Let’s look at low blood sugar symptoms and causes and all that you need to know. A blood sugar reading of below 70 mg/dL is considered to be low blood sugar (also referred to as hypoglycemia).
There are many causes of low blood sugar. They include taking too much insulin, missing a meal, overexertion during exercise, taking other diabetes medicines, and drinking alcohol. The common low blood sugar symptoms include anxiety, sweating, shaking, dizziness, irritability, confusion, or hunger.
Health conditions such as diseases of the heart, loss of vision, and kidney diseases are related to your blood sugar levels. It, therefore, becomes very important to keep those blood sugar levels within your target range. This helps to either prevent or delay these conditions in the long term. Staying within your target range also helps you to improve your energy levels and mood.
There are two ways of checking your blood sugar even before low blood sugar symptoms start to show.
You can use a blood sugar meter (what is commonly referred to as a glucometer). This is used when measuring the blood sugar levels in a small sample of blood. The small sample is usually drawn from your fingertip.
You can also use a continuous glucose meter (CGM) if you experience low blood sugar symptoms.
A sensor is inserted under the skin in order to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. However, you will still need to test daily using a glucometer to confirm the accuracy of the CGM readings.
Automatic continuous glucose monitoring tracks your blood sugar levels throughout the day and night, so you can always see your current glucose level. Reviewing your glucose changes over a few hours or days can help you identify trends.
Low blood sugar symptoms can change over time so it is recommended to test blood sugar levels often.
The frequency in which you check your blood sugar levels depends on two things. The type of diabetes that you have and the diabetic medication that you take. The typical times when you check your blood sugar levels include: Right after waking up before you eat or drink anything, before you take your meals, a couple of hours after having your meals, and at bedtime. You can also check whenever you feel any low blood sugar symptoms. Type 1 and type 2 diabetics are encouraged to check often blood sugar checks, such as before and after engaging in any physical activity.
Blood sugar target ranges differ from one person to another. They depend on various factors such as age or other health problems. The normal targets include 80- 130 mg/dL before meals and below 180 mg/dL two hours after taking your meals. Talk to your doctor to advise you on the best targets for you.
What should you do once you notice low blood sugar symptoms?
Low blood sugar symptoms can be dangerous if they are left untreated. You should seek treatment as soon as possible once you notice the symptoms. If you have low blood sugar, always ensure that you carry supplies for treating it with you. Whenever you have the symptoms, always begin by checking your blood sugar levels.
If they are below 70 mg/dL, you can drink four ounces of fruit juice or take four tablets of glucose or drink four ounces of regular soda or take four pieces of hard candy.
You should then wait for about 15 minutes and check the levels again. You should repeat either of the above treatments until your levels rise above 70 mg/dL.
You can also have a snack if your meal is an hour or more away. If your low blood sugar levels persist, you should seek medical advice for a treatment plan.