Diabetes: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar

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Diabetes: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar

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If you have diabetes or some other health condition that can cause low blood sugar, follow these steps for dealing with low blood sugar.

  1. Recognize early symptoms. You may not always have the same symptoms. Review the list of symptoms of low blood sugar. Keep this list with you and have another copy posted in your home so that family members can check your symptoms whenever low blood sugar is suspected.
  2. If a blood sugar (glucose) meter is available, check your blood sugar level. You may not always know that your blood sugar level is dropping. Check your blood sugar if you think it may be low.
  3. Eat quick-sugar foods. Liquids will raise your blood sugar faster than solid foods. Keep the list of quick-sugar foods in a convenient place.
  4. Wait 10 to 15 minutes after eating the quick-sugar food and, if possible, check your blood sugar again. If your blood sugar is still below 4.0 mmol/L, eat another quick-sugar food.
  5. If your blood sugar continues to be below 4.0 mmol/L or you are getting more sleepy and less alert, call 911 or other emergency services immediately. If possible, have someone stay with you until your blood sugar is above 4.0 mmol/L or until emergency help arrives.

When your blood sugar has returned to above 4.0 mmol/L, eat a regular meal or a snack (such as a peanut butter sandwich). This will help keep your blood sugar from dropping again.

Follow the appropriate guidelines:


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Last Revised November 3, 2009

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