Low Blood Sugars In Type 2 Diabetes
I’ve spoken to far too many people with type 2 diabetes who start to explain to me these moments of severe dizziness and shaking, and the desperate urge to eat food that they experience sometimes every day, sometimes just once a week. The problem is that no one ever explained to them what a low blood sugar feels like, how to treat a low blood sugar properly, and why it’s happening. It seems as though many busy physicians short on time assume that a person with type 2 diabetes whose A1C is higher than ideal couldn’t possibly be experiencing low blood sugars. Unfortunately, that assumption simply isn’t true. Simple guide to low blood sugars in type 2 diabetes: What is hypoglycemia (low blood sugar): the American Diabetes Association defines hypoglycemia as an event that occurs when your blood sugar drops below 70 mg/dL. If you don’t currently own a glucose meter to actually check your blood sugar level, you can a) ask your doctor for a prescription and b) stay alert to the signs and symptoms of a low blood sugar described below. You may experience some or all of the following symptoms during a low blood sugar: lightheaded, dizzy, trembling, shaking, weakness, headache, sweating, numbness in your lips, tingling in your numbs, a jello-like feeling in your limbs. To see a full list, visit Diabetes.org. Severe hypoglycemia under 30 mg/dL can lead to seizures or comas. It’s important to catch the signs and symptoms sooner than later. The cause of these low blood sugars can be: Oral medications: Most oral diabetes medications (except for Metformin) are known to cause low blood sugars. This means the dosage is possibly too high, and you should explain your low blood sugars to your doctor so she/he can adjust your dosage. Fast-Acting Insulin: Too often, when type 2 di Continue reading >>
Diabetes-related High And Low Blood Sugar Levels
Topic Overview Diabetes-related blood sugar levels When you have diabetes, you may have high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) or low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) from time to time. A cold, the flu, or other sudden illness can cause high blood sugar levels. You will learn to recognize the symptoms and distinguish between high and low blood sugar levels. Insulin and some types of diabetes medicines can cause low blood sugar levels. Learn how to recognize and manage high and low blood sugar levels to help you avoid levels that can lead to medical emergencies, such as diabetic ketoacidosis or dehydration from high blood sugar levels or loss of consciousness from severe low blood sugar levels. Most high or low blood sugar problems can be managed at home by following your doctor's instructions. You can help avoid blood sugar problems by following your doctor's instructions on the use of insulin or diabetes medicines, diet, and exercise. Home blood sugar testing will help you determine whether your blood sugar is within your target range. If you have had very low blood sugar, you may be tempted to let your sugar level run high so that you do not have another low blood sugar problem. But it is most important that you keep your blood sugar in your target range. You can do this by following your treatment plan and checking your blood sugar regularly. Sometimes a pregnant woman can get diabetes during her pregnancy. This is called gestational diabetes. Blood sugar levels are checked regularly during the pregnancy to keep levels within a target range. Children who have diabetes need their parents' help to keep their blood sugar levels in a target range and to exercise safely. Be sure that children learn the symptoms of both high and low blood sugar so they can tell others wh Continue reading >>
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Low Blood Glucose (hypoglycemia)
What is hypoglycemia? Hypoglycemia, also called low blood glucose or low blood sugar, occurs when the level of glucose in your blood drops below normal. For many people with diabetes, that means a level of 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or less. Your numbers might be different, so check with your health care provider to find out what level is too low for you. What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia? Symptoms of hypoglycemia tend to come on quickly and can vary from person to person. You may have one or more mild-to-moderate symptoms listed in the table below. Sometimes people don’t feel any symptoms. Severe hypoglycemia is when your blood glucose level becomes so low that you’re unable to treat yourself and need help from another person. Severe hypoglycemia is dangerous and needs to be treated right away. This condition is more common in people with type 1 diabetes. Hypoglycemia Symptoms Mild-to-Moderate Severe Shaky or jittery Sweaty Hungry Headachy Blurred vision Sleepy or tired Dizzy or lightheaded Confused or disoriented Pale Uncoordinated Irritable or nervous Argumentative or combative Changed behavior or personality Trouble concentrating Weak Fast or irregular heart beat Unable to eat or drink Seizures or convulsions (jerky movements) Unconsciousness Some symptoms of hypoglycemia during sleep are crying out or having nightmares sweating enough to make your pajamas or sheets damp feeling tired, irritable, or confused after waking up What causes hypoglycemia in diabetes? Hypoglycemia can be a side effect of insulin or other types of diabetes medicines that help your body make more insulin. Two types of diabetes pills can cause hypoglycemia: sulfonylureas and meglitinides . Ask your health care team if your diabetes medicine can cause hypoglycemia. Although ot Continue reading >>
