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What Does It Feel Like When Your Blood Sugar Is Low?

A False Sense Of Hypoglycemia

A False Sense Of Hypoglycemia

By Nora Saul, M.S., R.D., C.D.E., Manager of Nutritional Services at Joslin Hypoglycemia is defined as a blood glucose level below 70mg/dl. But many people find that they feel the symptoms of low blood glucose at levels much higher than expected. Some patients have come into my office reporting getting sweaty, hungry and tachycardic at levels in the mid 130s. Symptoms of hypoglycemia are individual, but may include extreme hunger, nervousness, excessive perspiration, rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), headache, fatigue, mood changes, blurred vision and difficulty concentration and completing mental tasks. Extremely low glucose levels can lead to disorientation and convulsions. People who take insulin or some oral medications that cause the pancreas to produce insulin are usually prone to episodes of hypoglycemia. This is especially true if they are attempting to keep their glucose level as close to normal as possible. But, people in poor control can also have hypoglycemic reactions as they swing from high to low glucose levels. False hypoglycemia is usually due to one of two causes. The first can be compared to an incorrectly programmed thermostat. If you usually keep your room at a steamy 85 degrees, 70 degrees might start to feel chilly. People whose blood glucose is often high trick their body into thinking this is normal. If they rapidly bring their blood glucose into the normal range their bodies’ trigger the same autonomic and neurological warnings as if their blood glucose had fallen into the danger zone. Gradually bringing yourself into better control will help accustom your body to lower blood glucose levels. The other cause of pseudo-hypoglycemia occurs when glucose levels drop rapidly in a short time period. This can happen when exercising vigorously and can oc Continue reading >>

12 Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Out Of Whack

12 Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Out Of Whack

Blood sugar, or glucose, is one of the best things Mother Nature ever provided us with. It's one component of your body chemistry that helps you feel alive and happy. When glucose is at the right level, you're likely to experience a great attitude, a strong immune system, low stress, and a good night's sleep as well. But when blood sugar gets too high, then "crashes," or falls very low, the effects can be devastating to bodily processes. For this reason, the body strives to maintain blood sugar levels within a narrow range through the coordinated efforts of several glands and their hormones. Understanding Blood Sugar Control After you eat a meal, the sugars in each of the foods you eat raises the level of sugar in your blood. The body responds by secreting insulin — a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin lowers blood sugar levels by increasing the rate at which glucose is taken up by cells throughout the body. If you go too long without eating, or eat the wrong (read: "junk") foods, or if your hormones are out of balance, your blood sugar will fall too low. When this happens, your adrenal glands will release adrenalin and cortisol in order to remedy the situation. At this point, you should eat food that will slowly and gradually raise your blood sugar levels again. Most of the time, eating three square meals a day keeps your blood sugar in balance. But when this process gets out of whack, you can find yourself on the blood sugar roller coaster, with no one at the brake switch. How do you know if you're holding a ticket to this invisible junk food ride? 12 Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Out Of Control 1. Your waist is larger than your hips. 2. You find it difficult to lose weight. 3. You crave sweets. 4. You feel infinitely better after you eat. 5. You get irritable if Continue reading >>

Low Blood Sugar Symptoms But Normal Levels

Low Blood Sugar Symptoms But Normal Levels

High blood sugar usually feels bad. Kerri Sparling of the blog Six Until Me said, “It’s a thick feeling in the base of your brain, like someone’s…replaced your gray matter with sticky jam.” Other people report physical symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, headaches, blurry vision, thirst, and frequent urination. These symptoms often drive people to seek help, which is a good thing. Other people can get used to high sugars. They may feel few or no symptoms. That’s not good, because blood vessel damage is still going on, even if you can’t feel it. If your body gets comfortable with higher blood sugars, normal sugars may start to feel bad. A woman named Angela posted to Diabetes Daily, “I feel so crappy when my [blood sugar] is in the 90s…. That seems to be about 50% of the time. Sometimes I test when I’m feeling GOOD and it’s [much higher]…. I want a low A1C, but I don’t want to feel ‘fuzzy’ all the time either.” What is happening is that Angela’s body adjusted to higher sugars. Now she’s getting tighter control, but she’s not used to it. On another site, diabetes educator Janet Mertz explained, “Because your body is accustomed to the higher levels, the lower numbers may now be perceived as too low…. Your body reacts like you’re having low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)…. It generally takes a couple of weeks for the body to adjust to the new, healthier numbers.” Another person wrote on Yahoo! Answers, “When I was diagnosed, my sugar was over 350. I started metformin and eating very little carbohydrate. My levels dropped to the 150s by the end of the week. I wasn’t anywhere near hypoglycemic, but I felt like I was. I had all the signs — dizziness, shakiness, and weakness. Within a couple of weeks, the symptoms disappeared. Continue reading >>

