Hypoglycemia

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Diabetes is a disease that is characterised by high blood glucose levels. Ironically, one of the commonest complication of Type1 Diabetes is a state of low blood glucose called Hypoglycemia. The following may lead to Hypoglycemia :

  • Skipping Meals after taking an insulin injection.
  • Delay in taking meals after taking the insulin injection.
  • Exercising without planning or more than planned.
  • Taking a larger dose of insulin than what is prescribed.
  • Taking an insulin injection in the muscles.
  • Taking a hot bath soon after taking an insulin injection.
  • Taking an injection in the limb to be used in exercise (as when a right handed person takes an injection in the right arm before playing a sport like badminton).
  • Symptoms of Hypoglycemia start appearing when the blood glucose level drop below 70mg/dl.
While awake, the following symptoms indicate Hypoglycemia :
  • Excessive Sweating

sweating

  • Pale and cold skin
  • Palpitation
  • Nervousness
  • Shaking of hands / Tremors
  • Fatigue

fatigue

  • Extreme hunger
  • Excessive yawning without cause

yawning

  • Blurred vision
While awake, the following symptoms indicate Hypoglycemia :

 

While sleeping, the following symptoms indicate Hypoglycemia :
  • Waking up with night sweats / nightmares or night terrors / palpitations.
  • Early morning headaches specially in children.

Frequent hypoglycemic spells can lead to a condition in which the brain gets adapted to low blood glucose levels making the person unaware of hypoglycemia. Such a state is therefore called HYPOGLYCEMIC UNAWARENESS and the only identifiable features are excessive yawning and mental clouding.

Hypoglycemia is an emergency which can be reversed easily. But if allowed to progress unchecked, it can lead to Convulsions or Coma.
How to reverse hypoglycemia

Step 1 : Check the blood glucose level and provide an instant source of glucose. It can be found in things like :

  • 1/2 glass of Fruit juice
  • Sugar or honey
  • Milk with sugar
  • Hard candy
  • A scoop of ice-cream
  • Glucose Tablets (2-4 tablets)
  • Fizzy drinks but not the diet ones

This should correct the problem in 10 minutes. WAIT FOR 10 MIN BEFORE DOING ANYTHING ELSE.

Step 2 : Follow it up with a food item like :

Biscuits or Sandwich-with cheese/butter/peanut butter or a glass of milk or a fruit which can maintain blood glucose level for a longer period.

Step 3 : Record the blood glucose level using a home monitoring kit (glucometer, glucose oxidase strips) and record it in the record book.

Step 4 : Consult your doctor