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Hypoglycemia (Low Sugar Level): Symptoms, Causes & Prevention

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    People living with diabetes must be alert when it comes to maintaining their sugar levels. Often, their blood sugar levels do not remain constant and instead vary throughout the day. This can happen due to a number of factors. Sometimes due to medication, their sugar levels may drop suddenly.

    If you see a person with diabetes feeling unwell and showing symptoms like weakness, sweating or dizziness, it is possible that their blood sugar level has dropped. The immediate thing you can do is to give them a glucose tablet, a candy or a teaspoon of sugar, honey, etc. to bring the sugar level to normal limits.

    This condition of low blood sugar is termed as Hypoglycemia. If it drops to dangerous levels, it can be fatal. Hence, adequate care and information about this condition is necessary in order to stay healthy.

    We give you some tips to deal with Hypoglycemia.

    What is Hypoglycemia?

    It is a medical condition when the blood sugar drops too low levels usually below 70 mg/dL. There are several symptoms of this condition such as:

    • Nervousness or anxiety
    • Shakiness
    • Sweating and chills
    • Irritability or Confusion
    • Rapid heartbeat
    • Nausea
    • Hunger
    • Blurred vision
    • Numbness in tongue, lips or cheek
    • Headaches
    • Seizures
    • Dizziness
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Death, in some cases

    Causes of Hypoglycemia

    Medicines like insulin and sulfonylureas that are used for the treatment of diabetes mellitus are often responsible for a drop in sugar levels. The risk increases for people suffering from type-1 or type-2 diabetes if they:

    • Take excess insulin or other medications
    • Do not take enough food after taking their diabetes medicines
    • Engage in too much physical activity or exercise

    Furthermore, critical illnesses such as severe hepatitis, kidney disorders, liver diseases or even hypothyroidism may make the glucose levels to drop especially because of the medications.

    Other factors leading to Hypoglycemia include:

    • Severe infections
    • Tumors like overproduction of insulin (insulinoma)
    • Hormone deficiency
    • Eating disorders or excessive starvation
    • Excessive alcohol consumption

    >>Check: How to Curb Your Sugar Craving

    Tips to Prevent Low Blood Sugar

    • Regularly monitor your blood sugar levels. This will help you decide the food intake and amount of medicine you need.
    • Always stay alert and look for any of the symptoms of Hypoglycemia.
    • Create a meal plan and strictly follow it. Do not skip meals and take healthy snacks to keep your glucose level in control.
    • Follow a fitness routine. Check your sugar levels before, during and after physical activity.
    • Speak to your doctor to know the right medication, diet, and physical activity to avoid hypoglycemia.
    • Always carry an emergency kit wherever you go, at all times.

    What Should You Do When Blood Sugar Drops?

    When a person shows symptoms of Hypoglycemia, the first thing to be done is to give the person any of the following things to normalize the glucose level:

    • 15 grams of starchy food like a slice of bread
    • Drinks like low calorie soda
    • Orange, apple or grapefruit juice
    • Food items like Sugar, Honey, Corn syrup or Raisins

    The person would show improvement within 5 to 10 minutes. A person who loses consciousness should not be given food or fluids as it could lead to choking. They may need a glucagon injection.

    Treatment of diabetes and related complications can be expensive. Choose customized Health Insurance for Diabetes such as ‘Care Freedom’ by Care Health Insurance to save yourself from emergency expenses.

    Disclaimer: The above information is only for reference purposes. Underwriting of claims for Diabetes is subject to policy terms and conditions.

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    #Source: IBAI Claims Handbook for FY 19-20

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