If you check your blood glucose levels on a glucometer and find out that your levels are below the normal range, then what is the next step? Is eating a piece of chocolate sufficient to increase the blood glucose level? Or Is drinking a glass of fruit juice a good idea to shoot up sugar level? Dr Pradeep Gadge, Diabetologist, Mumbai explains what to do when you experience the symptoms of low blood glucose or hypoglycemia.
What is hypoglycemia?
According to the American Diabetes Association, hypoglycemia or low blood glucose level is a condition when your blood glucose level falls below 70 mg/dl. There are times when diabetics who are on medicines or take insulin, skip meals, eat less or exercise more than usual. This can lead to a sudden drop in blood sugar level or symptoms of hypoglycemia. In such a case, you need to take quick action to bring the levels back to normal or the target range as you must have discussed with your doctor.
The common signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
-Being anxious or nervous
-Tingling or numbness sensation
Do not wait for the symptoms of hypoglycemia to show up. If you find that your blood glucose levels are below 70 mg/dl, then consume 15-20 grams of glucose or simple carbohydrates. Rest for 15 minutes and recheck your blood glucose. Ensure that your glucose level has returned to normal before your meals. If not, then do consult your doctor immediately.
Here is what you should eat as these can help to quickly increase the glucose levels.
– Eat a teaspoon of sugar in the raw form (which includes table sugar)
– Have 3 – 4 glucose tablets
– Suck on 5-6 hard sugar candies
– Drink half a cup of sugary drinks or juices
– Mix a teaspoon of sugar in half a glass of water and drink the solution
Certain other foods that are commonly used include:
However, these are not a good option, especially in the case of emergency as you need to chew it and they might take time to act and improve glucose levels. This could be a waste of time in case of emergency.
It is always handy to keep few sugar sachets at some specific places within reach at your house or carry them when travelling or away from your home, to act quickly in such circumstances.