What is considered a dangerously low blood sugar level?

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What is considered a dangerously low blood sugar level?

what is considered a dangerously low blood sugar level

When your blood sugar (glucose) levels are lower than normal, you have low blood sugar. Low blood sugar can happen to diabetics who are taking insulin or other medications to manage their condition. Low blood sugar might result in life-threatening symptoms. Learn how to spot low blood sugar symptoms and how to avoid them.

What Does “Low Blood Sugar” Mean?

Hypoglycemia is the medical term for low blood sugar. A blood sugar level of less than 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) is dangerous. A blood sugar level of less than 54 mg/dL (3.0 mmol/L) requires immediate attention.

If you have diabetes and are using any of the following diabetes medications, you are at risk for low blood sugar.

Glyburide (Micronase), glipizide (Glucotrol), glimepiride (Amaryl), repaglinide (Prandin), or nateglinide (Starlix) Insulin Glyburide (Micronase), glipizide (Glucotrol), glimepiride (Amaryl), repaglinide (Prandin), or nateglinide (Starlix) Chlorpropamide ( (Orinase)

If you’ve experienced low blood sugar before, you’re more likely to have another low blood sugar episode.

Low Blood Sugar Detection:

Understand how to recognise when your blood sugar is dropping. Among the signs and symptoms are:

Weakness or exhaustion
Sweating while shaking
Hunger Suffering
Feeling tense, anxious, or uneasy?
Feeling irritable?
Having difficulty thinking clearly
Vision that is doubled or blurry
a hammering or rapid heartbeat

Even if you don’t have any symptoms, your blood sugar may be excessively low. If it falls below a certain level, you may:

Have a seizure Faint
Enter a coma

Some persons with diabetes who have had it for a long period lose their ability to detect low blood sugar. Hypoglycemic unawareness is the term for this. Ask your doctor if wearing a continuous glucose monitor with a sensor can help you identify when your blood sugar is dropping too low and thereby avoid symptoms.

Frequently Check Your Blood Sugar

Consult your healthcare professional about how often you should check your blood sugar. Low blood sugar patients should check their blood sugar more frequently.

The following are the most common reasons of low blood sugar:

Taking your diabetes prescription or insulin at the wrong time
Overuse of insulin or diabetic medication
Without eating anything, insulin is used to treat high blood sugar.
After taking insulin or diabetic treatment, not eating enough during meals or snacks
Meal skipping (this may mean that your dose of long-acting insulin is too high, so you should talk to your provider)
Waiting too long to consume your meals after taking your medicine
Exercising frequently or at an unexpected time for you
Before exercising, not testing your blood sugar or modifying your insulin dose
Alcohol consumption

Low Blood Sugar Prevention

It is preferable to avoid low blood sugar than to have to cure it. Always keep a supply of quick-acting sugar on hand.

Check your blood sugar levels before and after you workout. Make sure you have some munchies on hand.
Consult your doctor about lowering your insulin doses on workout days.
If you require a bedtime snack to prevent low blood sugar overnight, talk to your doctor. Protein snacks might be the greatest option.

DO NOT consume alcohol without first consuming meals. Women should limit themselves to one drink per day, while males should limit themselves to two drinks per day. Family and friends should be able to assist. They should understand:

Low blood sugar symptoms and how to identify if you have them.
What kind of meals and how much should they offer you?
When to seek emergency assistance.
How to administer glucagon, a blood sugar-raising hormone. When to take this drug will be determined by your doctor.

Always wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace if you have diabetes. This informs emergency personnel that you have diabetes.

When You Have Low Blood Sugar

When you have symptoms of low blood sugar, check your blood sugar. Treat yourself right away if your blood sugar is below 70 mg/dL.

1. Consume around 15 grammes (g) of carbs. Examples include:

3 tablets of glucose
a half cup of fruit juice (4 ounces or 237 mL) or ordinary, non-diet soda
5 or 6 brittle candies
sugar, plain or dissolved in water, 1 tablespoon (tbsp) or 15 mL
1 teaspoon (15 millilitres) honey or syrup

2. Take a 15-minute break before eating again. Make sure you don’t overeat. This can result in elevated blood sugar levels and weight gain.

3. Check your blood sugar levels once again.

4. If you don’t feel better after 15 minutes and your blood sugar is still below 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L), consume another 15-gram carbohydrate snack.

