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What Happens When Blood Glucose Levels Fall

What To Do When Your Blood Sugar Levels Drop Too Low

What To Do When Your Blood Sugar Levels Drop Too Low

If you take insulin or diabetes medication, you may be at risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Without quick attention, hypoglycemia can lead to serious complications, so it’s important to know what to do if it happens to you. “In very severe cases, it can lead to seizures or loss of consciousness,” says Marilyn Tan, MD, an assistant professor of medicine, endocrinology, gerontology, and metabolism at Stanford Health Care. It's possible to have hypoglycemia but have no symptoms, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). On the other hand, symptoms can also come on rapidly. While symptoms vary from person to person, if you have mild to moderate low blood sugar you may: Feel shaky or jittery Sweat a lot Be very hungry Have a headache or be lightheaded Turn pale Have trouble concentrating Have heart palpitations Be irritable or combative Have blurred vision or see double “Some people feel tingling or numbness in their extremities too,” says Rodolfo Galindo, MD, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology, diabetes, and bone disease at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and director of the Hospital Diabetes Service at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai West hospitals in New York City. Your Hypoglycemia Action Plan If you experience symptoms of hypoglycemia, it’s important to take action. Start with these steps: Test your blood sugar. If you recognize any of these symptoms and believe your blood sugar may be too low, the first step you should take is to test your blood sugar with your glucose meter, Dr. Tan says. Anything less than 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) is considered low blood sugar, according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM). However, target levels Continue reading >>

What Happens When Your Sugar Drops To A Dangerous Level In Your Body?

What Happens When Your Sugar Drops To A Dangerous Level In Your Body?

Effects of Severe Hypoglycemia Without emergency treatment, prolonged severe hypoglycemia results in permanent brain damage and irreversible cardiac problems, especially if you already have heart disease. Hypoglycemia causes weakness, tremors, rapid heartbeat and dizziness. Serious injuries can result from loss of consciousness while driving or falling down stairs, according to Joslin Diabetes Center. Drug-induced hypoglycemia is often responsible for falls that cause serious injuries in the elderly who take diabetes medications, such as chlorpropamide, reports the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy. Because many health conditions have similar symptoms, do not ignore recurring symptoms of hypoglycemia, whether mild or severe, as they can be a sign of a serious, undiagnosed medical condition. Food, Exercise and Medications Affect Blood-Sugar Levels Too little food, strenuous exercise that burns large amounts of sugar, caffeine or excessive alcohol consumption can cause hypoglycemia. Medications prescribed to treat heart problems or high blood pressure, such as beta-blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme agents, also called ACE inhibitors, may mask symptoms of low blood sugar, reports the University of Michigan Health System. Medications, such as quinolones, antibiotics prescribed to treat urinary tract infections, can cause hypoglycemia, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Diseases That Cause Hypoglycemia Diseases that cause your pancreas, liver, kidneys or other organs to malfunction, or glandular problems, such as underactive thyroid, may also cause a drop in blood-sugar levels. Other causes of hypoglycemia include inherited metabolic abnormalities and autoimmune disorders. Normal Blood Sugar Levels The Joslin Diabetes Center provides th Continue reading >>

Effects Of Low Blood Sugar On The Body

Effects Of Low Blood Sugar On The Body

The Effects of low blood sugar on the Body Every cell in your body needs sugar (glucose) to function. When your blood sugar levels drop too low, your cells become starved for energy. Initially, that can cause minor symptoms, but if you don’t get your blood sugar levels up soon, you’re at risk of serious complications. When your blood sugar (glucose) levels fall below the normal range, it’s called hypoglycemia, or insulin shock. Low blood sugar can happen when you skip a meal. It can also happen if your pancreas releases more insulin than it should after you’ve eaten. The most common reason for low blood sugar is diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas can no longer produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t make enough, or your body can’t use it properly. To keep blood sugar levels from rising too much (hyperglycemia), you need the right amount of insulin. With insufficient insulin, your blood sugar levels rise. Too much, and your blood sugar levels can plummet. Another possible cause of low blood sugar is drinking too much alcohol, especially on an empty stomach. This can interfere with the liver’s ability to release stored glucose into your bloodstream. Hepatitis and other problems with your liver can also lead to low blood sugar. Other causes include kidney disorders, anorexia nervosa, a pancreatic tumor, or adrenal gland disorders. There are a variety of symptoms of low blood sugar, but the only way to be sure what your blood glucose levels are is by taking a blood glucose test. Generally, blood sugar levels below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) are considered too low, according to the American Diabetes Association. If you have diabetes, it’s important to monitor your blood sugar levels often. Low blood sugar can come on quickly 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 Makes Glucose Levels Rise And Fall?