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Print Your doctor will use three criteria — often referred to as Whipple's triad — to diagnose hypoglycemia. Whipple's triad includes the following factors: Signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia. You may not exhibit signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia during your initial visit with your doctor. In this case, your doctor may have you fast overnight (or for a longer period). This will allow hypoglycemic symptoms to occur so that he or she can make a diagnosis. It's also possible that you'll need to undergo an extended fast in a hospital setting. Or if your symptoms occur after a meal, your doctor will want to test your glucose levels after a meal. Documentation of low blood glucose when the signs and symptoms occur. Your doctor will draw a sample of your blood to be analyzed in the laboratory. Disappearance of the signs and symptoms. The third part of the diagnostic triad involves whether your signs and symptoms go away when blood glucose levels are raised. In addition, your doctor will likely conduct a physical examination and review your medical history. Treatment Treatment of hypoglycemia involves: Immediate initial treatment to raise your blood sugar level Treatment of the underlying condition that's causing your hypoglycemia to prevent it from recurring Immediate initial treatment The initial treatment depends on your symptoms. Early symptoms can usually be treated by consuming 15 to 20 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate. Fast-acting carbohydrates are foods that are easily converted to sugar in the body, such as candy, fruit juice, regular — not diet — soft drinks, or glucose tablets or gel. Foods containing fat or protein aren't good treatments for hypoglycemia, because protein and fat can slow the body's absorption of sugar. Recheck blood sugar levels 15 minut Continue reading >>
Diabetes Doctors: Which Specialists Treat Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that affects a person's blood sugar levels and can require various treatments. Understanding which doctors help treat diabetes can simplify the process, making it less stressful. This article helps people with diabetes to understand the key differences between the various diabetes specialists. It also covers some common guidelines to follow for visiting each of these experts, to ensure you get the most out of your treatment. Which doctors help with treating diabetes? There are a number of diabetes specialists who may be involved in treating someone with this common condition. As each of these specialists has a slightly different role, there are some key things to be aware of before seeing each one. General care physicians A general care physician will often help in the treatment of people with diabetes. Regular check-ups will usually be carried out once every 3 to 4 months. If there is anything outside their area of expertise, a general care physician will frequently send an individual to an endocrinologist first of all. Endocrinologists The most common specialists in the field of diabetes are endocrinologists. Endocrinologists specialize in the glands of the body, and the hormones that are produced from those glands. The pancreas is a gland that comes under the spotlight when managing diabetes. It produces insulin that helps regulate blood sugar. In the case of people with diabetes, insulin is either not produced or does not work properly. People with type 1 diabetes are put under the care of an endocrinologist most of the time. People with type 2 diabetes, who have fluctuating blood sugar levels, will also need to see an endocrinologist. Visiting a doctor for diabetes When visiting a doctor about diabetes for the first time, it is important tha Continue reading >>
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 >>
Diabetes - Low Blood Sugar - Self-care
• Diabetes - when you are sic... • Diabetes - preventing heart... • Diabetes - taking care of y... • Diabetes - tests and checku... • Diabetes and exercise • Diabetes - keeping active ... • Managing your blood sugar... • Diabetes - foot ulcers • Diabetes - eye care • ACE inhibitors • Diabetes - when you are sic... • Diabetes - preventing heart... • Diabetes - taking care of y... • Diabetes - tests and checku... • Diabetes and exercise • Diabetes - keeping active ... • Managing your blood sugar... • Diabetes - foot ulcers • Diabetes - eye care • ACE inhibitors Description Low blood sugar is a condition that occurs when your blood sugar (glucose) is lower than normal. Low blood sugar may occur in people with diabetes who are taking insulin or certain other medicines to control their diabetes. Low blood sugar can cause dangerous symptoms. Learn how to recognize the symptoms of low blood sugar and how to prevent them. Alternative Names Hypoglycemia - self care; Low blood glucose - self care What is Low Blood Sugar? Low blood sugar is called hypoglycemia. A blood sugar level below 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) is low and can harm you. A blood sugar level below 54 mg/dL (3.0 mmol/L) is cause for immediate action. You are at risk for low blood sugar if you have diabetes and are taking any of the following diabetes medicines: Insulin Glyburide (Micronase), glipizide (Glucotrol), glimepiride (Amaryl), repaglinide (Prandin), or nateglinide (Starlix) Chlorpropamide (Diabinese), tolazamide (Tolinase), acetohexamide (Dymelor), or tolbutamide (Orinase) Recognizing Low Blood Sugar Know how to tell when your blood sugar is getting low. Symptoms include: Weakness or feeling tired Shaking Sweating Headache Hunger Feeling uneasy, nervous, or anxious Feeling Continue reading >>
