Hypoglycemia symptoms vary from person to person and from episode to episode. The trouble is that some symptoms can mimic drunkenness. If people see you shaky and lacking coordination, they might just think you're intoxicated. "Oh no, not another drunk."
That's why it's important that you wear some identification showing that you have diabetes. Also, before it gets worse, as soon as you feel the hypoglycemia symptoms, drink orange juice or eat a candy or take a glucose tablet or glucose gel.
Before we go to the hypoglycemia symptoms, let's make it clear what this condition is. Hypo in Greek means low, glyc stands for blood sugar and emia refers to blood. To translate this into layman's language, it just means there's too little sugar in the blood to fulfill the body's metabolic needs.
It is good to know the reasons behind this condition so we can try to prevent it from happening. My idea to present this section on hypoglycemia symptoms is to include prevention and treatment. So let's look at the causes first. They can happen due to one or more of the following:
Too much insulin is the most common cause of this condition.
Too much medication
Eating too little food or skipping and delaying meal times
Excessive physical activity
No replacement of food after nausea and vomiting
Now here we come to the hypoglycemia symptoms. I will sort them into three categories so that while they are mild, you can take precaution and avoid the extreme when you may lose consciousness. Remember that if we do not pay attention to this, it will pose a great immediate danger.
Mild Hypoglycemia Symptoms:
Shaky, sweaty and nervous
Treat the above early signs right away so they will not graduate to the moderate ones. As soon as you are aware of these early signs, drink juice or take the glucose tablets or gel or drink regular soft drinks and monitor your blood glucose level.
Moderate Hypoglycemia Symptoms
Changed personality, behavior and mood
Confused and disoriented
Unable to concentrate and uncoordinated
Blurry eyesight like seeing double
Dizzy and sleepy
Weak and lethargic
Severe Hypoglycemia Symptoms
Inability to swallow
Loss of consciousness
Seizure and convulsions
Remember that prompt treatment of the mild and moderate reaction will help prevent unconsciousness and seizures or convulsions. These severe reactions do not usually happen when quick treatment is provided at the first sign of a possible low blood reaction. Treat it even when in doubt.
Here's a video on Halle Berry discussing her diabetes. The comment was that she is misinformed and has not "cured" her diabetes (which ever type you may be), because that is not yet possible. Whatever it is my take on this is that she is taking good care of herself and in the process is achieving her dream.
Now let's go to the recipe for prevention. If you've recognized the symptoms, have a snack or a meal as soon as possible. If you're next meal is over an hour away, have some cheese and crackers and ask yourself some questions like did you miss a meal? Here's some preventive measures:
Monitor your blood sugar often.
Follow your meal plan.
Follow the exercise plan.
Take the medication as prescribed by the doctor.
Whenever there's a change in your diet, physical activity and medication, closely monitor your blood sugar level.
Report your findings to your health care provider as a change may be needed in your medication and insulin dosage and exercise and meal plans as well.
Whatever the reason or the cause of this condition, treat it promptly to avoid the worst case scenario of unconsciousness and convulsions. Check to see if you really have low blood sugar and if it is below 70 mg/dL, treat it right away. What is the rule of thumb? Take 15 grams of carbohydrates and give it 15 minutes to see if your blood glucose will go up.
Regular soft drinks
Dex4 glucose tablets
BD glucose tablets
This condition is a diabetes complication but it can be managed efficiently by learning as much as you can about it. Only then can you prepare wisely to cope with any eventuality and you will, because you will be guided accordingly by what you read and by following your health care team's advice. Congratulations for having gone this far.
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