What A Low Blood Sugar Feels Like

What A Low Blood Sugar Feels Like

In this article, we will explore what low blood sugar feels like for different people with diabetes. We will look at the symptoms, how they can change over time, and how they are often different from person to person. We will look at planning ahead, and the treatment of hypoglycemia, hereafter referred to as “low blood sugar.” To get started, patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes were interviewed and asked the question: What is it like and what do you do when life hands you the low blood sugar agenda for the day? Describe your experience. Melissa’s story Melissa is usually gung-ho and ready to go for the day, but when she is handed the low blood sugar agenda, it takes all the wind out of her “cells.” They feel wrinkled up and emaciate. Here is how Melissa describes her low blood sugars: I imagine you, (you wrinkly old emaciated cell with no food in you), as a grumpy old man. I scream at you, though I can’t move. No, I won’t take your stifling agenda! I have to work after all. My kids need me to take them to dance class after school. I’m reluctant to take your agenda, packed with the helplessness that is my poison pill of the day. If I believe those positive self-help type blogs, then I would know that to decide you are happy determines your destination for the day. If you have diabetes, that’s a crock. With diabetes, your low blood sugar determines your agenda, and ultimately what you will be able to do for the day. When it gets below 70, or dips severely low- it begs and screams to be addressed! Especially if it dips fast, then I’m in trouble. Every cell in my body screams out. If it’s too low, I can’t move to do anything about it! Often I get a little dizzy feeling, and then I know I have to treat. I will get the shakes so bad that I can’t Continue reading >>

Diabetic Hypoglycemia

Diabetic Hypoglycemia

What is it? Diabetic hypoglycemia (hi-po-gli-SE-me-uh) happens when the sugar (glucose) in your blood drops too low. This means there is not enough sugar in your blood to give your muscles and brain cells the energy they need to work. This may cause you to faint. When diabetic hypoglycemia happens, you will need treatment right away. After treatment, your blood sugar should rise to a normal level and you should feel better. Causes: Drinking alcohol. Exercising more than usual, without eating extra food. Having a high fever or an infection (in-FEK-shun). Missing a meal or eating a meal later than usual. Taking certain medicines and taking too much insulin (IN-su-lin) or oral (pills taken by mouth) medicine. Pregnancy puts you at higher risk for diabetic hypoglycemia. Signs and Symptoms: If your blood sugar is just a little low, you may have a headache, feel hungry or nervous, have trouble thinking, feel moody or weak, or sweat. If your blood sugar is moderately low, you may sweat a lot, feel very weak, or feel your heart pounding. You may also forget things, see double, be confused, or have trouble walking. Other signs are feeling numb and tingly around your mouth or your fingers. If your blood sugar is dangerously low, you may have convulsions (seizures) or pass out (faint). What can be done for diabetic hypoglycemia? Do the following if you think you have low blood sugar: If you have any symptoms of low blood sugar, check your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is 70 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dl) or below, eat or drink a source of sugar. Talk to your caregiver about low blood sugar and how it should be treated. Following are some sources of sugar that you can drink or eat to treat low blood sugar: Drink four ounces (one-half cup) of fruit juice, eat five to six pieces of Continue reading >>

Alcohol Can Cause Hypoglycaemia: Nine Signs You Could Have Dangerous Low Blood Sugar

Alcohol Can Cause Hypoglycaemia: Nine Signs You Could Have Dangerous Low Blood Sugar

A common cause of hypoglycaemia is taking too much insulin which is a medication which helps control blood sugar levels. Insulin is commonly prescribed to treat type 1 diabetes and is also recommended for some people with type 2 diabetes. Hypoglycaemia is rare in people who don’t have diabetes but it can be caused - in rare cases - by people with Addison’s disease, fasting or malnutrition, binge drinking or heavy drinking of alcohol or certain medication. A fall in blood glucose levels can also occur after taking too much oral hypoglycaemia medication, which causes a release of insulin. This medication is often used to lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Experiencing hypoglycaemia can be dangerous because people can lose consciousness and even fall into a coma. The symptoms of hypoglycaemia usually begin when blood glucose levels drop below four millimoles (mmol) per litre. Typical early warning signs are feeling hungry, trembling or shakiness, and sweating. In more severe cases some people also feel confused. People with diabetes - particularly those who treat the condition with insulin - are often advised to use a small device called a blood glucose meter to regularly check your blood glucose levels. However, symptoms can vary from person to person, and experts warn it is important to be aware of the early warning signs so they can be treated. NHS Choices said: “People should be careful when drinking alcohol as it can also cause hypoglycaemia, sometimes many hours after drinking.” Diabetes.co.uk said: “When we drink alcohol, the alcohol can inhibit the liver’s ability to release glucose into the blood. “This can be particularly significant for people on stronger medication such as insulin because it can mean that the liver is not a Continue reading >>

What Is Low Blood Sugar?