Dealing With Hypoglycemia
If you have diabetes, your concern isn’t always that your blood sugar is too high. Your blood sugar can also dip too low, a condition known as hypoglycemia. This occurs when your blood sugar levels fall below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). The only clinical way to detect hypoglycemia is to test your blood sugar. However, without blood tests it’s still possible to identify low blood sugar by its symptoms. Early recognition of these symptoms is critical because hypoglycemia can cause seizures or induce a coma if left untreated. If you have a history of low blood sugar episodes, you may not feel symptoms. This is known as hypoglycemic unawareness. By learning to control your blood sugar, you can prevent hypoglycemic episodes. You also should take steps to ensure you and others know how to treat low blood sugar. Managing your blood sugar is a constant balancing of: diet exercise medications A number of diabetes medications are associated with causing hypoglycemia. Only those medications that increase insulin production increase the risk for hypoglycemia. Medications that can cause hypoglycemia include: Combination pills that contain one of the medications above may also cause hypoglycemic episodes. This is a reason why it’s so important to test your blood sugar, especially when making changes to your treatment plan. Some of the most common causes of low blood sugar are: skipping a meal or eating less than usual exercising more than usual taking more medication than usual drinking alcohol, especially without food People with diabetes aren’t the only ones who experience low blood sugar. If you have any of the following conditions, you may also experience hypoglycemia: weight-loss surgery severe infection thyroid or cortisol hormone deficiency Hypoglycemia affect Continue reading >>
Can You Have Hypoglycemia Without Having Diabetes?
Hypoglycemia is a condition that occurs when the sugar levels in your blood are too low. Many people think of hypoglycemia as something that only occurs in people with diabetes. However, it can also occur in people who don’t have diabetes. Hypoglycemia is different from hyperglycemia, which occurs when you have too much sugar in your bloodstream. Hypoglycemia can happen in people with diabetes if the body produces too much insulin. Insulin is a hormone that breaks down sugar so that you can use it for energy. You can also get hypoglycemia if you have diabetes and you take too much insulin. If you don’t have diabetes, hypoglycemia can happen if your body can’t stabilize your blood sugar levels. It can also happen after meals if your body produces too much insulin. Hypoglycemia in people who don’t have diabetes is less common than hypoglycemia that occurs in people who have diabetes or related conditions. Here's what you need to know about hypoglycemia that occurs without diabetes. Everyone reacts differently to fluctuations in their blood glucose levels. Some symptoms of hypoglycemia may include: You may have hypoglycemia without having any symptoms. This is known as hypoglycemia unawareness. Hypoglycemia is either reactive or non-reactive. Each type has different causes: Reactive hypoglycemia Reactive hypoglycemia occurs within a few hours after a meal. An overproduction of insulin causes reactive hypoglycemia. Having reactive hypoglycemia may mean that you’re at risk for developing diabetes. Non-reactive hypoglycemia Non-reactive hypoglycemia isn't necessarily related to meals and may be due to an underlying disease. Causes of non-reactive, or fasting, hypoglycemia can include: some medications, like those used in adults and children with kidney failure any d Continue reading >>
Hypoglycemia Symptoms To Look Out For & Ways To Naturally Treat Them
Uncontrolled glucose levels are one of the most common health problems in the world. Hypoglycemia symptoms frequently affect people with prediabetes or diabetes but are also linked with other health problems, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even arthritis. And although it’s rarely mentioned, hypoglycemia has been called “an under-appreciated problem” that’s the most common and serious side effect of glucose-lowering diabetes drugs. (1) Those who are at risk for both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia are not only people who are ill, overweight or inactive — anyone who consumes a poor diet and has trouble with normal glucose metabolism can develop symptoms. The standard American diet, which tends to be very high in things like refined grains and sugar but low in nutrients like healthy fats and fiber, contributes to hypoglycemia and related diseases. What are some clues you might be experiencing hypoglycemia symptoms, and what kind of things can you do to help manage them? Symptoms of hypoglycemia are often confused with other health conditions and can include sudden hunger, irritability, headaches, brain fog and shakiness. By managing your intake of empty calories, improving your diet, and paying attention to how meal timing and exercise affects you, you can help control low blood sugar symptoms and prevent them from returning. What Is Hypoglycemia? Hypoglycemia is a condition caused by low blood sugar levels, also sometimes referred to as low glucose. Glucose is mostly found in carbohydrate foods and those containing sugar and is considered to be one of the most important sources of energy for the body. (2) Here’s an overview of how glucose works once it enters the body and the process of how our hormones regulate blood sugar levels: When we Continue reading >>
Can You Have Low Blood Sugar With Type 2 Diabetes?