What Makes Glucose Levels Rise And Fall?

When you have diabetes it is important to understand what might make your blood glucose level rise or fall so that you can take steps to stay on target. ••••• When you eat any type of carbohydrate (starches, fruits, milk, sugars etc.), your body breaks it down into simple sugars. These get absorbed into the blood stream and insulin helps remove them from the blood into the cells to be used for energy. Without diabetes, our body usually makes just the right amount of insulin to match the food eaten, when diabetes is present, tablets or insulin injections are required to help this process. Things that can make your blood glucose rise A meal or snack with a bigger portion of carbohydrates than usual Less activity than usual Side effects of some medications Infection, surgery or other illness Changes in hormone levels, such as during menstrual periods, or adolescence Stress Things that can make your blood glucose fall A meal or snack with a smaller portion of carbohydrates than usual Taking too much insulin or a dose increase of your diabetes tablets Extra physical activity Side effects of some medications Missing a meal or a snack Drinking alcohol Continue reading >>

What Happens To Sugar Levels In The Blood While Fasting?

What Happens To Sugar Levels In The Blood While Fasting?

Blood sugar levels are considered to be normal if they fall between 70 and 140 mg/dl. However, if serum glucose levels fall below 70 mg/dl, hypoglycemia or low blood sugar can occur. Not eating enough is a common cause of low blood sugar. A person may experience symptoms such as hunger, rapid heartbeat, trembling, sweating and shakiness when blood sugar drops too low. Depending on whether low blood sugar is mild or moderate, headache, mental confusion and seizures can also occur. Severe low blood sugar can lead to seizures, loss of consciousness, coma, brain damage and even death. In cases of short-term fasting, glucose levels in the blood should rise after eating a meal. A study published in a 2005 issue of "Clinical Nutrition” concluded that fasting is not a healthy way for people to diet. Researchers found that diabetics and overweight individuals without diabetes had problems with insulin and blood sugar after 60 hours of fasting. Video of the Day The digestive system is responsible for breaking food down into glucose, which is the body’s primary source of energy. Glucose then travels in the bloodstream to cells throughout the body. This causes a rise in blood sugar levels. The pancreas releases insulin to aid cells in absorbing glucose for energy. For individuals with Type 2 diabetes who are insulin resistant, the cells do not respond to insulin the way they should. Excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream resulting in high blood sugar levels. But when a person does not eat, the body runs out of fuel, and blood sugar levels drop. In order to keep blood glucose levels stable, you need to eat several meals throughout the day. When the body is in a fasting state, it relies on stored energy. This energy comes from glycogen, protein and fat tissue. Glycogen store Continue reading >>

Nondiabetic Hypoglycemia

Nondiabetic Hypoglycemia

What is non-diabetic hypoglycemia? Hypoglycemia is the condition when your blood glucose (sugar) levels are too low. It happens to people with diabetes when they have a mismatch of medicine, food, and/or exercise. Non-diabetic hypoglycemia, a rare condition, is low blood glucose in people who do not have diabetes. There are two kinds of non-diabetic hypoglycemia: Reactive hypoglycemia, which happens within a few hours of eating a meal Fasting hypoglycemia, which may be related to a disease Glucose is the main source of energy for your body and brain. It comes from what we eat and drink. Insulin, a hormone, helps keep blood glucose at normal levels so your body can work properly. Insulin’s job is to help glucose enter your cells where it’s used for energy. If your glucose level is too low, you might not feel well. What causes non-diabetic hypoglycemia? The two kinds of non-diabetic hypoglycemia have different causes. Researchers are still studying the causes of reactive hypoglycemia. They know, however, that it comes from having too much insulin in the blood, leading to low blood glucose levels. Types of nondiabetic hypoglycemia Reactive hypoglycemia Having pre-diabetes or being at risk for diabetes, which can lead to trouble making the right amount of insulin Stomach surgery, which can make food pass too quickly into your small intestine Rare enzyme deficiencies that make it hard for your body to break down food Fasting hypoglycemia Medicines, such as salicylates (such as aspirin), sulfa drugs (an antibiotic), pentamidine (to treat a serious kind of pneumonia), quinine (to treat malaria) Alcohol, especially with binge drinking Serious illnesses, such as those affecting the liver, heart, or kidneys Low levels of certain hormones, such as cortisol, growth hormone, glu Continue reading >>

Is Low Blood Glucose (hypoglycemia) Dangerous?

