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How Low Is Too Low For Blood Sugar

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Low Blood Sugar (hypoglycemia)

Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, can be a dangerous condition. Low blood sugar can happen in people with diabetes who take medicines that increase insulin levels in the body. Taking too much medication, skipping meals, eating less than normal, or exercising more than usual can lead to low blood sugar for these individuals. Blood sugar is also known as glucose. Glucose comes from food and serves as an important energy source for the body. Carbohydrates — foods such as rice, potatoes, bread, tortillas, cereal, fruit, vegetables, and milk — are the body’s main source of glucose. After you eat, glucose is absorbed into your bloodstream, where it travels to your body’s cells. A hormone called insulin, which is made in the pancreas, helps your cells use glucose for energy. If you eat more glucose than you need, your body will store it in your liver and muscles or change it into fat so it can be used for energy when it’s needed later. Without enough glucose, your body cannot perform its normal functions. In the short term, people who aren’t on medications that increase insulin have enough glucose to maintain blood sugar levels, and the liver can make glucose if nee Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. loverain

    Hello...I have been monitoring my glucose levels as I was told they were high when I had a test in the ER. I have fasting blood sugar levels of 116 to 126 but will have 98 to 116 two hours after a meal. I have been told that fasting blood sugar should be tested any where from 8 hours to 12 hours after a nights fast. I usually try to test 8 to 10 hours after I get up in the morning. Is there a hard, fast rule as to how many hours after your last meal the night before to call it fasting blood sugar? I'm so confused. It's strange that my levels will be lower two hours after a meal and higher after fasting 8 to 10 hours through the night. When I had the blood test in the ER it was done just as a matter of course...I wasn't in there for that purpose. The ER doc just told me that my level was kind of high and I should monitor my levels. I am not sure what to think...I haven't been told that I am pre-diabetic or anything like that. I bought a blood sugar monitor and started testing...hope I'm doing it right. How many hours should I fast through the night? Thanks.

  2. Lanie G

    Hi loverain, welcome to the Diabetes Forum. Sometimes there are no exact answers to questions here because it varies with the person and also because of the different opinions of the medical professionals. The reason I say this is when I was looking for what "normal" blood sugar readings should be for post prandial (after eating), for example, I found wide, wide ranges. Ok, so back to your question. Fasting is normally "overnight" and implies 8 hours or more and doctors are looking for under 100 for that. Your post prandial readings seem fine - but if you want to scrutinize them, they might be elevated. A "normal" person who doesn't have diabetes or who isn't pre-diabetic, would most likely have lower numbers. What affects those post prandial readings is what you ate at the meal. Carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, pasta and rice will give high readings to most people (even normals) if they ate a lot of them but then a normal person's blood sugar would recover more quickly and a diabetic or prediabetic's blood sugar would stay elevated for a longer time. Sometimes the reason you might have a higher fasting than post prandial is because of "dawn phenomenon" when the body decides it wants to wake up and be ready for action and sends glucose into the blood stream so you can use it when you go to work cutting timber. haha Not a joke really because we need energy to do work, true, but this is an example of the body thinking for itself. Unfortunately, you're probably not a lumberjack. In all likelyhood, you might be lucky you were "caught" this way, that is, before you went on living for years and years with high blood sugar and not knowing it. Living like that might damage your heart, kidneys and eyes and can cause neuropathy. I was 'caught' early and I also was told to monitor my blood sugar three years ago. Because of this, I changed my way of eating and I've become more active doing exercise, etc. I'm convinced this has helped prevent full-blown diabetes and hopefully I'll be able to manage it rather than treat it. Do you have any family members with diabetes?

    Lanie
    forum moderator - diabetes
    diabetes controlled so far by low/no carb diet and exercise; no meds

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  3. loverain

    hello Lanie, Yes I do have family members with diabetes...my mom's siblings had diabetes and my mom developed it in her 60's. I am now 62 myself. I'm wondering if my high stress and anxiety level would have anything to do with my high glucose readings. I have been under so much stress for the last four years...I lost four sisters during that time...three of them passed within one year. It's been so hard to live through...I am beginning to accept it now but it's been extremely stressful. I just don't understand why my readings would be so much higher in the morning after a nights fast and be lower two hours after meals. I had a reading of 139 this morning and a reading of 80 two hours after lunch. I will try to learn about dawn phenomenom. I will also go get tested by the doctor. I appreciate your response. Thank you so much.
    Joni

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