The classical definition of low sugar/hypoglycemia is a level of blood glucose below 70 mg/dl. However, a number of diabetic patients experience symptoms of low sugar if their blood glucose is lower than 90 mg/dl.
The lower the blood glucose, the more severe your hypoglycemia will be.
Most people with diabetes have minimal symptoms at blood glucose levels between 90–60, moderate symptoms at levels between 60-40 and will pass out if their blood glucose is below 40 mg/dl.
Low Sugar/blood glucose/Hypoglycemia Symptoms
Symptoms of mild to moderate Low Sugar/Blood Glucose/Hypoglycemia
- Heart pounding
- Cold sweats
- Abdominal discomfort
Symptoms of more severe Low Sugar/Blood Glucose/Hypoglycemia
- Foggy thinking
- Blurred vision
- Feeling of passing out
Drugs that can cause Low Sugar/Blood Glucose/Hypoglycemia
2. Sulfonylurea drugs which include
A. Glucotrol (glipizide)
B. Micronase (glyburide)
C. Diabeta (glyburide)
D. Glynase (glyburide)
E. Amaryl (glimeparide)
F. Diabenese (chlorpropamide)
3. Starlix (nateglinide), Prandin (repaglinide)
Drugs that DO NOT cause Low Sugar/Blood Glucose/Hypoglycemia
These drugs do not cause hypoglycemia by themselves, but in combination with the above mentioned drugs, hypoglycemia can occur.
1. Glucophage, Fortamet, Glumetza (metformin)
2. Actos (pioglitazone) Avandia (rosiglitazone)
How to Treat Low Sugar/Blood Glucose/Hypoglycemia
If you have symptoms of hypoglycemia, but do not have a feeling of passing out, then check your blood glucose. If it is above 70 mg/dl, you do not have hypoglycemia. Your symptoms may be due to other reasons, such as a heart attack or a stroke. Time to call 911.
If for some reason you cannot check your blood glucose, and are on one of the drugs that can cause hypoglycemia, then presume you have hypoglycemia and ingest glucose in any form available, such as fruit juice, regular sugar, candy or glucose tablets.
Note: Hypoglycemia due to Precose does not respond to regular sugar, but to glucose tablets.
If you have blurry vision, disorientation or a feeling of passing out, but are conscious, then presume that you have hypoglycemia and drink some glucose in any available form. Check your blood glucose in about 15 minutes. Usually by that time, you should be feeling better and your blood glucose should be above 70 mg/dl. Then, you should also eat a snack or a meal (if it’s meal time) and skip your diabetes medicine for that meal. Also call your doctor for further advice.
If you had an episode of moderate to severe hypoglycemia, you should be monitored in a hospital.
If you become unconscious, your spouse, friend or companion should give you a Glucagon shot and call 911. You should be taken to the nearby hospital and properly evaluated.
Every patient on insulin should have a Glucagon kit nearby in order to treat hypoglycemia. A family member, friend or teacher should know about this Glucagon kit and should give this injection to the patient in case he/she becomes unconscious. Glucagon acts rapidly to raise blood glucose and can save a patient’s life.
For more details, please refer to Dr. Zaidi’s book, “Reverse Your Type 2 Diabetes Scientifically”
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