Is Low Blood Glucose (hypoglycemia) Dangerous?

Low blood glucose or hypoglycemia is one of the most common problems associated with insulin treatment, but it can also happen to people with diabetes taking pills. In general, hypoglycemia is defined as a blood glucose level below 70 mg/dl. Low blood glucose is usually unpleasant, with the most common symptoms including feeling shaky, sweaty and having one's heart pound. The most common reasons for hypoglycemia are too much diabetes medicine, too little food or a delayed meal, or too much or unplanned activity. A less common, but occasional cause for hypoglycemia, is drinking alcoholic beverages. Most hypoglycemia is mild with recognizable symptoms. If quickly and appropriately treated, it is more of an inconvenience than a cause for alarm. However, severe hypoglycemia that causes mental confusion, antagonistic behaviors, unconsciousness, or seizures is a reason for alarm. We define severe hypoglycemia as the point at which you are not able to independently treat yourself. It is dangerous and to be avoided! Not because hypoglycemia, in itself, is fatal. That is very, very rare. What is dangerous is what might happen as a result of the hypoglycemia. The biggest danger is a motor vehicle accident caused, for example, by passing out at the wheel, swerving into on-coming traffic, hitting a tree, or running stop signs. Sometimes people are seriously injured in other types of accidents related to hypoglycemia, such as falling down stairs. It is equally important to avoid unconsciousness and seizures caused by hypoglycemia, not only because of the increased risk for accidents, but because of the potential for brain damage related to repeated severe hypoglycemia. Guidelines for managing hypoglycemia Recognize symptoms (physical, emotional, mental) and that these symptoms are v Continue reading >>

10 Warning Signs Of Low Blood Sugar

10 Warning Signs Of Low Blood Sugar

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is common among people with diabetes and can occur even when you're carefully managing the condition. "Hypoglycemia happens when the amount of blood glucose (sugar in the blood) drops to a level that's too low to sustain normal functioning," says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet. "In most people, this is defined as a blood-sugar level below 70 milligrams per deciliter." A review published in June 2015 in the journal PLoS One found that among people with type 2 diabetes, this is a far too common occurrence. Individuals with the condition had an average of 19 mild episodes of hypoglycemia per year, and nearly one severe episode per year on average. Low blood sugar was particularly common among those taking insulin. This decrease in blood sugar levels can cause both short-term complications, like confusion and dizziness, as well as more serious, long-term complications. Left untreated, it can lead to a coma and even death. To prevent hypoglycemia and its dangerous side effects, it's crucial to monitor your glucose levels and treat low blood sugar as soon as you become aware of it. Pay attention to these telltale signs of dipping blood sugar levels to make sure yours stays under control: 1. Ravenous Hunger If you've already eaten but still aren't satisfied, or if you suddenly, inexplicably feel as if you're starving, your body is signaling that it needs more glucose. Work with your healthcare team to determine the exact amount of sugar your body needs. A good starting point is the American Diabetes Association's recommendation to eat between 15 and 20 grams (g) of sugar or carbohydrates with each snack, and between 40 and 65 g at each meal. Some good options include 2 tablespoons of raisins, 4 ounces of fruit juice Continue reading >>