back to Overview Know-how Type 2 A tag-team approach on low blood sugar with type 2 diabetes. Markus recently wrote an article on our German language blog talking about low blood sugar with type 2 diabetes. The question (“can I have low blood sugar with type 2 diabetes?”) is very common, and it’s easy to see why it’s of concern. So I’ve helped Markus bring his German post to life here in English. I hope it helps! Here’s Markus: Low blood sugar In 2014, results from the DAWN2 study were announced. It was the largest study of its kind (15,000 participants) on the “fears & needs of people with diabetes and their families.” One result stood out: The gravest fears are related to low blood sugars, especially at night. Up to 69% of the participants share this fear! So! Can you have low blood sugar with type 2 diabetes? Yes! Of course! But let’s think about who exactly is at risk – and why. It’s common to think: Type 1 diabetes = at risk for lows Type 2 diabetes = not at risk for lows But that isn’t correct at all, so we should wipe it from our mind. So… what do I need to know? Maybe it’s more accurate to say that people with type 2 diabetes who take certain types of medication are more at risk for lows. We’re getting closer! But to get to the truth, we should take a look at someone without diabetes. Is it possible for them to have lows, too? Theoretically yes, especially if doing long-lasting physical activities without proper food intake. Additionally, extreme stress and binge drinking are also common causes of low blood sugar for people without diabetes. However, it’s pretty rare because as soon as BG’s drop below 80 mg/dl (4.4 mmol/L), the natural counterregulatory system kicks in, raising blood sugar back to normal levels. I’ve never exp Continue reading >>
Your Diabetes Care Team
Your health care team helps you manage your diabetes and maintain your good health. According to the American Diabetes Association, your diabetes care team should include: You: You are the most important member of your diabetes care team! Only you know how you feel. Your diabetes care team will depend on you to talk to them honestly and supply information about your body. Monitoring your blood sugar tells your doctors whether your current treatment is controlling your diabetes well. By checking your blood sugar levels, you can also prevent or reduce the episodes of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) you have. Primary doctor: Your primary care doctor is who you see for general checkups and when you get sick. This person is usually an internist or family medicine doctor who has experience treating people with diabetes, too. Because your primary care doctor is your main source of care, he or she will most likely head up your diabetes care team. Endocrinologist: An endocrinologist is a doctor who has special training and experience in treating people with diabetes. You should see yours regularly. Dietitian: A registered dietitian (RD) is trained in the field of nutrition. Food is a key part of your diabetes treatment, so yours will help you figure out your food needs based on your weight, lifestyle, medication, and other health goals (like lowering blood fat levels or blood pressure). Nurse educator: A diabetes educator or diabetes nurse practitioner is a registered nurse (RN) with special training and background in caring for and teaching people with diabetes. Nurse educators often help you with the day-to-day aspects of living with diabetes. Eye doctor: Either an ophthalmologist (a doctor who can treat eye problems both medically and surgically) or an optometrist (someone who Continue reading >>
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 >>
Hypoglycemia (low Blood Sugar) In People Without Diabetes
Topic Overview Is this topic for you? 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: What is low blood sugar? 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. What causes hypoglycemia in people who don't have diabetes? Ongoing problems with low blood sugar can be caused by: Medicines. Diseases of the liver, kidneys, or pancreas. Metabolic problems. Alcohol use. Stomach surgery. 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 yo Continue reading >>
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Hypoglycemia (low Blood Sugar) In Type 1 Diabetes
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1968, at the age of 8 years old. At the time, there were no fingerstick blood sugars available for use. One had to regulate diabetes by measuring urine sugars, a very imprecise way to monitor blood sugar control. I recently obtained copies of my medical records from that 12-day stay, and found the following comment in the discharge summary: “He had one mild episode of shocking without loss of consciousness or convulsion.” I remember that episode. I could not have known that it was to be the first of hundreds of low blood sugar reactions that I would experience over the next 46 years. Though a hypoglycemia episode is always disruptive and never a pleasant experience, most were mild, ones that I could treat myself. But occasionally they were severe, requiring assistance from family or co-workers, or 911 calls. I was driven to achieve ‘tight control’ and prevent the long-term complications of diabetes, which I have managed to do. But there was a high price. I felt like I was playing a game of Russian roulette with hypoglycemia. I could no longer tell when I was low. Hypoglycemia unawareness had developed. I was fortunate enough to have developed T1D at a time when treatment for it has steadily improved. I started on an insulin pump in January 1982, and that helped me to reduce my frequency of hypoglycemia. The availability of insulin glargine (Lantus) and insulin detemir (Levemir) were great advances over older basal insulins (NPH, lente, ultralente) that had more intense and less predictable peaks, a very real problem at night. While I have not used them, because they became available after I started on a pump, better basal insulins have helped many T1Ds reduce night time hypoglycemia. Faster insulins (insulin lispro/Humalog Continue reading >>