.
- Once blood glucose returns to normal, eat a small snack if your next planned meal or snack is more than an hour or two away.
15 grams of simple carbohydrates commonly used:
- glucose tablets (follow package instructions)
- gel tube (follow package instructions)
- 2 tablespoons of raisins
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of juice or regular soft drink (not diet)
- 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
- 8 ounces of nonfat or 1% milk
- hard candies, jellybeans, or gumdrops (see package to determine how many to consume)
If untreated, hypoglycemia may lead to severe consequences, such as unconsciousness or even coma. In case of unconsciousness someone else should be ready to take over.
There is a hormone, glucagon, able to stimulate your liver to release stored glucose into the blood. In case your blood sugar level is too low, you may need injectable glucagon kits. These kits are used as a medication to treat somebody who has become unconscious. Your doctor is the one that can prescribe glucagon kits. You may ask him/her whether it would be useful for you to have one home, and if need be, how to use it properly.
If you possess a glucagon kit then you should instruct people with whom you are in frequent contact on how to use it in case it is ever needed.
If glucagon is needed:
- Inject glucagon into the individual’s buttock, arm, or thigh, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- When the individual regains consciousness (usually in 5-15 minutes), they may experience nausea and vomiting.
- If you have needed glucagon, let your health care provider know, so they can discuss ways to prevent severe hypoglycemia in the future.
- Inject insulin (it will lower blood glucose even more)
- Provide food or fluids (individual can choke)
- Put hands in mouth (individual can choke)
Your blood sugar level can be lowered by exercising. However there is a counter indication to that. In case your blood sugar level is above 240 mg/dl, you may check your urine for ketones. If you have ketones, you should not exercise. Exercising with ketones is counterproductive, and may make your blood sugar level even higher.
Making changes in your food intake can help as well. Your dietitian can help cutting the amount of food you eat. If exercising and dieting are not enough then your doctor may change your medication or insulin, or even the timing of that.
Work with your doctor to find the safest way for you to lower your blood glucose level.
Hyperglycemia can be prevented with good diabetes management. Another important practice is to learn to detect hyperglycemia early so that you can treat it before it worsen.
- Make sure your hands are clean before you begin. Use water rather than wet wipes (wet wipes contain glycerine that could alter the result).
- Prick the side of a finger – avoid the forefinger and thumb – not the middle, or too close to a nail, because this will really hurt.
- Use a different finger each time and a different part – this will hurt less.
- If you don’t get much blood, hold your hand down towards the ground. This should make more blood flow to the fingers.
- Make sure your hands are warm – if they are really cold it’s hard to draw blood, and finger-pricking will hurt more.
How often should I measure?
Ask your doctor how often you should check your blood glucose. Some people check their blood glucose once a day. Others do it three or four times a day. You may check before and after eating, before bed, and sometimes in the middle of the night.
Don’t be afraid to ask about any measurement you do not understand.
Remember that every target should be personalized so don’t be afraid to discuss your results thoroughly with your doctor
Here are some examples of how you can prepare for your visits with your doctor:
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. If your doctor is going to test your blood sugar, you will need to follow instructions for the tests to be conducted
- Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing
- Ask a family member or friend to join you, if possible
- Bring a notebook and a pen or pencil
- Write down questions to ask your doctor