Hypoglycemia is when the body has a low level of blood glucose (blood sugar) of 70mg/dl or less. Glucose is the main way your body gets energy. This condition is common in people with diabetes, but can happen to a non-diabetic.
One or more of these symptoms may indicate low blood sugar.
- Incoherent, spacey
- Mood changes
- Inattentive, drowsy, headache
- Glassy eyes, dilated pupils
- Sweaty, shaky, clammy, pale
- Fast or irregular heartbeats
What to do if you have low blood sugar:
1. Eat 15 grams of glucose, such as 4 oz or 1⁄2 cup of 100% juice, 1 bite-sized candy bar, 1⁄2 cup of a non-diet soda, glucose tablets in 15 gm increments, a small apple or orange, or half a banana.
2. Wait 15 minutes and repeat blood sugar check.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until blood sugar is within the range of 70 to 100mg/dl.
Tips to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can be as simple as changes to your diet and eating schedule.
- Eat a balanced diet that is low in sugar and high in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates.
- It’s okay to eat good complex carbohydrates, such as a small sweet potato, a medium apple, 1 cup of blueberries, or whole grain oatmeal. Avoid eating processed, refined carbohydrates such as white bread, cookies, chips, pastries, pizza, many breakfast cereals, and pasta.
- Eat small meals every two hours to help keep your blood sugar levels stable.
- Test your blood sugar as directed by your doctor.
- Check your sugars before and after exercise, and discuss with your doctor what types of changes you can make.
If there’s a severe reaction, a seizure, or unconscious state, call 911. Do not give insulin.
Be sure family members or close friends are aware of what to do in the event of an emergency. Wearing a medical bracelet can provide critical information about a person’s health status
Sheree Taylor, Human Sciences Regional Extension Agent, Human Nutrition, Diet, and Health
New September 2021, Hypoglycemia, FCS-2552