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Here’s What You Need To Know About Low Blood Sugars When You Have Type 2 Diabetes…
Understand Your Risk.
When you have Type 2 diabetes, you are at risk for low blood sugars if you’re taking the following medications:
Insulin (any type)
Glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase)
Micronized Glyburide (Glynase Prestabs)
Glipizide Extended Release (Glucotrol XL)
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It’s possible to have low blood sugars on medications that are not on this list, but those are rare.
One of the most common reasons I see people with Type 2 diabetes struggle with low blood sugars is because they didn’t have training on how their medications work and how to use them safely.
Most of the medications on the list above need to be taken with food. Most cause low blood sugars if you’re more active then usual, skip meals, are sick, or use them with alcohol, for example.
If you do use some of these diabetes medication, you’re at an even higher risk of low blood sugar if you:
take more than for 1 last update 12 Jul 2020 one of the medications on the listtake more than one of the medications on the list
have had diabetes a long period of time
have other medical conditions like heart and kidney disease
and are older in age.
Know What to Look for 1 last update 12 Jul 2020 For.Know What to Look For.
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“[I’m] trying to crawl to the fridge to get something to survive.”
“A primal instinct to eat.”
These are low blood sugar descriptions by women experiencing them. Watch their video and read a great piece by Christel Oerum from Diabetes Strong on how a low blood sugar feels:
Also, NovoNordisk has one of the best low blood sugar signs/symptoms visuals. Check it out below:
Another common symptom not listed on NovoNordisk’s sheet is:
One catch. If you are taking a beta blocker, you’re more likely to miss this low blood sugar symptom.
Beta blockers are a medication often used to slow your heart rate and/or lower your blood pressure. Because these medications will not allow your heart rate to increase during a low blood sugar, you have to rely on the other signs and symptoms.
Curious to know if you’re on a beta blocker? Ask your doctor or pharmacist. You can also click on this link for a list of beta blockers.
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How low is too low?
A blood sugar is considered too low if it’s under 70 mg/dl. If your glucometer ever reads “Lo,” that means your blood sugar is dangerously low. A meter will usually read “Lo” when a blood sugar is less than 20 mg/dl.
Know What to Do About It.
While the way to treat low blood sugars is very straight-forward, I’ve found the urgency and consistency that someone may treat a low is something that fades overtime.
Part for 1 last update 12 Jul 2020 of that is natural. At first, low blood sugars may feel like a big deal. You recognize them and react to them right away. Because they’re new and they’re scary. But over time, you may become accustomed to them as a way of life. So the urgency is gone.Part of that is natural. At first, low blood sugars may feel like a big deal. You recognize them and react to them right away. Because they’re new and they’re scary. But over time, you may become accustomed to them as a way of life. So the urgency is gone.
The majority of folks I meet are under or over treating their blood sugars. Or delaying the treatment of their low blood sugars.
All of these lead to having low blood sugars for a longer period of time or starting a roller coaster of low blood sugars followed by high blood sugars.
If you have low blood sugars, it’s critical you treat it right away. Don’t finish your email, don’t wait ’til your phone call is wrapped up, put down the laundry you’re folding and treat it.
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If ya gotta go, ya gotta go. If ya for 1 last update 12 Jul 2020 gotta low, ya gotta treat it.If ya gotta go, ya gotta go. If ya gotta low, ya gotta treat it.
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Short term, this is how a low blood sugar is treated.
Great examples of 15 gram carbohydrate options:
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup regular pop or juice
Fun size bag of non-chocolate candies like Skittles or Mike and Ikes
5-7 lifesavers, chewed up and swallowed
Want more options? Check out this link to American Diabetes Association.
for 1 last update 12 Jul 2020 ––
Long-Term, consider a change in your diabetes plan, when…
Someone has to help you treat a low blood sugar
You have 2 or more low blood sugars in a week’s time
Your A1c is less than 6.5% and you are taking one or more of the diabetes medications listed above
More than 5% of your blood for 1 last update 12 Jul 2020 sugars are below 70 mg/dlMore than 5% of your blood sugars are below 70 mg/dl
You have hypoglycemia for 1 last update 12 Jul 2020 unawareness You have hypoglycemia unawareness
Hypoglycemia unawareness is when your body stops giving you signals that your blood sugar is too low. Or gives you signals at a much lower blood sugar level than it should. That means you can fall into a coma or have a seizure from an extreme low blood sugar much more easily. This also increases your chance of sudden death from diabetes.
Wondering how to know if you have hypoglycemia unawareness? The next 3-4 times you feel a low blood sugar symptom, check your blood sugar. If most of the blood sugar readings are 50 mg/dl or less, than you likely have hypoglycemia unawareness. Your body has stopped sending signals at the first signs of danger (a blood sugar around 70 mg/dl).
Beyond Knowing Your Risk—-Why Are Low Blood Sugars A Big Deal?
As a certified diabetes educator (CDE), low blood sugars make me nervous. It’s the one thing I hope I never cause when I am helping someone change their medication doses. But beyond making you feeling awful, why do I worry about them?
Three BIG reasons:
1.The short-term impact on your body.
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When your brain doesn’t get the sugar it needs, it triggers a “fight or flight response.” You may have heard of this before. It’s the way your body senses danger. It creates a hormone response, that helps you prepare to “fight” off danger or run (“flight”) from danger.
Signs and symptoms of low blood sugars are part of your “fight or flight response.”
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You may have heard of the dangers of high blood sugars and what they can do to your body over time. But what happens long-term when blood sugars are too low?
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Over time, with enough low blood sugars, you can develop hypoglycemia unawareness. This is the most common side effect of frequent low blood sugars that I see as a CDE.
3.The everyday impact on your life.
Remember my mantra? Decrease the diabetes burden, improve or maintain the glucose stability? Low blood sugars can significantly impact your diabetes burden. If you’ve never had the 1 last update 12 Jul 2020 a low blood sugar before, it’s exhausting and time consuming. It can greatly effect your work, sleep, recreational fun, driving, etc. Remember my mantra? Decrease the diabetes burden, improve or maintain the glucose stability? Low blood sugars can significantly impact your diabetes burden. If you’ve never had a low blood sugar before, it’s exhausting and time consuming. It can greatly effect your work, sleep, recreational fun, driving, etc.
In short, low blood sugars are a big deal. And, if you’re at risk for hypoglycemia, they are also part of real life with diabetes. Minimizing the number and severity is key to living healthy with Type 2 diabetes.
Working with a CDE can help you identify the causes of your hypoglycemia and work towards eliminating those. An educator can also help you develop a plan for preventing frequent hypoglycemia in the future.
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Recipe of the Week!
I’ve been eyeing this recipe from the Diabetic Foodie. Shrimp Salad Stuffed Avocado. I loveeeeee shrimp!! And avocado. Recipe looks easy and the final product looks mouth-watering! Click on the link below for full recipe.
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