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Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)

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You know the feeling - that shaky, clammy, confused fog of a low blood sugar. Those moments can be scary and overwhelming, and they are unfortunately common in life with type 1 diabetes. But with awareness, advancements in technology, and advocacy, low blood sugar can be corrected quickly and safely.

In terms of numbers, a blood sugar number less than 70 mg/dL is considered low. (Note: "low blood sugar" and "hypoglycemia" mean the same thing.) If blood sugar is low, fast-acting sugar should be administered immediately to help raise blood sugar, because without treatment, it could progress to unconsciousness, seizures or death.

To treat a low blood sugar, there are several options:  fast-acting glucose sources like glucose tabs or gels, foods like orange juice or raisins, or administering glucagon.

In recent years, advancements in diabetes technology have included continuous glucose monitors (which can detect blood sugars that are trending towards hypoglycemia, helping people with diabetes treat low blood sugar proactively) and insulin pumps that automatically titrate insulin lower in efforts to proactively ward off hypoglycemia. Additionally, the recent approval of inhaled glucagon, as well as shelf-stable glucagon, has made the administration of glucagon easier.

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How to Treat a Low

Learn how to treat low blood sugars quickly and effectively

SYMPTOMS OF A LOW

Symptoms of low blood sugars vary from person to person, but the standard symptoms* are usually:

  • Feeling shaky
  • Being nervous or anxious
  • Sweating, chills and clamminess
  • Irritability or impatience
  • Confusion
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Hunger
  • Nausea
  • Color draining from the skin (pallor)
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Feeling weak or having no energy
  • Blurred/impaired vision
  • Tingling or numbness in the lips, tongue, or cheeks
  • Headaches
  • Coordination problems, clumsiness
  • Nightmares or crying out during sleep
  • Seizures

* symptom list from the American Diabetes Association

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