- Diabetes - the Medical Perspective
- Diabetes and Food
- Recipes to Try
- Menu Suggestions
Diabetes - the Medical Perspective
Fear of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) can be a barrier to good blood glucose control. Hypoglycemia occurs when blood glucose drops below 70 mg/dl. If blood glucose level is dropping rapidly, you may feel symptoms before it reaches 70 mg/dl. Some feel no symptoms though.
Hypoglycemia is more likely to occur if taking any of these diabetes medications:
Any type of insulin
Any combination of these medications
Hypoglycemia can happen when there are factors causing your blood glucose to drop without any factors that increase blood glucose.
Factors that decrease blood glucose:
- Insulin and the above listed diabetes medications
- Physical activity
- Nausea and vomiting
Factors that can increase blood glucose:
- Simple carbohydrates (sugar)
- Complex carbohydrates (starch)
- Illness or infection
More frequent hypoglycemia is concerning and needs to be evaluated by your health care provider. If your blood glucose drops low enough it can cause loss of consciousness, accidents, or seizures. This is severe hypoglycemia and requires help from another person. Severe hypoglycemia can be life threatening. Emergency help should be called. A glucagon injection may be given. Glucagon is a hormone that will quickly raise blood glucose. It is important for someone to be aware of your diabetes in case they need to call for emergency help or administer glucagon. A medical alert bracelet is also recommended.
Tips to prevent hypoglycemia:
Unexpected Meal Delay
Have a small carb-containing snack like fruit, yogurt, or crackers to keep blood glucose stable until able to eat a meal.
Unable to Eat a Meal of Solid Food
Drink a carb-containing beverage equal to your usual mealtime carb intake such as juice, milk, or regular soda.
Increased Physical Activity
Plan activity after food intake and keep carb-containing snack handy.
Contact your health care provider if vomiting and unable to eat. Sip on carb-containing beverages.
Moderate Alcohol Intake
Switch to seltzer water, non-alcohol beer, or diet soda.
Guessing Your Carb Intake
Learn how to read labels and count carbs, especially if matching carbs to insulin.
Timing of Medication and Food Intake
Meals eaten at regular times will help keep blood glucose more stable.
Know Your Blood Glucose Level
Use finger stick method to check glucose. Do not rely on how you feel.
Diabetes and Food
It is important to choose the right food or beverage when treating
hypoglycemia. The right choice is something that will raise blood glucose quickly and bring it back up to normal. The usual recommendation is 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate. These carbohydrates are easily converted to sugar in the body.
15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate:
4 ounces (1/2 cup) fruit juice
7 saltine crackers
4 glucose tablets
1 slice white bread
4 ounces (1/2cup) regular soda
8 lifesavers candy
Fifteen minutes after treating your hypoglycemia, you need to re-check your blood glucose. If there has not been any rise in your glucose, take another 15 grams of carbohydrate. If your blood glucose has begun to rise but not reached 70 mg/dl, check again in another 15 minutes and treat again if it is still below 70 mg/dl.
Being skilled at counting carbs can help in the treatment of hypoglycemia. The more you weigh and the lower your blood glucose, the more carbohydrate you will need to eat bring your glucose up to a safe range.