What is hypoglycemia?

Posted on March 15 2012

When blood sugar concentration is too low, this results in hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar can result in degraded functioning and potentially threatening conditions. Effective blood glucose monitoring and insulin adjustment techniques should be applied to maintain healthy functioning. Monitoring for Hypoglycemia Blood sugar is regulated by food intake and insulin production. A drop in blood glucose levels below 70mg/dL may trigger symptoms of hypoglycemia. Regular blood sugar monitoring is suggested to maintain healthy glucose levels. The most common period for this occurrence is during normal rest times from midnight to 8am. What Causes Hypoglycemia? Hypoglycemia can be a result of excess insulin, decreased intake of food, and increased physical activity. Skipping, limiting, or delaying meals will lower the amount of sugar in the blood and may lead to hypoglycemic symptoms. Additional care must also be taken during periods of increased activity such as exercise or alcohol consumption as this will utilize more glucose in the blood. What are Symptoms of Hypoglycemia? A significant decrease in blood sugar will result in a variety of symptoms including weakness, nervousness, and even seizures. In some instances, the individual may feel nauseous or even vomit. Evaluation of these symptoms should include checking for sweating, increased heart rate, nervousness, and confusion as these may all manifest due to hypoglycemia. Treating Hypoglycemia Barring any abnormal situation, Hypoglycemia can be treated by the addition of carbohydrates incrementally. Foods and drinks such as fruit juice, crackers, honey, sugar, milk, and sandwiches are an excellent way to gradually introduce sugar. After a small snack such as half a cup of juice and a few crackers, test the blood glucose level to ensure it is over 60-70mg/dL. Add more until this level has been reached. Hypoglycemia tends to be more frequent in persons with Type 1 Diabetes, however, it can occur in patients with Type 2 as well, particularly as a result of medications. The most effective defense is to regularly monitor blood glucose levels and have snacks available to counteract a significant decrease.


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