Having low blood sugar may cause temporary and permanent health issues so it is important we are educated and informed of knowing the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar so you can treat your condition as soon as possible. Low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia, is a very common condition among diabetic people that take insulin and can occur even with careful monitoring. Hypoglycemia occurs when the sugar in the blood drops below 70mg/dL, what is required to sustain normal functioning. There are several reasons that can cause hypoglycemia such as your diet, medications, and exercise.
Some short-term and long-term complications of decreased blood sugar include dizziness and confusion and if left untreated may lead to much more severe complications such as a coma or death. With that said, it is crucial to check your glucose levels often and treat symptoms if you have hypoglycemia to help keep your blood sugar under control.
5 Warning Signs of Low Blood Sugar
1. Extreme Hunger
If you feel like you’re starving even after eating a full meal as normal, your body may be trying to signal it needs more glucose. Discuss with your primary care doctor exactly how much sugar what your body requires. Everyone is different and may require different levels of blood sugar to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
If your glucose falls below standard levels, your body will send adrenal glands to release adrenaline hormones to signal your liver to produce more sugar. This creates the well-known “adrenaline rush,” which can cause anxiousness.
3. Restless Sleep
Having low blood sugar can also cause sleep problems, a common occurrence with nocturnal hypoglycemia. You may experience night sweats, crying in your sleep, stressful dreams, nightmare, restlessness, confusion, etc. with nocturnal hypoglycemia. Having a small snack before bed may be able to reduce sleep disturbances.
4. Emotionally Unstable
Mood swings that are out of the norm or having emotional episodes are another symptom of hypoglycemia. You may notice irrational outbursts, hysterical crying, uncontrollable anger, and a desire to distance yourself. These are all signs that may point to a drop in your blood sugar.
If you notice you are sweating profusely regardless of environmental temperature, this may indicate one of the first symptoms of hyperglycemia that is controlled by your autonomic nervous system which governs the skin and other things.
Diet and Hypoglycemia
If you take too much insulin compared to the amount of carbs you eat or drink, you can get low blood sugar. This can happen when:
- You miss a snack or meal
- You don’t consume a full meal
- You have meals later than normal
- Consume alcoholic beverages without eating food beforehand
- After consuming a meal that contains a high about of simple sugars
It is important to make sure you eat all of your meals on time, especially if you have diabetes and aren’t taking medication.
Related: 5 Steps to Take if You Have Prediabetes
Driving and Hypoglycemia
Driving while having hypoglycemia symptoms is considered extremely dangerous and not recommended. If you feel you are experiencing symptoms of low blood sugar, pull safely off the road, check your glucose levels, and eat a carb or sugar source immediately. A good tip is to keep some emergency snacks such as granola or protein bars in your car just in case. Be prepared. Check your blood sugar levels again after about 15 minutes or so of consuming something and repeat steps if necessary.
Here are some ways you can help prevent hypoglycemia if you are also diabetic:
- Have a meal schedule with at least 3 meals evenly spaced with snacks in-between
- Follow the meal schedule
- Plan meals 4-5 hours apart maximum
- Exercise 30 minutes to an hour daily, checking blood sugar levels before and after exercise and discuss with your physician to determine if any adjustments need to be made
- Double-check insulin and dose of medicine before taking it
- Reduce alcohol consumption to monitor blood sugar levels
- Wear a diabetic identification bracelet at all times
- Test sugar levels as often as recommended by your physician
Testing for Low Blood Sugar
You can consult with your family doctor to have a blood test to check your blood sugar levels. Alternatively, you can order a test online to perform at a LabCorp nearest you to skip the hassle and obtain results faster at a reasonable rate. Order a quick and convenient Fasting Glucose test to see if your blood sugar levels fall between a healthy range, screen for or monitor diabetes or hypoglycemia, a Fasting Insulin test if you experienced the warning signs of low blood sugar mentioned and discussed above, and/or a Hemoglobin (HB) A1C test to monitor diabetes or risk of having diabetes.
For all other blood tests, browse and order online with National Discount Lab.
If you are experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor or order the necessary blood tests to determine if you have low blood sugar to make the adjustments necessary for your health. It’s time to put your health first. Make it a priority.