What Is Low Blood Sugar?

Blood sugar is considered to be too low if it is lower than 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 4 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). If low blood sugar is not treated right away, you could pass out, have a seizure, go into a coma, or even die. When you have diabetes, it’s important to watch your blood sugar level closely. This is especially important if you are newly diagnosed and are learning how to regulate your medicine (if any), diet, and exercise. Regular testing of your blood sugar, as recommended by your healthcare provider, may allow you to detect and treat low blood sugar before it causes serious symptoms. You may be able to prevent ever having low blood sugar. The medical term for low blood sugar is hypoglycemia. If you are taking insulin, very low blood sugar is sometimes called an insulin reaction or insulin shock. What is the cause? Low blood sugar is usually a side effect of diabetes treatment. It can also result from medicines or other conditions or diseases. When you have diabetes, low blood sugar can be caused by too much insulin or other diabetes medicine. If you are using insulin, it may happen because: You have accidentally used too much or the wrong type of insulin. Your insulin is no longer good because it has expired or was not stored properly. You have an insulin pump that is not working properly. Some other things that can cause abnormally low blood sugar when you have diabetes are: Exercising more than usual Skipping or delaying meals or snacks Having a meal or snack that is too small Dieting to lose weight Not taking diabetes medicines at the right time Side effects of other medicines Drinking alcohol Diarrhea or vomiting Low blood sugar from these other causes is usually not as low and not as dangerous as low blood sugar caused by too much Continue reading >>

Low Blood Sugar (hypoglycemia)

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 needed. However, for those on these specific medications, a short-term reduction in blood sugar can cause a lot of problems. Your blood sugar is considered low when it drops below 70 mg/dL. Immediate treatment for low blood sugar levels is important to prevent more serious symptoms from developing. Explaining low blood sugar in layman's terms » Symptoms of low blood sugar can occur suddenly. They include: rapid heartbeat sudden nervousness headache hunger shaking sweating People with hypoglycemic unawareness do not know their blood sugar is dropping. If you have this condition, your blood sugar Continue reading >>

What A Low Blood Sugar Feels Like

What A Low Blood Sugar Feels Like

Perhaps you have seen the video going viral on Facebook right now where four amazing women with type 1 diabetes talks about what low blood sugar feels like? I love this video, and it inspired me to think about what a low blood sugar feels like for me and to put it into words in this post. I think this is particularly useful for friends and family who may not know or understand what it’s like. Please watch the video and consider sharing this post with your loved ones if you feel that it helps explain how you feel when you have a low. No compatible source was found for this media. What Low Blood Sugar Feels Like Trying to explain a feeling is always hard, and trying to explain something as unique as the feeling of low blood sugar (or hypoglycemia) is even harder. The physical aspects of a low are easier, so let’s start with those. I almost always feel the signs of a low blood sugar before it becomes critical. I’ll feel it when my blood sugar is around 60 mg/dL (3 mmol/L). I’ll start shaking a little, my cognitive function goes out the window, I get weak, and I typically start sweating (these are the most common low blood sugar symptoms). A cup of juice or 2-3 glucose tabs will usually get me right back to normal pretty quickly and I’ll move on with my day. But when I don’t catch them before they get severe, and my sugars dip lower, then that’s a whole other story. This rarely happens during the day, since I can catch them before they get this bad, but will sometimes happen during my sleep. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and know it’s bad if I’ve had a stress dream (things will move excessively fast in my dream or I’ll be caught in a loop of some sort), I’m sweating profusely, and shaking. And then there’s the feeling! It’s an urge, an Continue reading >>

