Blood sugar in medical terms refers to glucose that travels through the bloodstream and becomes an energy supply to every cell in every organ of the body. Our digestive system manufactures glucose from the foods we eat. For the body to function properly, an adequate supply of glucose must remain steady in the blood. If the amount of glucose in the blood falls below 70 mg/dL (the world standard for measuring) it is considered low.
Diabetics may get low blood sugar from taking too much insulin. They are equipped to
check their own blood sugar. For others, the first way to treat low blood sugar is by recognizing the symptoms. You may experience several of the following symptoms:
- Racing pulse
After checking the blood sugar level, or if you think it is too low according to your symptoms, immediately follow the “rule of 15”. Eat something with 15 grams of carbohydrates. To make this simple, you can drink 1/2 cup of fruit juice or 3/4 cup of soda (regular not diet). Hard candies chewed quickly can also be used. Fifteen grams of carbs would be about eight lifesavers. Wait 15 minutes. Test your blood sugar level again, or if symptoms persists, have another 15 grams of carbs.
If you are diabetic and keep a supply of glucose tablets, use 4 of the tablets for each of the 15-minute intervals. When the blood sugar level goes back to normal, or symptoms subside, immediately have a snack or a meal that includes some protein. This can help keep the blood sugar from dropping again.
Testing your blood sugar at different intervals during the day can help you pinpoint patterns that may be responsible for the dips in blood sugar. Some factors to consider are certain foods, drinking alcoholic beverages, specific medications, and stress. Along with your doctor, you can figure out the best way to keep your blood sugar level normal. This may be a combination of diet and exercise.
Those who are not diabetic and suffer from frequent episodes of low blood sugar will find that smaller, frequent, well-balanced meals along with exercise is very effective in keeping the blood sugar at a normal level. It is important to not misunderstand and think that low blood sugar means you need more sugar. The opposite is true. Avoid meals that are heavy in starch, too many sweets and too much caffeine.
The brain is one organ in the body that relies heavily on glucose to keep it functioning. That is why one of the symptoms of low blood sugar is mental confusion. Very severe low blood sugar can cause a lack of consciousness. Whether diabetic or not, if you feel this could be a problem for you, consider purchasing a glucagon kit. Glucagon is a hormone that works quickly to bring the blood glucose level up. It is injected and is used when someone is not conscious enough to take something by mouth. Keep the kit in a handy location and make sure a family member or friend knows how to use it. Severe low blood sugar can cause coma or even death.