If your blood sugar is in a safe range — over 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) — and your next meal is more than an hour away, you may need to have a snack with carbohydrates and protein.

Inquire with your provider about how to handle this problem. If these steps do not help you raise your blood sugar, see your doctor straight away.
Consult your physician or nurse.

If you use insulin and your blood sugar is persistently low, ask your doctor or nurse if you should:

Are you injecting your insulin correctly?
A different needle is required.
You should adjust the amount of insulin you take and the type of insulin you use.

Make no modifications without first consulting your doctor or nurse.

Hypoglycemia can sometimes be caused by using the wrong medications. Consult your pharmacist about your medications.
When to Consult a Physician

If your symptoms of low blood sugar do not improve after eating a sugary snack, have someone transport you to the emergency department or phone your local emergency number (such as 911). If your blood sugar is low, DO NOT drive.

If a person with low blood sugar is not alert or cannot be awakened up, get medical care straight once.
Additional Names
Hypoglycemia is a condition where your blood sugar (glucose) level is below the normal range. Your body’s primary energy source is glucose.

Hypoglycemia is frequently associated with diabetes management. Other medications, as well as a number of diseases, many of which are uncommon, can induce low blood sugar in persons who do not have diabetes.

Hypoglycemia must be treated right away. A fasting blood sugar of 70 milligrammes per deciliter (mg/dL), or 3.9 millimoles per litre (mmol/L), or less, should act as a warning sign of hypoglycemia for many people. However, your figures may differ. Inquire with your physician.

With a high-sugar snack or drink, or with medicine, you can quickly bring your blood sugar levels back into the normal range. The cause of hypoglycemia must be identified and treated for long-term treatment.
Symptoms

Hypoglycemia symptoms and indicators can occur when blood sugar levels go too low.

Pale appearance
Shakiness
Sweating
Headache
Nausea or hunger
A rapid or erratic heartbeat
Fatigue
Anxiety or irritability
Concentration problems
Lightheadedness or dizziness
Lips, tongue, or cheek tingling or numbness

As hypoglycemia progresses, the following signs and symptoms may appear:

Inability to execute ordinary duties, confusion, strange conduct, or both
Coordination problems
Speech slurred
Tunnel vision or hazy vision
If asleep, nightmares

Hypoglycemia can result in:

Seizures, unresponsiveness (loss of consciousness)

When should you see a doctor?

Seek medical attention right away if:

You’re experiencing hypoglycemia symptoms but don’t have diabetes.
You have diabetes, and your hypoglycemia isn’t responding to treatments like drinking juice or regular (not diet) soft drinks, candies, or glucose tablets.

If someone with diabetes or a history of hypoglycemia suffers severe hypoglycemia symptoms or loses consciousness, seek emergency care.

Causes

When your blood sugar (glucose) level drops too low for body functions to continue, hypoglycemia ensues. This can happen for a variety of reasons. The most prevalent cause of low blood sugar is a side effect from diabetic treatments.
Blood sugar control

Your body converts food into glucose when you eat. Insulin, a hormone generated by the pancreas, helps glucose, your body’s major energy source, enter the cells. Insulin permits glucose to enter cells and give the energy they require. Glycogen is a type of glucose that is stored in your liver and muscles.

You will cease manufacturing insulin if you haven’t eaten for several hours and your blood sugar level lowers. Your pancreas releases another hormone called glucagon, which tells your liver to break down stored glycogen and release glucose into your bloodstream. This maintains a normal blood sugar level till you eat again.

Your body is also capable of producing glucose. This happens primarily in your liver, but it can also happen in your kidneys. The body can break down fat storage and utilise fat breakdown products as an alternative fuel during prolonged fasting.

Possible diabetes-related causes

If you have diabetes, you may not produce insulin or be less receptive to it (type 1 diabetes) (type 2 diabetes). As a result, glucose builds up in the bloodstream, potentially causing death. To address this issue, you may need to take insulin or other blood sugar-lowering drugs.