What A Low Blood Sugar Feels Like

What A Low Blood Sugar Feels Like

What A Low Blood Sugar Feels Like Here I am again. Where I find myself vulnerable and exposed to the most unsettling and debilitating aspect of diabetes that consumes my mind and body in a short amount of time. A low blood sugar which was caught unexpectedly and suddenly. A low blood sugar or (hypoglycemia) meaning that my glucose level drops below 70 mg/dL and I now starve for energy. It’s a feeling I know all too well, and I feel as weak as I did the last time. I can’t run from it but only bear through it, fix it, and come out of it once again. It has caught me dead in my tracks. I urge to resist this constraint it has over me. “No I’m fine”, I think to myself. “My meter must be inaccurate”. But I know that I’m not okay. I’m tired, even more than I usually am (if that’s even possible). All I want to do is lay down and go to sleep. I know that this is my body wanting to shut down. My mind is the first to trail off, and my body takes a little longer to catch up. I start to feel confused, dazed, and slightly numb to my surroundings. I start to lose myself in the moment and focus heavily on something random. It takes a minute or two to take in what’s going on. It’s as if time is standing still… The earth is still revolving… the clock is still ticking… but I’m not all there. I catch myself, and then gain a sense of adrenaline. My body uses the rest of the energy it has stored, and I go off of instinctual impulse or what you would call a (fight-or-flight response). I now become frantic, I’m looking for food, I’m sweaty, eyes are blurry, I’m fumbling my words, and somewhat disorientated. I can’t keep my train of thought. All I know is that I need sugar, fast. I scramble for food and juice. Wrappers and crumbs everywhere. I’m not hung Continue reading >>

What A High Blood Sugar Feels Like.

What A High Blood Sugar Feels Like.

The American Diabetes Association cites the following symptoms as indicative of high blood sugar: High blood glucose [Editor’s note: Duh] High levels of sugar in the urine Frequent urination Increased thirst And if high blood sugar goes untreated? “Hyperglycemia can be a serious problem if you don’t treat it, so it’s important to treat as soon as you detect it. If you fail to treat hyperglycemia, a condition called ketoacidosis (diabetic coma) could occur. Ketoacidosis develops when your body doesn’t have enough insulin. Without insulin, your body can’t use glucose for fuel, so your body breaks down fats to use for energy. When your body breaks down fats, waste products called ketones are produced. Your body cannot tolerate large amounts of ketones and will try to get rid of them through the urine. Unfortunately, the body cannot release all the ketones and they build up in your blood, which can lead to ketoacidosis.” – ADA website But what does a high blood sugar feel like? Because when you see someone who is working through an elevated blood sugar, they may not look terribly out of sorts. But what is happening inside of them is real, and plays out in a myriad of ways for every person with diabetes. I’ve tried to write about it several times, but each high is different, and affects me in different ways: “It’s a thick feeling in the base of your brain, like someone’s cracked open your head and replaced your gray matter with sticky jam. I find myself zoning out and staring at things, and my eyeballs feel dry and like they’re tethered to my head by frayed ropes instead of optic nerves. Everything is slow and heavy and whipped with heavy cream.” – Oh, High! “There’s something about a high blood sugar that makes my body feel weighted down, l Continue reading >>

15 Ways High Blood Sugar Affects Your Body

15 Ways High Blood Sugar Affects Your Body

High blood sugar symptoms Glucose, or sugar, is the fuel that powers cells throughout the body. Blood levels of this energy source ebb and flow naturally, depending what you eat (and how much), as well as when you eat it. But when something goes wrong—and cells aren't absorbing the glucose—the resulting high blood sugar damages nerves, blood vessels, and organs, setting the stage for dangerous complications. Normal blood-sugar readings typically fall between 60 mg/dl and 140 mg/dl. A blood test called a hemoglobin A1c measures average blood sugar levels over the previous three months. A normal reading is below 5.7% for people without diabetes. An excess of glucose in the bloodstream, or hyperglycemia, is a sign of diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes don’t make insulin, the hormone needed to ferry sugar from the bloodstream into cells. Type 2 diabetes means your body doesn’t use insulin properly and you can end up with too much or too little insulin. Either way, without proper treatment, toxic amounts of sugar can build up in the bloodstream, wreaking havoc head to toe. That’s why it’s so important to get your blood sugar levels in check. “If you keep glucose levels near normal, you reduce the risk of diabetes complications,” says Robert Ratner, MD, chief scientific and medical officer of the American Diabetes Association. Here’s a rundown of the major complications and symptoms of high blood sugar. No symptoms at all Often, high blood sugar causes no (obvious) symptoms at all, at least at first. About 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, but one in four has no idea. Another 86 million have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. That's why it’s a good idea to get your blood sugar test Continue reading >>