When Blood Sugar Is Too Low

When Blood Sugar Is Too Low

en españolCuando la concentración de azúcar en sangre es demasiado baja No matter what we're doing — even when we're sleeping — our brains depend on glucose to function. Glucose is a sugar that comes from the foods we eat, and it's also formed and stored inside the body. It's the main source of energy for the cells of our body, and it's carried to each cell through the bloodstream.  The blood glucose level is the amount of glucose in the blood. When blood glucose levels (also called blood sugar levels) drop too low, it's called hypoglycemia (pronounced: hi-po-gly-SEE-me-uh). Very low blood sugar levels can cause severe symptoms that need to be treated right away. People with diabetes can have low blood sugar levels because of the medicines they have to take to manage their diabetes. They may need a hormone called insulin or diabetes pills (or both) to help their bodies use the sugar in their blood. These medicines help take the sugar out of the blood and get it into the body's cells, which makes the level of sugar in the blood go down. But sometimes it's a tricky balancing act and blood sugar levels can get too low. People with diabetes need to keep their blood sugars from getting too high or too low. Part of keeping blood sugar levels in a healthy range is having good timing, and balancing when and what they eat and when they exercise with when they take medicines. Some things that can make low blood sugar levels more likely to happen are: not eating enough food at a meal or snack exercising longer or harder than usual without eating some extra food not timing the insulin doses properly with meals, snacks, and exercise Also, certain things may increase how quickly insulin gets absorbed into the bloodstream and can make hypoglycemia more likely to occur. For ex Continue reading >>

When Your Blood Sugar Is Too High Or Too Low

When Your Blood Sugar Is Too High Or Too Low

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to keep your blood sugar in the range your doctor has advised, it can be too high or too low. Blood sugar that is too high or too low can make you very sick. Here's how to handle these emergencies. What You Need to Know about High Blood Sugar If your blood sugar stays over 240, it is too high. High blood sugar usually comes on slowly. It happens when you don't have enough insulin in your body. High blood sugar can happen if you miss taking your diabetes medicine, eat too much, or don't get enough exercise. Sometimes, medicines you take for other problems may cause high blood sugar. Be sure to tell your doctor about other medicines you take. This chart shows the ranges of blood sugar. Having an infection or being sick or under stress can also make your blood sugar too high. That is why it is very important to test your blood and keep taking your medicine (insulin or diabetes pills) when you have an infection or are sick. Your blood sugar may be too high if you are very thirsty and tired, have blurry vision, are losing weight fast, and have to go to the bathroom often. Very high blood sugar may make you feel sick to your stomach, faint, or throw up. It can cause you to lose too much fluid from your body. Testing your blood sugar often, especially when you are sick, will warn you that your blood sugar may be rising too high. If your blood sugar stays over 300 when you check it two times in a row, call your doctor. You may need a change in your insulin shots or diabetes pills, or a change in your meal plan. *CGM-based treatment requires fingersticks for calibration, if patient is taking acetaminophen, or if symptoms/expectations do not match CGM readings, and if not performed, may result in hypoglycemia. Please see important risk and sa Continue reading >>

Hypoglycemia Overview

Hypoglycemia Overview

Hypoglycemia means low (hypo) glucose (gly) in the blood (emia). Your body needs glucose to properly function. Your cells rely on glucose for energy. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Carbohydrates (e.g., fruit, bread, potatoes, milk, and rice) are the biggest source of glucose in a typical diet, and your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose. The glucose is then transported in your blood to cells that need it; it gives your body energy. However, in order to use the glucose, your body needs insulin. This is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin helps transport glucose into the cells, particularly the muscle cells. Sometimes, your blood glucose level can drop too low—that's hypoglycemia. It usually happens quite quickly, and it can be handled quite quickly, as well. People with type 1 diabetes do not make insulin to help their bodies use glucose, so they have to take insulin, which is injected under the skin. People with type 2 diabetes fall into two categories when it comes to insulin: either their body doesn't make enough, or their body is unable to use it well (insulin resistance). Normal Blood Glucose The American Diabetes Association published the Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes that provide recommended target blood glucose ranges for people with and without diabetes. The standard for measuring blood glucose is “mg/dL,” which means milligrams per deciliter. People without Diabetes After eating (called postprandial) 70 to 140 mg/dL Goals for People with Diabetes Type 2 diabetes (also called type 2 diabetes mellitus) is more common than type 1 diabetes. Around 90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National 2014 Diabetes Statistics Report, 29.1 million A Continue reading >>

Blood Sugar Or Blood Glucose: What Does It Do?

Blood Sugar Or Blood Glucose: What Does It Do?

