FCS 8749 Symptoms and Treatment of Low Blood Glucose1 Linda B. Bobroff2 Low blood glucose, also called hypoglycemia, can be life threatening for people with diabetes. It can be caused by eating too little food, taking too much insulin or oral diabetes medication, or being extra active. Left untreated, low blood glucose can progress to diabetic coma. Everyone with diabetes needs to know the symptoms of low blood glucose so they can take action right away.* If you work or live with someone with diabetes, you should know the symptoms and treatment too! 1. This document is FCS8749, one of a seri es of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Ext ension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication date: June 2002. Revised: August 2007. Please visit the EDI S Web site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu 2. Linda B. Bobroff, PhD, RD, LD/N, professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Servic e, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Univ ersity of Florida, Gainesville, 32611. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sc iences is an equal opportunity /a ffirmative action employer authorized to provide resea rch, educational information and other services only to indi viduals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, hand icap, or national origin. For information on obtaining other extensi on publications, contact your county Cooperat ive Extension Service office. Florida Co operative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricult ural Sciences / University of Flor ida / Larry R. Arrington, Dean (Graphic printed with permission of Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) *The only way to know for sure that your blood glucose is low is to test it with your meter.
Symptoms and Treatment of High Blood Glucose Page 2 August 2007 TREATING LOW BLOOD GLUCOSE Before you feel symptoms, be prepared! G Ask your doctor what A number @ is low blood glucose for you. That way you will know ahead of time when to treat yourself. Also, ask how much sugar to take if your blood glucose is low. G Always carry pre-measured sugar. The easiest is glucose tablets or gel, table sugar, or hard candy. One dose is 10 to 15 grams. G Many people confuse symptoms of low blood sugar with general fatigue or weakness, so it is important to TEST When you feel symptoms: STEP 1. Check your blood glucose. If you can = t check your blood, but feel like your blood glucose is low, treat it as low. STEP 2. If your blood glucose is low (or you feel that it is low), eat something that will get glucose into your blood fast. If your blood glucose is less than 70 mg/dL*: P Eat 15 grams of sugar (see list of foods). P Wait 15 minutes and test again. P If still below 70 mg/dL, eat 15 grams again, or if it is close to the time of your regular meal eat your regular meal, balancing protein and carbohydrates. P Wait 15 minutes and test again. If still low, call your doctor! If your blood glucose is less than 50 mg/dL*: P eat 30 grams of sugar (see list and eat twice that amount) P wait 15 minutes and test again P if still below 50 mg/dL, eat 30 grams again P wait 15 minutes and test again. If still low, call your doctor! After treating low blood glucose Call your doctor before you take your next insulin dose or your diabetes medication. If you will not be eating a meal within 30 minutes, have a snack with protein and carbohydrate. Snack ideas: P Peanut butter or cheese crackers P Half of a sandwich (cheese or meat or peanut butter) *mg/dL = milligrams per deciliter of blood Foods with 10 to 15 grams of sugar: 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar 2 teaspoons honey 2 teaspoons corn syrup 2 tablespoons raisins cup regular soda cup fruit juice 5 to 7 Lifesavers 6 jellybeans 10 gumdrops cup to 1 cup fat free or 1% milk cake decorating gel (check nutritional facts)