Hypoglycemia (low Blood Sugar) In People Without Diabetes - Topic Overview

Hypoglycemia (low Blood Sugar) In People Without Diabetes - Topic Overview

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is most common in people who have diabetes. If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes and need more information about low blood sugar, see the topics: You may have briefly felt the effects of low blood sugar when you've gotten really hungry or exercised hard without eating enough. This happens to nearly everyone from time to time. It's easy to correct and usually nothing to worry about. But low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can also be an ongoing problem. It occurs when the level of sugar in your blood drops too low to give your body energy. Ongoing problems with low blood sugar can be caused by: Medicines. Metabolic problems. Alcohol use. Symptoms can be different depending on how low your blood sugar level drops. Mild hypoglycemia can make you feel hungry or like you want to vomit. You could also feel jittery or nervous. Your heart may beat fast. You may sweat. Or your skin might turn cold and clammy. Moderate hypoglycemia often makes people feel short-tempered, nervous, afraid, or confused. Your vision may blur. You could also feel unsteady or have trouble walking. Severe hypoglycemia can cause you to pass out. You could have seizures. It could even cause a coma or death. If you've had hypoglycemia during the night, you may wake up tired or with a headache. And you may have nightmares. Or you may sweat so much during the night that your pajamas or sheets are damp when you wake up. To diagnose hypoglycemia, your doctor will do a physical exam and ask you questions about your health and any medicines you take. You will need blood tests to check your blood sugar levels. Some tests might include not eating (fasting) and watching for symptoms. Other tests might involve eating a meal that could cause symptoms of low blood sugar seve Continue reading >>

Low Blood Sugar? 8 Warning Signs If You Have Diabetes

Low Blood Sugar? 8 Warning Signs If You Have Diabetes

Do you know the No. 1 cause of blood sugar dips? Changes in food intake. You may go too long without eating carbohydrates, or step up your activity without adding extra food. Certain diabetes medications, such as insulin, can cause low blood sugar as well. Either way, these situations can cause hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. And it’s sometimes difficult to tell for sure when you’re experiencing problems. Symptoms may vary from person to person; not everyone has the same warning signs. The problems are sometimes mild, but if they’re severe and left untreated, they could lead to seizures or unconsciousness. Here’s what you need to know to recognize hypoglycemia when it happens — as well as steps you can take to help avoid the problem. What are the most common signs of trouble? Health professionals typically define hypoglycemia as blood sugar in a non-pregnant adult that is lower than 70mg/dl. However, experts don’t define the severity by the number, but rather by the symptoms: Mild. In this case, low blood sugar can be treated by the person with diabetes alone. Moderate. The person experiencing low blood sugar is alert enough to ask for help, but he or she does require assistance. Severe. This person is completely unable to self-treat and may be awake or unconscious. Talk to your doctor to see what target levels are safe for you. If you suspect you’re dealing with hypoglycemia, here are the most common symptoms to watch for: Sweating– One of the first signs of hypoglycemia is sweating or clammy skin. It often occurs regardless of the temperature outside. Hunger – Your body is great at letting you know when something is wrong. If it needs more glucose, it often sends out hunger signals. Watch for signs like feeling hungry even when you’ve eaten a mea Continue reading >>

How To Treat Low Blood Sugar: 7 Tricks Every Diabetic Should Know

How To Treat Low Blood Sugar: 7 Tricks Every Diabetic Should Know

What causes hypoglycemia? iStock/Erna Vader Taking certain diabetes medications, skipping meals, not consuming enough carbs, and even too much exercise can throw your blood sugar off balance and cause low blood sugar. Insomnia and excessive alcohol consumption have also been linked to low glucose levels. When blood sugar dips to a level that's too low to sustain normal functioning—in most people, that's below 70 mg/dl—it results in a hypo attack with varying symptoms depending on its severity. People who have recurring bouts of low blood sugar may have no warning signs at all, explains Michael Bergman, MD, endocrinologist and clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. This is known as hypoglycemic unawareness; the longer you’ve had diabetes, the more common it is. On the milder end of the low blood sugar spectrum, you may feel hungry, nauseated, jittery, nervous, and have cold and clammy-feeling skin. Many people also describe the feeling that their heart is racing or pounding. Low blood sugar can happen at night, too, causing nightmares and night sweats. Moderate low blood sugar can cause behavioral changes, making you fearful, confused, or angry. It can also trigger blurry vision, slurred speech, and problems with balance and walking. A layperson may even mistake you for being drunk. If left untreated, severe low blood sugar can cause loss of consciousness, seizures, irreversible brain or heart damage, coma, or even death. Here are first aid tips to handle a diabetic emergency. iStock/Geber86 It goes like this: If your blood sugar reading is low (below 70 mg/dl), eat or drink something equal to 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate (4 ounces of juice). Even if you feel okay, don't wait for the symptoms of hypoglycemia to kick in. Rest for 15 mi Continue reading >>

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