Blood sugar, or blood glucose, is sugar that the bloodstream carries to all the cells in the body to supply energy. Blood sugar or blood glucose measurements represent the amount of sugar being transported in the blood during one instant. The sugar comes from the food we eat. The human body regulates blood glucose levels so that they are neither too high nor too low. The blood's internal environment must remain stable for the body to function. This balance is known as homeostasis. The sugar in the blood is not the same as sucrose, the sugar in the sugar bowl. There are different kinds of sugar. Sugar in the blood is known as glucose. Blood glucose levels change throughout the day. After eating, levels rise and then settle down after about an hour. They are at their lowest point before the first meal of the day, which is normally breakfast. How does sugar get into the body's cells? When we eat carbohydrates, such as sugar, or sucrose, our body digests it into glucose, a simple sugar that can easily convert to energy. The human digestive system breaks down carbohydrates from food into various sugar molecules. One of these sugars is glucose, the body's main source of energy. The glucose goes straight from the digestive system into the bloodstream after food is consumed and digested. But glucose can only enter cells if there is insulin in the bloodstream too. Without insulin, the cells would starve. After we eat, blood sugar concentrations rise. The pancreas releases insulin automatically so that the glucose enters cells. As more and more cells receive glucose, blood sugar levels return to normal again. Excess glucose is stored as glycogen, or stored glucose, in the liver and the muscles. Glycogen plays an important role in homeostasis, because it helps our body function du Continue reading >>

A Silent Danger: When Blood Sugar Goes Down While You Were Sleeping

A Silent Danger: When Blood Sugar Goes Down While You Were Sleeping

You've heard it before—how taking a snack at nighttime after dinner may not be such a good idea, what with the weight gain that may come with it. But if you're a diabetic, that nighttime snack may spell the difference between life and death—literally. “The absence of a nighttime snack when one is usually taken is one cause of nocturnal hypoglycemia,” said Dr. Richard Elwyn Fernando, president of Diabetes Philippines and consultant at St. Luke's Medical Center and Capitol Medical Center. Nocturnal hypoglycemia, as the name implies, happens at night. “It occurs when blood glucose levels fall below 4 millimoles per liter (mmol/l) or 72 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). At 40 mg/dl or below, a person can be comatose... In rare cases, it may lead to death,” Fernando said during a media briefing organized by pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk last May 27. What makes it dangerous is that the person, being asleep, is not aware of what is happening and is not able to seek help. This poses a real concern for diabetics and their families, said Fernando. In a previous interview, former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral said the body needs glucose to function well. “Kailangan ng katawan ang sugar for energy, metabolism,” she told GMA News. When the blood sugar drops to low levels, a person may experience dizziness, weakness and even fainting, Cabral said. There may also be confusion and disorientation. Fernando said hypoglycemia may lead to complications affecting the heart (decreased heart rate, decreased cardiac output, myocardial contractility), blood vessels (stroke, myocardial infarction, acute cardiac failure, ventricular arrythmia), and brain (seizures, convulsions, coma). While hypoglycemia may occur in both diabetics and non-diabetics alike—“kapag gutom Continue reading >>

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia

Print Overview Hypoglycemia is a condition characterized by an abnormally low level of blood sugar (glucose), your body's main energy source. Hypoglycemia is commonly associated with the treatment of diabetes. However, a variety of conditions, many of them rare, can cause low blood sugar in people without diabetes. Like fever, hypoglycemia isn't a disease itself — it's an indicator of a health problem. Immediate treatment of hypoglycemia involves quick steps to get your blood sugar level back into a normal range — about 70 to 110 milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL (3.9 to 6.1 millimoles per liter, or mmol/L) — either with high-sugar foods or medications. Long-term treatment requires identifying and treating the underlying cause of hypoglycemia. Symptoms Similar to the way a car needs gas to run, your body and brain need a constant supply of sugar (glucose) to function properly. If glucose levels become too low, as occurs with hypoglycemia, it can cause these signs and symptoms: Heart palpitations Fatigue Pale skin Shakiness Anxiety Sweating Hunger Irritability Tingling sensation around the mouth Crying out during sleep As hypoglycemia worsens, signs and symptoms may include: Confusion, abnormal behavior or both, such as the inability to complete routine tasks Visual disturbances, such as blurred vision Seizures Loss of consciousness People with severe hypoglycemia may appear as if they're intoxicated. They may slur their words and move clumsily. Many conditions other than hypoglycemia may cause these signs and symptoms. A blood sample to test your blood sugar level at the time of these signs and symptoms is how to know for sure that hypoglycemia is the cause. When to see a doctor Seek a doctor's help immediately if: You have what may be symptoms of hypoglycemia an Continue reading >>

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