However, too much insulin or other diabetic drugs can cause hypoglycemia, or a dip in blood sugar level. Hypoglycemia can also happen if you eat less than normal after taking your diabetic medication, or if you exercise more than usual.
Without diabetes, possible causes

Hypoglycemia is substantially less common in those who do not have diabetes. Among the causes are:

Medications. Accidentally taking someone else’s oral diabetic medicine can result in hypoglycemia. Other drugs, particularly in youngsters and adults with kidney disease, might cause hypoglycemia. Quinine (Qualaquin), for example, is used to treat malaria.
Excessive alcohol consumption. Drinking heavily without eating can prevent the liver from releasing glucose into the bloodstream from its glycogen stores. Hypoglycemia can result from this.
Some serious illnesses Hypoglycemia can be caused by severe liver diseases such as cirrhosis or hepatitis, severe infection, kidney failure, or advanced heart disease. Kidney problems can also prevent your body from excreting drugs effectively. A accumulation of drugs that lower blood sugar levels can influence glucose levels.
Long-term malnutrition. Hypoglycemia can arise as a result of malnutrition or famine, when your body’s glycogen stores are depleted and your body’s ability to produce glucose is compromised. Anorexia nervosa, a type of eating disorder, is one example of a condition that can cause hypoglycemia and lead to long-term starvation.
Overproduction of insulin. Insulinoma, a rare pancreatic tumour, can cause you to produce too much insulin, leading to hypoglycemia. Other tumours can cause an excess of insulin-like molecules to be produced. Excessive insulin release can be caused by abnormal pancreatic cells that generate insulin, resulting in hypoglycemia.
Hormone imbalances. An insufficient amount of various hormones that govern glucose synthesis or metabolism might result from certain adrenal gland and pituitary tumour problems. If a child’s growth hormone levels are too low, hypoglycemia might occur.

Hypoglycemia following meals

Hypoglycemia is most common when you haven’t eaten, although it can happen at any time. Hypoglycemia symptoms might develop after some meals, although the reason for this is unknown.

This type of hypoglycemia, also known as reactive hypoglycemia or postprandial hypoglycemia, can occur after surgery that disrupts the stomach’s normal function. Stomach bypass surgery is the most common operation associated with this, however it can also occur in persons who have had other surgeries.
Complications

Hypoglycemia left untreated can cause:

Death from Seizure Coma

Hypoglycemia may also result in:

Falls due to dizziness and weakness
Injuries
Accidents involving motor vehicles
Dementia is more common in older people.

Unawareness of hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia unawareness can develop over time as a result of recurrent episodes of hypoglycemia. Shakiness or irregular heartbeats are no longer produced by the body or brain as warning indications of low blood sugar (palpitations). The danger of severe, life-threatening hypoglycemia rises when this happens.

If you have diabetes, hypoglycemic episodes, or hypoglycemia unawareness, your doctor may adjust your therapy, boost your blood sugar level objectives, and offer blood glucose awareness training.

Some persons with hypoglycemia unawareness may benefit from a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). When your blood sugar is too low, the device will notify you.
Diabetes untreated

Low blood sugar episodes can be uncomfortable and worrisome if you have diabetes. Fear of hypoglycemia may induce you to take less insulin to avoid a dangerously low blood sugar level. This can develop to diabetes that is uncontrolled. Discuss your fears with your health care provider, and don’t adjust your diabetic medication dose without first consulting with your doctor.

Prevention
If you suffer from diabetes,

Follow the diabetes management plan that you and your doctor have devised. If you’re starting a new medicine, changing your eating or medication schedules, or increasing your physical activity, talk to your doctor about how these changes may affect your diabetes management and your risk of low blood sugar.

Learn how to recognise the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar. This can assist you in detecting and treating hypoglycemia before it becomes dangerously low. Checking your blood sugar level frequently will alert you when your blood sugar is low.

For certain people, a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is a good alternative. A CGM is a device that sends blood glucose measurements to a receiver via a small cable implanted under the skin. Some CGM units will sound an alarm if your blood sugar levels go too low.

Some insulin pumps now work with CGMs and can stop insulin delivery if blood sugar levels drop too quickly, helping to prevent hypoglycemia.

Always keep a fast-acting carbohydrate on hand, such as juice, hard candies, or glucose tablets, to treat a low blood sugar level before it becomes dangerously low.
If you are not diabetic,

Eating many little meals throughout the day to prevent blood sugar levels from falling too low is a temporary strategy for persistent episodes of hypoglycemia. This approach, however, is not recommended as a long-term plan. Identify and treat the cause of hypoglycemia with the help of your doctor.


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